Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 1274)

PALM SUNDAY by Kurt Vonnegut
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1981

"KV—wildly sentimental but hard and funny on the surface—and sure to please his fans while offering sporadic items of interest to others."
Is this "collage" of Vonnegut's occasional writings "a very great book by an American genius" (as he declares in a pretty hilarious mock-preface)? Read full book review >
CHINA MEN by Maxine Hong Kingston
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 13, 1980

"But, self-conscious lapses aside, this remains in sum—like Warrior Woman—exemplary history in the personal, investigatory mode."
What began with The Warrior Woman—Chinese immigrant women—is now continued with the focus on the China Men who left China for the Gold Mountain; and all of Kingston's different impulses—curatorial, reconstructive, celebratory, quizzical—are again brought into play. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 25, 1980

"Asimov, ever admirable if exasperating, ends the book on the rebound, pounds lighter, and enthusiastic over projects to come—including (you guessed it) a fulfillment of the book's last line: 'To be continued.'"
The second volume of Asimov's blockbuster autobiography (begun with In Memory Yet Green, 1979) picks him up at age 34, teaching biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine and under fire as a sci-fi sensation, and leaves him, at 58, the Compleat Science Writer, dubbed by George Gaylord Simpson "a natural wonder and a natural resource." Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 16, 1980

"While the WW II section will serve for some purposes, the treatment of the presidential years is apologetic in tone and verges on palace, not critical, history."
A review of Eisenhower's use of intelligence resources and covert operations—first as Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, then as president—which, though variously flawed, does demonstrate a vital linkage between the two: because of his wartime experience, Ike was ready and willing, come the Cold War, to apply covert action by the CIA to any international problem, especially in the Third World. Read full book review >
WHITE HOUSE YEARS by Henry Kissinger
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 23, 1979

"For those not snowed by the erudition and charm, then, this is a fundamentally important book."
The long-awaited first installment of Henry's History has finally arrived and, advertising hype aside, it is an event. Read full book review >

THE RIGHT STUFF by Tom Wolfe
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 24, 1979

"But most readers outside the slick urban Wolfe orbit will find credibility fatally undermined by the self-indulgent digressions, the stylistic excesses, and the broadly satiric, anti-All-American stance; and, though The Right Stuff has enough energy, sass, and dirt to attract an audience, it mostly suggests that until Wolfe can put his subject first and his preening writing-persona second, he probably won't be a convincing chronicler of anything much weightier than radical chic."
Yes: it's high time for a de-romanticized, de-mythified, close-up retelling of the U.S. Space Program's launchingâ€"the inside story of those first seven astronauts. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 1, 1979

"Reruns—and wearisome."
CHILDREN OF THE HOLOCAUST by Helen Epstein
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 23, 1979

"Epstein now sees the need for a community of these survivors' children: her book may help bring it about."
For years it lay in an iron box. Read full book review >
THE HABIT OF BEING by Flannery O'Connor
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 16, 1979

"Remarkable and inspiring."
Flannery O'Connor's best fiction seemed almost pre-grooved, as though she merely poured ink—and vividness—into grooves of mysterious life that were already whitely there. Read full book review >
A JEW TODAY by Elie Wiesel
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 12, 1978

"No cumulative effect but, with the Holocaust, a strong, inescapable impact."
Recent essays. Read full book review >
TWO ROTHSCHILDS AND THE LAND OF ISRAEL by Simon Schama
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 1, 1978

"Meanwhile the Baron evolves from a 'benevolent onlooker' to an 'active accomplice'; and, with Schama's thoroughly documented, incisively written account, he and his family take theft significant places in Israeli history."
In an attempt to rectify Zionist history, Simon Schama has re-examined the role of Baron Edmond de Rothschild and his son James in the Jewish settlement of Palestine—and, inseparably, the record of the two agencies they set up to channel their philanthropic contributions into specific projects. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 9, 1978

"At half the length and with half the schmaltz, this 200th Asimov title would have been distinctly more memorable."
What happens when an overachiever with almost perfect recall is let loose on autobiography? Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >