Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 982)

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"A vivid, first-rate biography of a judicial hero. (Thirty-two b&w photographs.)"
Bass (Journalism/Univ. of Mississippi; Unlikely Heroes, 1981, etc.), using extensive quotes from taped interviews with his subject and others, tells the story of an outstanding and heroic federal judge: Frank M. Johnson of Alabama, who, despite the constant threat of violence in the explosive 1960's South, contributed to the achievement of racial justice in numerous landmark civil-rights cases. Read full book review >
CHARLES SANDERS PEIRCE by Joseph Brent
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"It may be possible to offer more subtle and revealing readings of Peirce's character, but it would be hard to write a more sympathetic and eloquent one. (Thirty-five b&w photographs—not seen.)"
After completing his doctoral dissertation on Peirce (1839- 1914), Brent (Intellectual History/University of the District of Columbia) waited 30 years to gain access to the private papers of the controversial founder of pragmatism and semiotics—papers that were suppressed by a Harvard faculty who believed they were protecting Peirce's intellectual reputation—and to write this biography. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Thorough and relentless as a chronicle of centuries of strife- -but also severely fragmented and unable to reconcile its air of travelogue with a more compelling critical agenda. (Illustrations; maps.)"
An erudite but lackluster interweaving of recent travels by Gott (literary editor of the London Guardian; Guerrilla Movements in Latin America, 1971) with more than four centuries of European forays into the South American interior and the vast swamplands of Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Lively, richly informative, deeply satisfying—a staple in Lindbergh studies. (Photos.)"
This judiciously empathic biography from Milton (The Yellow Kids, 1989), with its dazzling breadth of research, is the keystone of this season's Lindbergh-centered publications: Dorothy Herrmann's fine portrait of Anne Morrow Lindbergh (p. 1234); and Reeve Lindbergh's fictional familial tribute, The Names of the Mountains, (p. 1208), plus her poems and photos, in View from the Air (p. 1140), for the juvenile shelf. Read full book review >
CHAIM WEIZMANN by Jehuda Reinharz
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Not so much compelling as admirably—perhaps definitively- -detailed. (Photographs.)"
Well-documented but slow-moving second volume in Reinharz's monumental three-volume biography of Israel's first president (Chaim Weizmann: The Making of a Zionist Leader, 1985). Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"A lost reputation rises from the dead and adds a fearless new voice to the black Renaissance. (Fourteen halftones—not seen.)"
Richly voiced African-American memoir by Davis (1905-87), a journalist-poet who disappeared in 1948 and became known as the ``mystery poet.'' This memoir has been lovingly edited by John Edgar Tidwell (English/Miami University of Ohio) from a variety of manuscripts put together after Davis's death, and it may be expanded if more of his second volume, That Incredible Waikiki Jungle, is ever found. Read full book review >
STRAVINSKY by Robert Craft
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"But for those with an already established interest in the diverse outpourings of a genius, nearly indispensable. (Illustrations.)"
A brilliant hodgepodge of pieces about the life and art of the 20th century's greatest composer, by his longtime associate and amanuensis. Read full book review >
A TASTE OF POWER by Elaine Brown
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Timely, front-row view of a turbulent era. Put it on the shelf beside The Autobiography of Malcolm X."
Engrossing, jolting, behind-the-scenes memoir by the woman who led the Black Panther Party to mainstream power-brokering without giving up the guns, and who ended up fleeing its violence: a stunning picture of a black woman's coming of age in America. Read full book review >
MALCOLM X by Michael Friedly
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 29, 1992

"1290; Benjamin Karim's Remembering Malcolm, reviewed below), the most revealing about the killing. (Eight-page photo insert.)"
One of three Malcolm X books (so far) set to appear along with Spike Lee's epic film. Read full book review >
LOUIS XVI by John Hardman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 16, 1992

"Admirable for its primary political research—but lacking the warmth, color, and human dimensions of Carolly Erickson's To the Scaffold (1991), a Marie Antoinette biography offering a fuller, more balanced, and sympathetic picture of Louis and his court. (Twenty-four illustrations.)"
In a political, impersonal, and defensive biography, Hardman (a retired lecturer in modern history at the Univ. of Edinburgh) claims that Louis XVI, reputedly ``stupid, lazy, and impassive,'' was merely reticent, timid, ill-advised, lonely, and misunderstood- -and could have been called ``Louis the Silent.'' Born into a sprawling, extravagant, and unpopular monarchy, orphaned at age 11, Louis—private, shy, immature, and the least favored and least prepared heir to the throne—ascended to his kingship at age 19, when his grandfather died. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 15, 1992

"A most rewarding remembrance. (Illustrations.)"
Admirably modest, intimate, and compelling dual bio/memoir of Malcolm X and his assistant minister Benjamin Goodman, now Benjamin Karim. Read full book review >
THE GONNE-YEATS LETTERS 1893-1938 by Anna MacBride White
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 7, 1992

"Too lopsided to be of general interest, but Yeatsians will lap it up. (Photographs.)"
With only 29 Yeats letters to Maud Gonne extant (the others were destroyed in the Irish Civil War), and 373 of hers to him, this is hardly a two-way exhibition—and you have to have a great taste for either Celtic myth, occultism, progressive Irish politics, or the plight of a gorgeous, plucky woman to stay fully involved here. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Gabrielle Zevin
March 3, 2015

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over—and see everything anew. “Zevin writes characters who grow and prosper,” our reviewer writes, “in a narrative that is sometimes sentimental, sometimes funny, sometimes true to life and always entertaining.” View video >