Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 4)

SINATRA by James Kaplan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"An appropriately big book for an oversized artistic presence."
The meatiness of the material justifies the length of the author's second (and concluding) volume of his biography of Frank Sinatra (1915-1998). Read full book review >
HUNGER MAKES ME A MODERN GIRL by Carrie Brownstein
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"Unlike many rock star memoirs, there's no sense that this book is a chore or a marketing effort. It's revealing and riveting. On the page as in her songs, Brownstein finds the right words to give shape to experience."
First-class account of the life and times of an essential riot grrrl and the band she helped create. Read full book review >

WE WERE BROTHERS by Barry  Moser
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 20, 2015

"With masterful narrative control, Moser reveals the narrowness of perspective as well as the limitations of memory."
This boyhood memoir reveals much more than it ever explicitly states, with its tight focus on boyhood, brotherhood, estrangement, and reconciliation. Read full book review >
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT by Roger Daniels
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 15, 2015

"Finely delineated history, authoritative and skillfully fashioned."
A vigorous, thorough examination of the New Deal programs, pinpointing Franklin Roosevelt's successes and failures and much improvisation. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 15, 2015

"Of considerable interest to all readers of Twain but especially to working writers following Twain's habit of tracking his astonishing writing income—even though, as he writes, 'if I should run out of all other nourishment I believe I could live on compliments.'"
In which the greatest of American writers goes into the night—and not such a good night at that, and not at all gently. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Superb scholarship and a sprightly style recover an unaccountably overlooked life in our history."
A specialist in African-American history pieces together the remarkable career of an antebellum Wall Street broker who was married to a white woman, ambitious, ruthless, successful, and black: in short, "a racist's nightmare come to life." Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A pointed family memoir from a writer keenly attuned to and reverent of genius."
A frank memoir of Spender's problematic poet father and his emotionally remote pianist mother. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Washington, D.C., regulars may know some of this information, and foreign nations certainly do, but all engaged American citizens should read this book and have their eyes opened."
Former Salon founding editor-in-chief Talbot (Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love, 2012, etc.) shares his extensive knowledge and intense investigations of American politics with a frightening biography of power, manipulation, and outright treason.Read full book review >
EMPIRE OF SELF by Jay Parini
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A superbly personal biography that pulsates with intelligence, scholarship, and heart."
An intimate but unblinking look at Gore Vidal (1925-2012), the gifted essayist, playwright, novelist, and public personality, who, for a time, seemed ubiquitous in the popular culture. Read full book review >
BOUNDLESS by Kathleen Winter
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"With the eye of a poet and the stamina of an Amundsen, Winter proves a delightful guide into unexplored realms. Worthy of shelving alongside Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams (1986)."
Literate, luminous travels in the far north. Read full book review >
THE ARAB OF THE FUTURE by Riad Sattouf
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Sattouf has also worked as a columnist for the satirical Charlie Hebdo, but the social commentary here is more wistful and melancholy than sharp-edged. This first volume of a memoir 'to be continued' is subtly written and deftly illustrated, with psychological incisiveness and humor."
A child's-eye view of upheaval in the Arab world and its relations with the West. Read full book review >
THEY ALL LOVE JACK by Bruce Robinson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A ripping good read, strange, suggestive, and memorable."
A wild ride down the back alleys of London in the service of "Ripperology." Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >