Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 995)

ELTON JOHN by Philip Norman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1992

"Slow start, but John's troubled odyssey grows on you and generates rich feelings for the man. (Forty b&w photographs—not seen.)"
An unauthorized, captivating life of the pop star, by a British novelist (The Skater's Waltz, 1985) and biographer of the Beatles (Shout!—not reviewed) and the Rolling Stones (Symphony for the Devil, 1984). Read full book review >
FANNY BRICE by Herbert G. Goldman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1992

"A celebrity bio the way they should be written."
Well-written life of the great comedienne, today known best as the original of Barbra Streisand's Funny Girl and Funny Woman; by the author of 1988's well-received Jolson. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1992

"A fascinating portrait of a double agent whose active disaffection with the communist system helped consign it to history's dustbin. (Eight pages of photos—not seen.)"
While Oleg V. Penkovsky may not, literally, have saved the world, this tellingly detailed saga reconfirms that the turncoat GRU colonel provided the West with priceless intelligence during the early 1960's, when the cold war very nearly turned hot. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 28, 1992

"Crucial to any reevaluation of JFK as President and statesman, this electrifying report portrays a wily, stubborn, conflicted leader who grasped realities that eluded virtually everyone else in the US establishment."
Bold and authoritative revisionist analysis of Kennedy's Vietnam policy, by a US Army major who teaches history at the Univ. of Maryland. Read full book review >
A HOME IN THE HEART OF A CITY by Kathleen Hirsch
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

"A worthwhile story of urban renewal that needs to exhibit, in its telling, some awareness that it isn—t unique and more of the unassuming naturalness it admires."
Hirsch (Mothers, not reviwed; Songs from the Alley, 1989) reflects with unrestrained satisfaction on her experiences of urban community renewal in Jamaica Plain (J.P.), Boston. Read full book review >

HADLEY by Gioia Diliberto
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 1992

"Holds Hadley and Hemingway in a clean mirror full of Paris mornings. (Three eight-page photo inserts—not seen.)"
A life of Ernest Hemingway's first wife and a quite moving return to A Moveable Feast; by the author of 1987's well-received Debutante: The Story of Brenda Frazier. Read full book review >
ALBERT SCHWEITZER by James Bentley
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 25, 1992

"An admirable if flawed addition, then, to Schweitzer studies. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)"
Bentley (Martin Niemoller, 1984), a former Anglican priest, makes use here of hitherto unpublished material in the Albert Schweitzer Archive in Alsace to paint a disquieting portrait of a very puzzling man. Read full book review >
ALMA MAHLER OR THE ART OF BEING LOVED by Francoise Giroud
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1992

"Mahler's determination, which allowed her to survive the loss of children and husbands, and her life in prewar Vienna certainly deserve at least as much attention as the amount of benedictine she drank."
Although in this unsatisfying biography she describes Alma Mahler as a ``goddess who made a god of each of her lovers,'' Giroud (ed. in chief, L'Express; I Give You My Word, 1974) also depicts the composer's wife as an arrogant, narcissistic woman who played whatever role she was cast in by creative, demanding men who in turn adored her for conforming to their expectations. Read full book review >
BEGINNING WITH MY STREETS by Czeslaw Milosz
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 1992

"Milosz escapes curmudgeon-ism by the sweep of his knowledge, his unexpected if not quite graceful stylistic pirouettes, and his refusal to be a mage."
Some of these essays were written directly for Polish-speaking readers, and that surely has a part in determining the occasional small-bore specificity here, the lack of background information about East European literature that Nobelist Milosz has been patiently providing and re-providing to Western readers for decades. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 20, 1992

"Compelling if overwrought, but a must for Sinologists. (Forty- five b&w photographs, two maps—not seen.)"
An ambitious but labored joint political biography of China's late-20th-century rulers, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, that overreaches in its attempt to parallel, contrast, and interweave their paths to power. Read full book review >
ROWAN'S PROGRESS by James McConkey
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"A bit like viewing pictures of someone else's relatives- -provoking mild interest or a suppressed yawn."
Leisurely ponderings upon the history of the small Kentucky town where McConkey (Literature/Cornell; Kayo, 1987; To a Distant Island, 1984, etc.) once taught. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

"A huge drama full of players on the grand scale, none of whom comes alive within the confines of this treatment."
Tedious account of riveting events surrounding Count Folke Bernadotte's release of prisoners from German concentration camps and his subsequent assassination, by Schwarz (co-author, The Peter Lawford Story, 1988, etc.). Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Pierce Brown
author of GOLDEN SON
February 17, 2015

With shades of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Game of Thrones, Pierce Brown’s genre-defying Red Rising hit the ground running. The sequel, Golden Son, continues the saga of Darrow, a rebel battling to lead his oppressed people to freedom. As a Red, Darrow grew up working the mines deep beneath the surface of Mars, enduring backbreaking labor while dreaming of the better future he was building for his descendants. But the Society he faithfully served was built on lies. Darrow’s kind have been betrayed and denied by their elitist masters, the Golds—and their only path to liberation is revolution. “Stirring—and archetypal—stuff,” our reviewer writes. View video >