Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

THE PROFITEERS by Sally Denton
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 16, 2016

"Filled with stories of cronyism and influence peddling, Denton's riveting and revealing book will undoubtedly displease the so-called 'boys from Bechtel,' who refused to talk to Denton, referring her to the company website."
Investigative journalist Denton (The Plots Against the President: FDR, A Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of the American Right, 2012, etc.) offers an ambitious "empire biography" of the Bechtel family and the secretive, privately held construction company-turned-diversified international conglomerate that has been "inextricably enmeshed" in U.S. foreign policy for seven decades. Read full book review >
IMBECILES by Adam Cohen
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2016

"A shocking tale about science and law gone horribly wrong, an almost forgotten case that deserves to be ranked with Dred Scott, Plessy, and Korematsu as among the Supreme Court's worst decisions."
Attorney, journalist, and bestselling author Cohen (Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days that Created Modern America, 2009, etc.) revisits an ugly chapter in American history: the 1920s mania for eugenics.Read full book review >

THE IMMORTAL IRISHMAN by Timothy Egan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2016

"A fascinating, well-told story by an author fully committed to his subject. Egan's impeccable research, uncomplicated readability, and flowing narrative reflect his deep knowledge of a difficult and complex man."
The story of Thomas Meagher (1823-1867), an Irishman radicalized by the famine who became a hero on three continents. Read full book review >
TROUBLE BOYS by Bob Mehr
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2016

"The dynamic that made the band great also tore them apart, as this biography superbly documents."
An in-depth biography of a beloved, exasperating band that never quite made it. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 1, 2016

"A must-read for military buffs and a should-read for anyone who has given even a cursory thought to the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq."
The search for the story behind an IED death leads to the history of the post-9/11 wars and the lives of the men and women who fight them. Read full book review >
CHARLOTTE BRONTË by Claire Harman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 2, 2016

"A delightfully engaging biography of a highly talented but deeply troubled prodigy of English literature."
Accomplished biographer Harman (Jane's Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World, 2010, etc.) returns with a lively account of the life of Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855).Read full book review >
THE VIOLET HOUR by Katie Roiphe
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 8, 2016

"Never overly sentimental, this is a poignant and elegant inquiry into mortality."
How five artists dealt with that carriage that kindly stopped for them. Read full book review >
RAOUL WALLENBERG by Ingrid Carlberg
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 8, 2016

"A riveting biography of a remarkable man."
The making of an unlikely hero. Read full book review >
THE MEDICI by Paul Strathern
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 15, 2016

"A fantastically comprehensive history covering the breadth of the great learning, art, politics, and religion of the period."
The prolific author continues to do what he does best—bring history to wondrous life—with this thorough history of the Medici family, the stimulus and backbone of the Renaissance. Read full book review >
LADIES NIGHT AT THE DREAMLAND by Sonja Livingston
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 15, 2016

"Wise, fresh, captivating essays."
Radiant essays inspired by "slivers and bits" of real women's lives. Read full book review >
THE LOST BOOK OF MOSES by Chanan Tigay
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 22, 2016

"A work of broad appeal, for the history buff and mystery lover alike."
The search for the world's oldest biblical manuscript. 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 >