Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 960)

REWRITES by Neil Simon
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"Neil Simon delivers, from the heart, a fine portrait of the artist. (First printing of 100,000; first serial to Reader's Digest; author tour)"
The prolific master of Broadway fun hops over the footlights to recall much—but not all—of his personal history. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"Resurrected from the newspaper morgue, these pieces tend to lose whatever punch they may have initially had."
Journalist Steinbach is a Pulitzer Prize winner, but the award was given for feature articles written for the Baltimore Sun, not for this motley assortment of reflections on ``the small events that make up a life.'' In the footsteps of other essayists and columnists—Erma Bombeck and Steinbach's hero E.B. White among them—Steinbach digs for the universal in the personal, and from time to time, she strikes pay dirt. Read full book review >

PRIVILEGED HANDS by Geerat Vermeij
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"Uplifting'' may smack of sentimentality, but Vermeij's life story surely is uplifting—and it contributes importantly to evolutionary science."
There are multiple stories, both personal and scientific, in this remarkable life of a blind scientist. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"Hollywood memoirs just don't get any better than this. (32 pages b&w photos, not seen)"
Two thumbs up for this engrossing, sometimes shocking, memoir of life as a child actor during the silent-movie era. Read full book review >
ROCK BOTTOM by Pamela Des Barres
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"As with Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon, to which the subtitle pays homage, there's loads of entertainment here for those who can stomach it. (100 photos, not seen)"
Loving plunges into 26 abruptly curtailed or epically depraved rock 'n' roll lives. Read full book review >

DOSSIER by Edward Jay Epstein
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"A dirt-dishing, painstakingly corroborated life story that sets the record straight on a master con man who fooled most of the people most of the time. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen)"
A revealingly revisionist biography of Armand Hammer who, before his death at 92 in 1990, had made a considerable name for himself as an industrialist, patron of the arts, philanthropist, and unofficial envoy to Communist seats of government. Read full book review >
BONE BLACK by bell hooks
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"A book of great intelligence, Bone Black's power is somewhat diffused by this reticence of tone."
Quite a departure from her usual work, this slender memoir allows African-American feminist writer hooks (Killing Rage, 1995, etc.) to look back on her childhood. Read full book review >
RUMORS AND STONES by Wayne Karlin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"A deft melding of disparate narratives, forming a unique and valuable addition to the literature of the Holocaust."
A deeply emotional, intellectual, and literary examination of the Holocaust, framed through one man's journey to a small Polish town in which 2,000 Jews were executed by the Germans in 1941. Read full book review >
SOME REMARKABLE MEN by James Lord
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"Underneath Lord's witty, dilettantish style, his recollections have a serious core about living the artistic life, with its hidden costs and uncertain legacies. (illustrations, not seen)"
With his skill at polishing his enviable experiences and an apparently inexhaustible supply of illustriously populated journals, Lord (Picasso and Dora, 1993, etc.) remains a formidable memoirist in his latest book. Read full book review >
DIARY OF A LEFT-HANDED BIRDWATCHER by Leonard Nathan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"And while, like the furtive yellow rail, the big picture is elusive, the glimpses allowed Nathan are worth everything."
``It's a sort of . . . well . . . meditation on birdwatching,'' explains Nathan (Returning Your Call, 1975, etc.) to a friend interested in his latest writing venture. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"Though the book is somewhat disorganized, and women's sports have become much more competitive in the last 64 years, Pieroth's admiration for these athletes is infectious, and their determination remains impressive. (24 photos, not seen)"
An oddly touching compendium of the female Olympic athletes of 1932, a year the author considers ``pivotal'' for female athletes. Read full book review >
DAVE BARRY IN CYBERSPACE by Dave Barry
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"And it can be read with zero RAM, too. (Author tour)"
User-friendly Barry, tour guide to the world and elsewhere (Dave Barry Does Japan, 1992, etc.), takes a crack at cyberspace and comes up with a loony naturalist's guide to computer geekdom. 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 >