Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 973)

THE PAPER TRAIL by Dorothea Straus
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 28, 1997

"A diverting but occasionally repetitive volume, mingling some perceptive work with less original observations."
The wife of publisher Roger Straus collects her ``scrapbook'' shorts on the literary luminaries of her acquaintance. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 26, 1997

"A wild and woolly picture, indeed, but the main tension in Gould's gaudy, melodramatic narrative derives from the uncertainty as to whether or not she will suffer an FWTD (Fate Worse Than Death). (8 pages b&w photos, not seen)"
A journalistic Perils of Pauline in what the author breezily terms the ``FSU'' (Former Soviet Union). Read full book review >

THE LETTERS OF NANCY MITFORD AND EVELYN WAUGH by Nancy Mitford
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 26, 1997

"Quite the battle of wits."
Twenty years (1946-66) of reciprocal, unconditional support between the twin sensibilities and manifestly unlike personalities of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh, expressed in a private shorthand of shared history and coined language. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 24, 1997

"A triumph of discovery in the often strip-mined quarry of film history."
A biography of the highest-paid female scriptwriter in Hollywood becomes an exploration of the work and sustaining friendships of the leading women of early cinema. Read full book review >
RICHARD THOMPSON by Patrick Humphries
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 24, 1997

"Unable to keep his critical eye in soft focus, Humphries finally offers a work that could as easily be produced by stitching together a dozen record reviews and a Rolling Stone interview. (30 photos, not seen)"
This biography of the quintessential ``musicians' musician'' by Englishman Humphries (Small Change: A Life of Tom Waits, 1990, etc.) is too much the work of a music critic and too little the work of an accomplished biographer. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 24, 1997

"The collection's thoughtfully notated discography will undoubtedly be used to feed the reader's new or rekindled interest in country music. (40 b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)"
This pleasing collection of short, intimate biographies of performers conveys the essence of the traditional country genre by focusing on icons such as Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Buck Owens, Chet Atkins, George Jones, Johnny Cash, and Patsy Cline. Read full book review >
NAKED by David Sedaris
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 1997

In this collection of essays, playwright and NPR commentator Sedaris tops his anarchically hilarious miscellany Barrel Fever (1994) by inventing a new genre: autobiography as fun-house mirror. Read full book review >
AN IRISH COUNTRY CHILDHOOD by Marrie Walsh
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 1997

"A parochial paean to a circumscribed world of folkways that survived long past their time."
A slight, affectionate meander through scenes from a County Mayo childhood of the 1930s and early '40s. Read full book review >
BLUE WINDOWS by Barbara Wilson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 1997

This sensitive, eloquent coming-of-age story articulates the often painful intersections of religion, power, illness, and death. Read full book review >
GOOD LAND by Bruce Bair
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 1997

"But given the cruel nature of Bair's father, growing up on a farm never sounded so miserable."
This collection of mostly short, often nastily revealing pieces by journalist Bair on his childhood on a 4,000-acre wheat farm in Kansas reflects poorly on farm life and the midwestern character. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 1997

"While many big-time college sports powers' athletic directors are slow in accepting it, both Kessler and Runge make a strong case that athletes are athletes, regardless of gender."
A passionately argued and timely study about the issues surrounding gender, amateur sports, and the law. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 14, 1997

"A fine military history of a heroic, hitherto forgotten unit finally brought to light."
A son's record of his long, wide-ranging search to uncover his dead father's army experiences during WW II. 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 >