Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 978)

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 20, 1993

"Vivid, occasionally axe-grinding, vignettes that contribute a modicum of depth to the still incomplete portrait of an apparently world-class villain. (Photos—eight pp.—not seen)"
Intermittently absorbing testimony to the idiosyncratic—and autocratic—management style of the British media baron who was discredited as a swindler after his mysterious death in late 1991, coupled with an apologia that doth protest more than a bit too much. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 20, 1993

"Bully for him."
From out of the deep, deep wilds of Idaho comes this story of a short-story writer (The Tall Uncut, 1992)-turned-reluctant- backwoodsman. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 17, 1993

"More legal brief than biography as the personal Myra Bradwell is subsumed in the political figure—but a welcome revival of a forgotten reputation."
A dry, bare-bones biography of Myra Bradwell (1831-94), whose plea to practice law was denied by the Supreme Court because she was a woman, and who went on to become the publisher and editor of the influential Chicago Legal News. Read full book review >
MEMORY FEVER by Ray Gonzalez
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 15, 1993

"A Chicano memoir that should speak affectingly to young poets."
Poet, editor (The Guadalupe Review), anthologist (Mirrors Beneath the Earth, 1992) Gonzalez offers thoughtful, imagistic essays and vignettes about growing up in the desert Southwest and into his literary calling. Read full book review >
VAN CLIBURN by Howard Reich
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 15, 1993

"Prospective Cliburnites are better advised to invest in the CD re-release of his legendary performances of Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto and Rachmaninoff's second. (Illustrations—16 pp. color & b&w—not seen) (First printing of 35,000)"
The noted American pianist receives an overlong popular biography, stuffed with irritating detail on virtually every page. Read full book review >

FROM WHERE WE STAND by Deborah Tall
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 11, 1993

"Compellingly written and deeply felt, but overly abstract and offering little real sense of the region or its people today."
In The Island of the White Cow (1985), Tall recorded her five-year stay on an island off the coast of Ireland. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 11, 1993

"Brook's lively, unsentimental account of how he struggled against the odds to abide by this demanding credo makes for an engaging and entertaining, if cautionary, tale. (Maps, eight pages of photographs—not seen)"
The gritty memoir of a rugged individualist whose 20-year stint as proprietor of a debt-burdened community newspaper in coastal Maine was soul-satisfying—if less than idyllic. Read full book review >
WALKING LIGHT by Stephen Dunn
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 10, 1993

"The essays—many first published in AWP, the academic poets' house-journal—are nearly impossible to imagine as having been written by anyone other than a tenured American creative-writing teacher circa 1980's."
Dunn, a poet with eight published collections, turns to the essay with appealing diffidence but without anything especially startling or even lovely to say. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 10, 1993

"By focusing on Adams's retirement, Ellis doesn't achieve the sweep of a full biography—but he's able to capture the man's appealing spirit, providing new perspective on an unfairly neglected Founding Father. (Photographs)"
In a meditative and discursive essay (mostly about its subject's long retirement), Ellis (History/Mount Holyoke; After the Revolution, 1979) ponders the distinctive personality and achievements of America's endearingly cantankerous second President. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 8, 1993

"But with no chronology, life story, or even obituary, this is an interpretation without a narrative, a biography without a life. (Thirty illustrations, including eight pp. color—not seen)"
In what she claims ``might be called a postmodern biography,'' Brownstein (English/Brooklyn College; Becoming a Heroine, 1982) does not present the life-story of the 19th-century French ``star'' known only as ``Rachel'' (1821-58)—but, rather, she considers her as a ``text,'' interprets her as a ``cultural construct,'' and examines this daughter of peddlers who became an empress of the stage as a ``function of her personal effects.'' ``Stars,'' says Brownstein, because they are ``invented by writers,'' attract other writers, especially biographers—of which Rachel has had many (e.g., Joanna Richardson's Rachel, 1957). Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 5, 1993

"With an introduction by Paul Monette and an afterword by Fred (Mister) Rogers: A virtuous, unflinching, and unsentimental account of one boy's courage amid some of the world's worst cruelties."
Extraordinary autobiography of child abuse, nomadic street life, and, finally, AIDS—written with uncommon sophistication by a 14-year-old. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 3, 1993

"The lives make up about two-fifths of this lengthy work and, except perhpas to other behavioral scientists, are much more readable than the voluminous commentaries, charts, graphs, and tables with which they're interspersed."
Six in-depth life histories—plus much ancillary material— drawn from the Berkeley Longitudinal Studies and illustrating Clausen's theory that choices made in youth determine the courses of our lives. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Frank Bruni
March 31, 2015

Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. In Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes. “Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions,” our reviewer writes. View video >