Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 3)

MY FIRST LIFE by Hugo Chávez
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Monster or savior? Norteamericano leaders accustomed to the view of Chávez as evil incarnate may value this alternate, assuredly self-serving presentation of facts and events."
The late Venezuelan leader—or strongman, or dictator, if you like—tells all. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 25, 2016

"An intermittently engaging biography of a logistics genius whose behind-the-scenes influence did as much to win the war as that of most military commanders."
A journalist documents the achievements of an unsung Union hero of the Civil War. Read full book review >

NOW I SIT ME DOWN by Witold Rybczynski
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Rybczynski is totally engaging in this smoothly flowing, sharp, witty narrative—another winner from a top-notch writer on design."
The acclaimed popularizer and purveyor of all things architectural scrutinizes a "tool for sitting." Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"A fascinating, gracefully written glimpse into the complexities of family life, full of secrets, hidden wounds, and survival tips."
All is not as it seems. That's a good rule in life—and especially in family histories, the subject of this elegant memoir. Read full book review >
WAKING THE SPIRIT by Andrew Schulman
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"An inspirational testament to the limitless benefits of music and its role in health care."
A near-death survivor and career musician demonstrates the true healing power of music. Read full book review >

RUTHLESS by Ron Miscavige
Released: May 3, 2016

"A sad and painful but bravely told story. Acknowledging his son's mistakes and hoping things will change, the author concludes, 'David, I forgive you.'"
A father's nightmarish account of the Church of Scientology's transformation into a "coercive" cult under the authoritarian leadership of his son, David Miscavige. Read full book review >
Zip by Roxsane Tiernan
Released: Aug. 20, 2015

"An oversummarized memoir that shortchanges its subject's inspiring life story."
Tiernan (Celebrate Japan, 1990) relates a life filled with turmoil, tragedy, persistence, and triumph.Read full book review >
God In My Head by Joshua Grisetti
Released: Feb. 24, 2016

"An often moving account that's just as outlandish and funny as the author's bizarre experience."
In this debut memoir, one man's hallucination at the dentist's office offers answers to mysteries regarding religion and the universe. Read full book review >
Paris Nights by Cliff Simon
Released: July 15, 2015

"A colorful and illuminating memoir of a cabaret performer."
Simon recounts his time at the fabled Moulin Rouge in Paris and how it led to his career in Hollywood in this debut book. Read full book review >
NAVIGATING LIFE by Margaux Bergen
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Bergen's more helpful suggestions about ways to live well would be better suited to a mother-to-daughter letter, with all of the straining to impress shorn away."
A guide to life started by a mother when her daughter was in elementary school and given to her on her first day of college. Read full book review >
YOU'LL GROW OUT OF IT by Jessi Klein
Released: July 12, 2016

"A gifted comedian turns the anxieties, obsessions, insecurities, and impossible-to-meet expectations that make up human nature into laughter."
From childhood to motherhood, comedian Klein's fresh takes on the perplexities of womanhood in America. Read full book review >
THE COMMANDER by Laila Parsons
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A remarkably evenhanded biography of an important player in Arab history that doubles as a crucial scholarly reinterpretation of the rise and fall of Arab nationalism."
Biography of the famous early-20th-century Arab nationalist and soldier Fawzi al-Qawuqji (1890-1977). Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Fernanda Santos
author of THE FIRE LINE
May 17, 2016

When a bolt of lightning ignited a hilltop in the sleepy town of Yarnell, Arizona, in June 2013, setting off a blaze that would grow into one of the deadliest fires in American history, the 20 men who made up the Granite Mountain Hotshots sprang into action. New York Times writer Fernanda Santos’ debut book The Fire Line is the story of the fire and the Hotshots’ attempts to extinguish it. An elite crew trained to combat the most challenging wildfires, the Hotshots were a ragtag family, crisscrossing the American West and wherever else the fires took them. There's Eric Marsh, their devoted and demanding superintendent who turned his own personal demons into lessons he used to mold, train and guide his crew; Jesse Steed, their captain, a former Marine, a beast on the fire line and a family man who wasn’t afraid to say “I love you” to the firemen he led; Andrew Ashcraft, a team leader still in his 20s who struggled to balance his love for his beautiful wife and four children and his passion for fighting wildfires. We see this band of brothers at work, at play and at home, until a fire that burned in their own backyards leads to a national tragedy. View video >