Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

REAGAN by H.W. Brands
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 12, 2015

"An exemplary work of history that should bring Reagan a touch more respect in some regards but that removes the halo at the same time."
Monumental life of the president whom some worship and some despise—with Brands (History/Univ. of Texas; The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace, 2012, etc.) providing plenty of justification for both reactions.Read full book review >
LORD FEAR by Lucas Mann
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 12, 2015

"In constructing his aching, poignant narrative, Mann offers a fine meditation on fate and on how 'the story of addiction is the story of memory, and how we never get it right.'"
An ambitious, literary-minded memoir of the author's relationship with his late brother, a much older heroin addict. Read full book review >

TY COBB by Charles Leerhsen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 12, 2015

"Cobb was indeed a bruised peach but, as the author shows convincingly, not a thoroughly rotten one."
The former executive editor of Sports Illustrated explores the idea that Tyrus Raymond Cobb (1886-1961), perhaps the greatest player in baseball history, was also a violent, racist, roundly hated person. Read full book review >
THE DAEMON KNOWS by Harold Bloom
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 12, 2015

"As always, Bloom conveys the intimate, urgent, compelling sense of why it matters that we read these canonical authors."
Elegiac, gracious literary ponderings that group and compare 12 giants of American literature. Read full book review >
THE WORLD'S LARGEST MAN by Harrison Scott Key
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 12, 2015

"An uncommonly entertaining story replete with consistent wit and lethal weaponry."
Oxford American humor columnist Key (English/Savannah Coll. of Art and Design) pens a memoir about his father, a man with "the emotional tenderness of a Soviet farm tractor." Read full book review >

LEAVING ORBIT by Margaret Lazarus Dean
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 19, 2015

"One of those books you can't put down, don't want to finish, and won't soon forget."
Beguiled at an early age by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Dean (English/Univ. of Tennessee; The Time It Takes to Fall, 2007) deftly chronicles the history of American spaceflight and what the end of the space program means for American culture.Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 19, 2015

"Sehat ably shows how the exploitation of the founders debases political debate and neglects policy evaluation—required reading for those desperate for sane, intelligent political arguments."
Sehat (History/Georgia State Univ.; The Myth of American Religious Freedom, 2011) indicts the political ploy of invoking the Constitution to support projects from the sublime to the absurd.Read full book review >
HEAD CASE by Cole Cohen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 19, 2015

"A beautifully wrenching memoir as piercing as smelling salts."
The story of a woman with a hole in her brain the size of a lemon. Read full book review >
YOUR BAND SUCKS by Jon Fine
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 19, 2015

"'I don't regret a thing,' writes Fine, and neither will readers who live vicariously through the author's eyes and memory."
The short shelf of great books on indie rock adds another—an unlikely memoir about an obscure band that somehow found demand for its reunion in the Internet age. Read full book review >
BUCKLEY AND MAILER by Kevin M. Schultz
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2015

"In a book rich in anecdote and insight, Schultz assays their relationship splendidly."
A perceptive analysis of the evolution of political cultures that infuses a dissection of the contradictions within liberal and conservative thought with revealing character studies. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2015

"Excellent from start to finish, demanding a soundtrack of Stax hits as background listening."
Intellectually complex life of Otis Redding (1941-1967), the doomed King of Soul. Read full book review >
THE THEFT OF MEMORY by Jonathan Kozol
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 2, 2015

"A compassionate, cathartic, and searingly intimate chronicle of a crippling condition."
An errant son memorializes the devastating impact of his father's struggle with Alzheimer's disease. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Mona Eltahawy
April 28, 2015

In her debut book, Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, Egyptian-American journalist and commentator Mona Eltahawy mounts an angry indictment of the treatment of women throughout the Arab world. Born in Egypt, she spent her childhood in London, moving with her family to Saudi Arabia when she was 15. Her shock was immediate and visceral: “It felt as though we’d moved to another planet whose inhabitants fervently wished women did not exist,” she recalls. Women could not travel, work or even go to a doctor’s appointment without male approval. We talk to Eltahawy this week on Kirkus TV about her arresting new book. View video >