Biography & Memoir Book Reviews (page 995)

GROUCHO by Stefan Kanfer
Released: May 25, 2000

"A highly competent but finally rather troubling work."
As a historian of the Borscht Belt and of animated film (Serious Business, 1997), Kanfer would seem to be a good match for the verbally adroit Marx. Read full book review >
Released: April 28, 2000

"Congenial, refreshing, original—and mercifully succinct—de Botton may well achieve the impossible by making philosophy popular."
Having changed lives with the help of a French writer (How Proust Can Change Your Life, 1997), de Botton now seeks to offer those lives needed consolation—and specific advice—with the writings of some of the world's most illustrious philosophers. Read full book review >

Released: March 15, 1989

"An outspoken study, then, founded upon the belief that traditional values and virtues are the most reliable guides to private conduct and public policy—and that the opinions of intellectuals are often dangerous."
An iconoclastic collection of 12 critical and biographical estimates of leading writers—Rousseau, Shelley, Marx, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Sartre, Russell, and others—with a final chapter commenting more briefly on figures such as Orwell, Mailer, Baldwin, and Chomsky. Read full book review >
KING EDWARD VIII by Philip Ziegler
Released: Jan. 23, 1991

"A well-researched, morally acute portrait of the monarch as Peter Pan, all the more devastating for its author's abundant good will and compassion."
Was King Edward VIII simply a Prince Charming who yielded his throne for "the woman I love" or was he, as recent biographers have claimed, a political naif bewitched by a sexual adventuress? Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1990

"Filled with the author's usual erudition and lucidity of style—although one wishes for a little more steak to go with the sizzle."
McPherson follows up his sprawling Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War epic Battle Cry of Freedom (1988) with a real change of pace: sparkling analytical essays on how Lincoln effected the most fundamental transformation of American society since the American Revolution. Read full book review >

Released: Sept. 28, 1998

In what he describes as "discontinuous, impressionistic renderings of some scenes from a man's life," the author brings himself into focus through writing about others. Read full book review >
CHEKHOV by Philip Callow
Released: May 15, 1998

"Interested readers would benefit more from their own reading of Chekhov, or from the more stimulating biographies of Donald Rayfield or V.S. Pritchett. (illustrations, not seen)"
This new offering in the expanding and increasingly noteworthy field of Chekhov studies lacks both the original scholarship and the intellectual depth of other recent studies. Read full book review >
ANTON CHEKHOV by Donald Rayfield
Released: March 1, 1998

"Just the facts, ma'am'') approach, but it will be difficult to fault or outdo his meticulous research. (24 pages b&w photos, not seen)"
Short on literary and historical perspective, Rayfield's exhaustive work nevertheless will be the definitive biography of Chekhov the private and family man. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 15, 1997

"Despite minor shortcomings, this is the best life of Collins now available, published just in time to coincide with Neil Jordan's film Michael Collins, with Liam Neeson in the lead role."
A stirring, comprehensive life of the great Irish patriot. ``If you think you understand what's going on, you're just confused,'' says a graffito current in Belfast. Read full book review >
VERTIGO by Louise DeSalvo
Released: Aug. 21, 1996

A biographer and literary critic's memoir of growing up in Hoboken, N.J., in a claustrophobic Italian-American family. Read full book review >
THE ORCHARD by Adele Crockett Robertson
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"Despite its fragmentary nature, and the only minimal supporting commentary supplied by the author's daughter, this enjoyable memoir opens another small but valuable window into our past."
An incomplete yet intriguing account of one woman's daily victories and defeats as she works to keep a New England farm going during the Great Depression. Read full book review >
HENRY CLAY FRICK by Jr. Schreiner
Released: April 27, 1995

"A dry, sterile tale."
A flat account of America's Gilded Age and the life of one of its major players. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >