Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

THE MAN WHO MADE THINGS OUT OF TREES by Robert Penn
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 26, 2016

"An appreciative, environmentally sound reminder of how trees benefit and cultivate life on Earth."
A lifelong nature lover explores the versatility of the ash tree. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 1, 2016

"Though no Gideon's Trumpet, this is a touch better than the usual run of legal memoirs, and it affords useful insight into the ways of the law and its practitioners."
A noted defense attorney's unapologetic memoir of a long career in criminal justice. Read full book review >

LOVING AND LEAVING WASHINGTON by John Yochelson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 1, 2016

"A quiet but compelling case for working in policy research and advocacy."
A dedicated public servant recounts his bicoastal career working in European security, economic policy, education, and other arenas. Read full book review >
Ruined by Ruth Everhart
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Forthright, compassionate, and expertly crafted—everything readers should want from a memoir."
A memoir offers extensive reportage of a sexual assault and a reflection on the author's future course and evolving faith. Read full book review >
WAKING THE SPIRIT by Andrew Schulman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"An inspirational testament to the limitless benefits of music and its role in health care."
A near-death survivor and career musician demonstrates the true healing power of music. Read full book review >

THE PROBLEM WITH ME by Han Han
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"A collection more interesting to Western readers for what the author represents than for anything he has written here."
A collection from one of China's most outspoken "troublemakers and dissidents." Read full book review >
THE ANGEL by Uri Bar-Joseph
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Well-researched and candidly told, this book deserves shelf space next to volumes on Vladimir Vetrov and Kim Philby."
A detailed biography of Ashraf Marwan (1944-2007), an Egyptian national and Israel's most vital informant. Read full book review >
THE ACCIDENTAL LIFE by Terry McDonell
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"A wide-ranging, smart, and witty collection testifying to an impressive career."
The former editor of Rolling Stone, Esquire, and Sports Illustrated looks back. Read full book review >
PEACOCK & VINE by A.S. Byatt
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Although brief, this is an inspiring homage that forges illuminating connections between two dynamos."
An impassioned dual appreciation of two 19th-century creators who turned their lives into art. Read full book review >
OUR FAMILY DREAMS by Daniel Blake Smith
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"Incomparable sources make for an unusually intimate American portrait."
The lives and fortunes of ambitious 19th-century brothers. Read full book review >
THE KING'S REVENGE by Don Jordan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"An absorbing narrative that shifts the focus from monarchs to rebels."
A bloody history of treachery and retribution told with zest. Read full book review >
KAHLIL GIBRAN by Jean Gibran
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"An enjoyable, generously illustrated book that will stimulate readers to reconsider Gibran, his work, and his heritage."
Jean and Kahlil George Gibran chronicle the life of their famous relation in an updated—and greatly expanded—version of their 1974 book, Kahlil Gibran: His Life and World. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Nancy Isenberg
author of WHITE TRASH
July 19, 2016

Poor Americans have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over 400 years, in White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. “A riveting thesis supported by staggering research,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >