Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 983)

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

"Raskin puts Hoffman into his American context and offers fascinating insight into both. (25 b&w photos, not seen)"
An insightful biography that paints provocateur extraordinaire Abbie Hoffman as the paradigm of the 1960s. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

"Surely as biased toward the right as the media allegedly are toward the left—but for all that, this shoot-from-the-lip politico is on target in calling for greater press self-scrutiny. (Author tour)"
Simpson, retiring this January after 18 years in the Senate, would, judging from this combative memoir-critique, probably agree with Oscar Wilde's bon mot, ``In the old days men had the rack; now they have the press.'' At first, Simpson (R-Wyo.) basked in his reputation for hard work, plain speaking, shrewdness, and collegiality—all of which earned him a prized post as assistant Senate minority leader and a Washington Post headline as ``A Western Breeze Through a Stuffy Senate.'' Before long, however, that image had degenerated into one of a thin-skinned pol ready to stick it at a moment's notice in the media's ``gazoo'' (a word he coined), and as a symbol of all the men who ``didn't get it'' when Anita Hill gave her controversial testimony about Clarence Thomas before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

"Here historical events appear only as backdrops to the real focus of this disappointing narrative—designer clothing, fancy cars, Europe's haut monde, and jaded royal circles. (photos, not seen)"
Too much like her heroine, author Sutherland is so seduced by power and glamour that she inflates her subject's literary and historical significance. Read full book review >
GIRLS ONLY by Alex Witchel
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

"I took my SATs in'') may be willing to give her the benefit of the doubts raised by her presumption of an audience for all of her privileged communications."
In the saucy short profiles she regularly turns out for the New York Times, Witchel displays a knack for breeziness that doesn't come so naturally here: Sustaining it for the length of a book means sometimes forcing it, and this time the subject is personal—the bonds and unresolved tensions among her mother, her sister, and herself. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

"An interesting, occasionally gossipy look behind Congress's closed doors, but hardly authoritative. (Author tour)"
A workmanlike account of the 103rd Congress, elected in 1992, the Year of the Woman, focusing on four Democratic women: newcomers Senator Patty Murray and Representatives Cynthia McKinney and Louise Slaughter, as well as veteran representative Pat Schroeder. Read full book review >

WORDS FOR THE TAKING by Neal Bowers
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

"Partly a page-turning detective story, partly a modern defense of poetry, Bowers's brief book does poetic justice to a literary crime."
Bowers's enthralling manhunt for a pseudonymous poem-thief is a multifaceted investigation into art and originality. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

"Today Campo's patients are the mostly Latino poor of Boston; the rest of us must settle for his fine, perceptive writing."
Graceful, insightful, often disturbing essays on the healing art by a doctor-poet who daringly reveals his own human vulnerabilities and longings. ``As a poet, my challenge is to create myself, in my own image, using the corporeal materials common to all speakers of English; as a physician, my challenge is to accept the absolute necessity of that process,'' writes Campo, who currently practices medicine at Harvard Medical School's Beth Israel Hospital. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

"This book does raise important questions about the tradeoffs, if any, between electoral vulnerability and political accountability, but noverall, this work is not up to the author's usual standards."
In a novel but weakly supported premise, British political scientist and BBC elections analyst King argues that the American infatuation with holding government leaders accountable renders them much more vulnerable to the whims of the electorate than their counterparts abroad. Read full book review >
THE PRACTICE OF WRITING by David Lodge
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

"Neither wholly journalism nor academic theorizing, The Practice of Writing offers the best of both worlds."
Having retired from theory-dominated academia in 1987, British novelist and critic Lodge (Therapy, 1995, etc.) reflects on the practice and practicalities of writing for a living in this engaging essay collection. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

"A punchy study that makes up for its occasionally dry tone with scholarly rigor and zeal. (18 photos, not seen)"
A terse traipse through Foucault terrain that explores the careers of several Victorians who made a living out of the ``lunacy trade.'' According to sociologist Scull (Univ. of Calif., San Diego) and British health and education experts MacKenzie and Hervey, the advance of capitalism in the 19th century gave rise to a whole class of people who brought ``skill and expertise rather than material goods'' to the marketplace. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

"All writers, aspiring writers, and even just serious readers will be moved to pick up that ratty old diary and start scribbling again."
Bender, a playwright, essayist, and poet, offers an exciting foray into the inner workings of the writer's mind by focusing on the ubiquitous writer's journal. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 1, 1997

"A professional operative's apologia pro vita CIA."
The engrossing, matter-of-fact memoir of a career CIA officer whose involvement with Nicaragua's Contras brought him to grief at the hands of a special prosecutor. 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 >