Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

THE YEAR OF LEAR by James Shapiro
Released: Oct. 6, 2015

"Shapiro's discoveries of long-lost sources and missed connections make this a fascinating tale. His well-written, scholarly exploration will stand as an influential work that is a joy to read."
Shakespearean scholar Shapiro (English/Columbia Univ.; Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, 2010, etc.) links the tumultuous events of 1605 and 1606 to three of the Bard's greatest works.Read full book review >
HENRY CLAY by Harlow Giles Unger
Released: Oct. 1, 2015

"In this lucid, exemplary biography, Unger focuses on not just Clay, but also on the formation of the early republic, a time too little studied today. An excellent introduction to a turbulent era."
A comprehensive biography of the statesman whom Abraham Lincoln called "the ideal politician." Read full book review >

THE NEW TSAR by Steven Lee Myers
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"A highly effective portrait of a frighteningly powerful autocrat."
The reptilian, poker-faced former KGB agent, now Russian president seemingly for life, earns a fair, engaging treatment in the hands of New York Times journalist Myers.Read full book review >
DEEP SOUTH by Paul Theroux
Released: Sept. 29, 2015

"An epically compelling travel memoir."
An acclaimed travel writer and novelist's engrossing account of his journey through the Deep South. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 28, 2015

"A laudable, monumental effort to gather the work of a crucial writer of the 20th century in one voluminous package."
A publishing production years in the making rounds up all of the remarkably diverse works of a writer known up to now, in English, at least, principally as a writer of the Holocaust. Read full book review >

THE NIXON TAPES by Douglas Brinkley
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"Essential for students of late-20th-century American history and the Nixon presidency."
Brinkley and Nichter (The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972, 2014, etc.) conclude their project of publishing highlights from Richard Nixon's infamous tapes with this volume from the last year of recording.Read full book review >
MARY MCGRORY by John Norris
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"Norris is plainly in love with his fascinating subject, which is not only McGrory, but newspaper journalism in general."
Mary McGrory's life (1918-2004) as a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington columnist is so interesting that it's hard to understand why there hasn't been a book about her until now. Enter Norris (The Disaster Gypsies: Humanitarian Workers in the World's Deadliest Conflicts, 2007, etc.) with this balanced, page-turning biography. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A vibrant, honest, and poetic account of how two years of solitude surrounded by nature changed a man forever."
How losing eyesight in one eye made a man see more clearly. Read full book review >
1944 by Jay Winik
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A complex history rendered with great color and sympathy."
An accomplished popular historian unpacks the last full year of World War II and the excruciatingly difficult decisions facing Franklin Roosevelt. Read full book review >
SHOWDOWN by Wil Haygood
Released: Sept. 16, 2015

"An intensely readable, fully explored account of what the New York Times called an 'ordeal by committee,' an important hinge in American history."
Longtime journalist and biographer Haygood (The Butler: A Witness to History, 2013, etc.), whose previous subjects have included Sammy Davis Jr., Sugar Ray Robinson, and Adam Clayton Powell Jr., examines the confirmation battle over the first African-American nominated to the Supreme Court.Read full book review >
ROAD TRIP by Mark Rozema
Released: Sept. 15, 2015

"A brief but impressive debut collection."
A series of essays delicately evoking nature's power and mystery. Read full book review >
PAID FOR by Rachel Moran
Released: Sept. 8, 2015

"Moran's thoughtful, highly readable, and provocative treatise shines a necessary light on a dark and underdiscussed topic."
Leaving her Dublin home and dysfunctional family at 14, Moran became homeless before she turned to prostitution to survive. Her stirring memoir chronicles her seven-year journey on the streets and in the brothels and examines the costs to society and her soul. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
John Sandford
author of SATURN RUN
October 6, 2015

Saturn Run, John Sandford’s new novel, is quite a departure for the bestselling thriller writer, who sets aside his Lucas Davenport crime franchise (Gathering Prey, 2015, etc.) and partners with photographer and sci-fi buff Ctein to leave Earth’s gravitational field for the rings of Saturn. The year is 2066. A Caltech intern inadvertently notices an anomaly from a space telescope—something is approaching Saturn, and decelerating. Space objects don’t decelerate; spaceships do. A flurry of top-level government meetings produces the inescapable conclusion: whatever built that ship is at least 100 years ahead in hard and soft technology, and whoever can get their hands on it exclusively and bring it back will have an advantage so large, no other nation can compete. A conclusion the Chinese definitely agree with when they find out. The race is on. “James Bond meets Tom Swift, with the last word reserved not for extraterrestrial encounters but for international piracy, state secrets, and a spot of satisfyingly underhanded political pressure,” our reviewer writes. View video >