Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 1275)

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 26, 1991

"While the women in question exert a pull on the popular imagination, Smith's rewarmed capsule bios and shallow psychological speculation provide neither insight nor entertainment. (Photographs.)"
What quality do women who've had multiple attachments to famous men share? ``Ordinariness,'' theorizes Smith (Doctor's Wives, 1980, etc.) in this flimsy study: They're ``the kind of women you pass pushing shopping carts to the market.'' Famous men are concentrating emotional energy on their work, Smith says, so a woman ``who wishes to please such a man must practice tremendous self-denial...Her importance to him becomes her sole source of self-satisfaction.'' Fifteen case histories follow, put together from secondary sources and an occasional interview; few of the profiles bear out Smith's thesis. Read full book review >
THE JAMESES by R.W.B. Lewis
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 1991

"An astute family portrait, rendered in Jamesian style—by turns indirect, ironic, psychologically penetrating, and moving. (Thirty-two pages of photographs—not seen.)"
William James wrote that brother Henry was really ``a member of James family, and has no other country.'' The meaning of that remark becomes abundantly clear in this weighty group biography, which probes how the master novelist, the pioneering psychologist- philosopher, and their siblings were shaped by the formidable legacy of their ancestors. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 21, 1991

"Overly respectful, perhaps, but captivating nevertheless."
A comprehensive history of the families who risked fortunes and occasionally lost them while working their designs on N.Y.C.'s skyline—by the author of The Phony War (1982) and The Day America Crashed (1979). Read full book review >
IN THE SHADOW OF THE REICH by Niklas Frank
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 19, 1991

A bitter and often shocking memoir of Hans Frank, Nazi Governor-General of Poland, by his journalist son. Read full book review >
OUT AFTER DARK by Hugh Leonard
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 15, 1991

"Powerful, funny, and moving: an effortless series of incidents full of droll wisdom."
Strong, original, wrenching account of growing up out of wedlock in a small Irish town, by memoirist (Home Before Night, 1980) and playwright (Da) Leonard. Read full book review >

SILVERADO by Steven Wilmsen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 15, 1991

"A gracelessly written, overblown story of a born fall guy who has become the symbol of an industry's corrupt avarice. (Twenty photographs—not seen.)"
Like Man Without Memory, Burgin's recent Illinois Short Fiction Series collection (1989), these 11 stories, often absurdist and minimalist, involve a male who's disoriented or obsessed, though here the author includes several women as well. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 15, 1991

"Still, in all, lively, serious scholarship. (Photographs— not seen.)"
Unauthorized life and career of Richard Pryor set against the careers of many African-American comedians and actors; by the father-son Williams team of novelist John A. (Jacob's Ladder, 1987, etc.) and son Dennis A., a former Newsweek journalist. Read full book review >
THE STARCHED BLUE SKY OF SPAIN by Josephine Herbst
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 14, 1991

These posthumous memoirs of novelist and journalist Herbst (1892-1969) alternate between dreamy recollection and thoughtful questioning of literary and political fashions. Read full book review >
HENRY AND CLARE by Ralph G. Martin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 14, 1991

"Compelling, despite its flaws, with much scandalous detail. (Two 16-page photo inserts—not seen.)"
A dual biography of one of the ultimate ``power couples,'' which offers an abundance of juicy gossip leavened by some first- rate research and analysis. ``To the world,'' notes Martin (Golda, 1988; Charles & Diana, 1985, etc.), ``the Luces represented the peak of power, the ultimate American dream''—but, as he constantly stresses, beneath the glittering facade they endured a frequently miserable mismatch ``tarnished by constant competition, sharp cuts, and deep hurt.'' On the one hand there was the conscientious, shy, missionaries' son who co-founded (at 24) and remained the controlling force of Time Inc. Read full book review >
INDIA SEEN AFAR by Kathleen Raine
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 13, 1991

"Though there are many poetic moments scattered throughout, much is sluggish and opaquely esoteric, resulting in self-absorbed work likely to appeal primarily to Raine fans."
In the disappointing third volume of her autobiography (Farewell Happy Fields, 1977; The Land Unknown, 1975), the renowned English poet and scholar reflects upon the last years of her life, as viewed through the prism of India. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 1, 1991

"An unsparing, honest, and courageous family document. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)"
Psychotherapist Ione's emotional family history focuses on the legacy of three generations of her African-American foremothers, exploring the roots of her own upbringing in a fragmented nuclear family. Read full book review >
ANASTASIA by James Blair Lovell
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 1, 1991

"A great, absorbing read by a gifted storyteller. (Two eight-page photo inserts—not seen.)"
The story—apparently definitive—of Anastasia, the fourth daughter of Czar Nicholas II of Russia. 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 >