Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 983)

FIREWORKS AT DUSK by Olivier Bernier
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 18, 1993

"Poignant and incisive, Bernier, with a journalist's eye for meaningful detail, captures this confused era when the City of Light, at its brightest, was overcome by a political darkness from which it never recovered. (Thirty b&w photographs—not seen.)"
An informed and fascinating survey of Paris's hectic decade before the Nazi occupation, highlighting the contrast between the glittering culture and the collapsing civilization. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 1993

"Not much new, but smartly joined together. (Sixteen pages of b&w photos—not seen.)"
With a rich idea satisfyingly carried out, novelist/biographer Feinstein (All You Need, 1990, etc.) focuses on the erotic life of D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930). Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 1993

"Miroff ably demonstrates the paradoxes that lie at the heart of leadership, and shows how the noblest qualities of our best leaders can be a threat to democracy."
Miroff (Political Science/SUNY at Albany; Pragmatic Illusions, 1976) thoughtfully examines the lives of nine disparate American leaders, ``seeking to read from their stories the possibilities, limitations, and dangers of American political leadership.'' Miroff fits his subjects into four paradigmatic categories: ``aristocratic'' leaders of the early republic, like Hamilton and John Adams, strong-willed elitists who led passive followers; their modern successors, ``heroic'' leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and JFK, who, in distinctive ways, wielded power like kings; the ``democratic'' leaders like Lincoln and FDR, who balanced personal styles of leadership with a commitment to increasing the democratic enfranchisement of the American people; and the ``dissenters,'' like Eugene Debs, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Martin Luther King, Jr., who, in resisting the prevailing order, sought to bring politically powerless groups into civic life. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 15, 1993

"Exceptionally moving and strong: an eloquent statement of human endurance and superhuman faith. (Photographs—not seen.)"
A monumental narration of the travails of Russian Communism, served up by the widow of one of its first founders—and victims. Read full book review >
FDR by Kenneth S. Davis
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1993

"The means by which all this occurred are not explained here."
Fourth and below-par volume of Davis's ongoing biography of FDR (1986, etc.), this entry covering 1936-40. Read full book review >

CHURCHILL by Robert Blake
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1993

"Lacking an essay on Churchill the writer; still, a solid bet for anyone concerned with 20th-century history."
Expert essays on a fascinating subject, edited by Blake (A History of Rhodesia, 1978, etc.) and Louis (English History and Culture/Univ. of Texas). Read full book review >
SWORD OF SAN JACINTO by Marshall De Bruhl
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1993

Close on the heels of John Hoyt Williams's Sam Houston (1992), freelance historian De Bruhl's biography of the colorful Texas hero also commemorates the 200th anniversary of Houston's birth—but this is a lackluster, inferior chronicle. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1993

"Holy-roller religion at its best, told with fire."
Powerhouse biography of perhaps the most charismatic and controversial woman in modern religious history. Read full book review >
A LIFE AT THE CENTER by Roy Jenkins
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1993

"A substantial feast spiced by warm, vivid accounts of encounters with Johnson, Kennedy, Harold Wilson, and other lesser politicians, and by an insider's view of the hothouse world of Parliamentary politics. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)"
Jenkins—author (Truman, 1986, etc.); chancellor of Oxford University; former home secretary and chancellor of the exchequer in various Labour governments—engagingly turns his formidable narrative skills to his own fascinating life. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1993

"Fun at the outset, but most seats will be empty by the seventh-inning stretch."
Unmemorable memoir by a former Hollywood writer and producer (M*A*S*H; Cheers) who chucks it all in middle age to become a baseball announcer. Read full book review >
ALWAYS STRAIGHT AHEAD by Alma Neuman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1993

"More than a literary footnote. (Photos—not seen.)"
A memoir in the form of an answer to a love letter delivered 20 years late, by the second wife of James Agee. ``Wanting so badly to answer'' that letter, mislaid in the interim, from the long-dead Agee, Neuman has finally eased her grief by writing the candid story of her life. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1993

"His brief account of this sentimental journey adds considerable resonance to a narrative already rich in anecdotal detail and high adventure. (Illustrations—not seen.)"
An absorbing memoir of the Danish-born author's WW II experiences with the American military, which obviously provided a starting point for the many thrillers he later wrote as a civilian (Code Name: Grand Guignol, 1987, etc.). Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Bill Browder
author of RED NOTICE
March 24, 2015

Bill Browder’s Red Notice is a nonfiction political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption. In 2007, a group of Russian law enforcement officers raided Browder’s offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear. “It may be that ‘Russian stories never have happy endings,’ ” our reviewer writes about Red Notice, “but Browder’s account more than compensates by ferociously unmasking Putin’s thugocracy.” View video >