Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 1295)

RED AZALEA by Anchee Min
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"A haunting and quietly dramatic coming-of-age story with a cultural cataclysm as its backdrop."
Fascinating memoir of a young Chinese girl during the collapse of the Maoist regime. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"Well-intentioned but frustrating."
By amateur historian/jazzman Lester, the first bio of legendary jazz pianist Tatum. Read full book review >

INNOCENTS IN AFRICA by Drury Pifer
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"A book of so many good things—love, wisdom, and luminous prose—that's also a unique record of an American childhood in pre- 1948 South Africa. (B&w photographs)"
A beautifully rendered, bittersweet memoir of an American family abroad in an alien place—the bleak mining towns of southern Africa in the 1930's and 40's—that limns exactly childhood's enviable ability to live for the moment. Read full book review >
EXCURSIONS IN THE REAL WORLD by William Trevor
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"Vintage Trevor—most especially in the self-deprecating early sketches and the schoolboy portraits."
All of the fragments that make up this memoir by the contemporary master have appeared previously in (mostly) British periodicals. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"Which is to say that this aptly titled book, while dandy, could have been softer. (Eight pages of b&w photographs)"
A timely but stubbornly selective autobiography of Detroit's five-time African-American mayor, written with Wheeler (coauthor of Hank Aaron's I Had A Hammer, 1991). Read full book review >

RELOCATIONS OF THE SPIRIT by Leon Forrest
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"Some may call it luminous, others windy."
Thoughts on Afro-American writers, artists, and sports figures by novelist Forrest (Two Wings to Veil My Face, 1984, etc.), assembled largely from magazines such as The Carleton Miscellany and Callalloo and from book reviews in the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere. Read full book review >
THE MAN IN THE MIRROR by Clare Brandt
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"Piercing insights into one of our most infamous figures, though no match for Willard Sterne Randall's superb Benedict Arnold (1990). (Maps and b&w illustrations—not seen)"
A biography that explains coherently—despite its rather thick layer of pop psych—why Benedict Arnold became the American Revolution's Lucifer, the brightest angel who suffered the steepest fall from grace. Read full book review >
SOUTH WIND CHANGING by Ngoc Quang Huynh
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"Amid nature's beauty, hope survives an incredible bloodbath."
Tragic, sometimes thrilling but terrifying life of a young Vietnamese whose woes abroad have nonetheless landed him in the US, where he graduated from Bennington and in 1992 received an MFA from Brown. ``Jade'' Ngoc Quang Huynh's 12 childhood years on the Mekong Delta went by like a dream compared with the hell that befell his family of 17 children when the Tet offensive exploded on New Year's 1968. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"For readers who can get past the hagiographic apologias and the surfeit of exculpatory particulars on ancient enmities: an idiosyncratic text that offers intriguing perspectives on a life story that remains to be more judiciously told."
A detailed but reverential biography of Chinese political leader Zhou Enlai. Read full book review >
ON FAMILIAR TERMS by Donald Keene
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"Keene complains of lukewarm or worse reviews of his monumental survey volume World Without Walls (1976)—but the Kirkus reviewer gave it the same high praise this memoir deserves as well."
Charming memoir by prolific specialist in Japanese literature Keene (Travelers of a Hundred Ages, 1989, etc.), who seems to have found a culture that mirrored his character traits of introversion and flight into deep study. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"Entertaining mix of fact and fancy, along with solid information about genetic disorders."
Intriguing speculations about the possible effects on world events of the genetic abnormalities of certain well-known figures. Read full book review >
ON THE REAL SIDE by Mel Watkins
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"A careful balance of example and commentary—as filled with the voices and laughter of black humor as with the pain, injustice, indignities, and exclusion that gave rise to it."
In this timely, encyclopedic, personable history of African- American humor, Watkins (journalist, editor New York Times) offers in his rich examples and unpretentious analysis a history of a culture through its entertainment and, in a wider context, an explanation of the functions of laughter among minorities. 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 >