Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

YOUNG ELIOT by Robert Crawford
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2015

"Although Crawford modestly claims that his biography is neither 'official' nor definitive, it is unlikely to be surpassed."
A masterful biography of the canonical modernist. Read full book review >
BILLIE HOLIDAY by John Szwed
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 1, 2015

"As with the best of Holiday's music, this elegant and perceptive study is restrained, nuanced, and masterfully carried out."
Esteemed music scholar Szwed (Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded the World, 2010, etc.) offers a portrait of Lady Day as artist and mythmaker rather than tragic victim.Read full book review >

BOSWELL'S ENLIGHTENMENT by Robert Zaretsky
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 23, 2015

"This wonderful rendering of Boswell digs deep into his probing, enquiring life and the fast friends he made at every turn."
James Boswell (1740-1795) comes to life in Zaretsky's (French History/Univ. of Houston; A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning, 2013) recounting of his European grand tour in the mid-18th-century.Read full book review >
FRANK by Barney Frank
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 2015

"Much more entertaining than most political memoirs, Frank's story isn't just revealing; it may be the most fun you can have reading about the United States Congress."
Now that the fiery, occasionally dyspeptic congressman has left office, he lets the air out in a memoir that feels like it's just the thing the long-serving politician has wanted to publish. Read full book review >
THE GREAT DIVIDE by Thomas Fleming
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 15, 2015

"Among historians, Jefferson's star has been falling for 50 years. Fleming's frank hostility puts him at the far end of the scale, but he makes a fascinating case that Jefferson's charisma—which peaked early with the Declaration of Independence—was accompanied by fanciful political beliefs that continue to exert a malign influence on the office of the presidency."
The camaraderie among America's Founding Fathers did not survive independence in 1783. Disagreement over the role of government grew into virulent antagonism, and that acrimony persists today. Prolific historian Fleming (A Disease in the Public Mind: A New Understanding of Why We Fought the Civil War, 2013, etc.) delivers a vivid, opinionated history of this conflict.Read full book review >

EVERY DAY I FIGHT by Stuart Scott
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 10, 2015

"A class act and a courageous voice to the end."
The posthumous memoir by the sportscaster who brought hip-hop to ESPN and subsequently showed his strength of character through his fight with cancer. Read full book review >
THE LAST UNICORN by William deBuys
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 10, 2015

"A riveting and disturbing account of the clash between the beauty of the wilderness and civilization's unrelenting demands on the natural world."
Dedicated conservationist deBuys (A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest, 2011 etc.) undertakes an arduous trek through the wilds of central Laos in a quest to help save one of the most elusive animals on the planet, the large grazing mammal known as a saola.Read full book review >
FOLLIES OF GOD by James Grissom
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 3, 2015

"There have been plenty of books written about Williams over the past three decades, but few weave so many voices into an original and compelling portrait. Grissom honors the life and achievement of his doomed correspondent."
One of America's greatest playwrights as seen by himself and his many muses. Read full book review >
H IS FOR HAWK by Helen Macdonald
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 3, 2015

"Whether you call this a personal story or nature writing, it's poignant, thoughtful and moving—and likely to become a classic in either genre."
An inspired, beautiful and absorbing account of a woman battling grief—with a goshawk. Read full book review >
BECOMING A MOUNTAIN by Stephen Alter
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 3, 2015

"There are many treasures to discover in this insightful memoir of hiking and healing in the Himalayas."
With a naturalist's eye and a poet's pen, a victim of violence looks to the Himalayas for healing. Read full book review >
THE DEATH OF CAESAR by Barry Strauss
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 3, 2015

"Once again, Strauss takes us deep into the psyche of ancient history in an exciting, twisted tale that is sure to please."
Master historian Strauss (History and Classics/Cornell Univ.; Masters of Command: Hannibal, Alexander, Caesar and the Genius of Leadership, 2012, etc.) zeroes in on the few years surrounding Julius Caesar's assassination and delves into the strengths of the characters involved.Read full book review >
ELEANOR MARX by Rachel Holmes
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"A full-fleshed, thrilling portrait, troubling and full of family secrets."
The extraordinary life of Karl Marx's feisty feminist youngest daughter told with passionate sympathy and conviction. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Frank Bruni
March 31, 2015

Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. In Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes. “Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions,” our reviewer writes. View video >