Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 985)

NOT ENTITLED by Frank Kermode
Released: Nov. 1, 1995

"But what Kermode does share remains of great interest: However truncated, the story of his later years will intrigue literary intellectuals, while his lambent memoirs of youth should attract a broad audience."
While brilliant enough on what it reveals, this tripartite memoir by a great man of letters nevertheless reserves much of his life from illumination. Read full book review >
AUSCHWITZ by Lucie Adelsberger
Released: Oct. 30, 1995

"It is a notable addition to the list of testimonies available in English about that darkest period of human history. (illustrations, not seen)"
A taut, terse Holocaust narrative that is all the more powerful for its ironic reserve. Read full book review >

I AM SPOCK by Leonard Nimoy
Released: Oct. 26, 1995

"It has no oomph. (Author tour)"
A disappointingly ordinary memoir by an extraordinary actor. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 25, 1995

"Compelling, nonetheless, and for readers who can stick with it, a more valuable guide to turning around a troubled life than yet another self-help staircase."
A curiously illuminating autobiography of a woman who moved from abused and abandoned toddler to Ph.D. teacher of English and credits it all to ``literacy.'' Literacy is in quotes here because as Hamilton (English/Indiana Univ.-Purdue Univ., Indianapolis) uses the term, it refers not simply to the ability to read but to how knowledge gained through writing and reading, from fairy tales to bureaucratic records to Proust, can transform a life. Read full book review >
MEMOIRS by David Brinkley
Released: Oct. 24, 1995

A modest, enjoyable, and minor memoir by a journalist who has seen much 20th-century history in the making. Read full book review >

MUSICAGE by John Cage
Released: Oct. 20, 1995

"Cagey thoughts that will surely knot your brow."
A philosophical discourse embodying a lifetime's aesthetic explorations by infamous composer John Cage (191292). Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 19, 1995

"Breezily written and full of fascinating characters and facts, here's a science book as enjoyable as any novel."
The subtitle here tells the reader exactly what the book is about; what it doesn't say is how much fun it is to read. Read full book review >
BARRY GOLDWATER by Robert Alan Goldberg
Released: Oct. 18, 1995

"751) on Goldwater's role in postwar American politics."
Sturdy political biography of the author of modern American conservatism (not authorized, but written with its subject's cooperation) . Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 18, 1995

"That James Earl Ray was an innocent patsy for them is another matter entirely, and Pepper does not clear his name."
High-wrought conspiracy theory submitted to ``the court of last resortthe American people.'' Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fell victim to an assassin's rifle on April 8, 1968. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 18, 1995

"A mixed bag of documents, alternately the mundane record of a largely uneventful captivity and the cruel record of an execution, with first-class analysis from Steinberg."
The third entry in Yale's Annals of Communism series consists of documents on the fate of the Romanov dynasty, including official orders, personal letters, diaries, and recollections, interspersed with a commentary by Steinberg (History/Yale Univ.). Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 16, 1995

"This book, scary and profound, is one of the most urgent of the season, and it demands much discussion."
A dispiriting history of transgenerational violence and its victims, by a Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 15, 1995

"Lipsyte and Levine mesh well together, and it would be great to see them write a real, comprehensive social history of American sport."
A collaboration between one of our finest sportswriters, New York Times columnist Lipsyte, and one of the premier academic sports historians, Levine (Michigan State Univ.), tracing the history of American sport through the lives of 16 of its most important icons. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >