Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

NOW I SIT ME DOWN by Witold Rybczynski
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"Rybczynski is totally engaging in this smoothly flowing, sharp, witty narrative—another winner from a top-notch writer on design."
The acclaimed popularizer and purveyor of all things architectural scrutinizes a "tool for sitting." Read full book review >
TRUFFLE BOY by Ian Purkayastha
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"An informative and charming food and travel memoir."
A 20-something's account of how he became a leading importer of truffles and other exotic specialty foods for some of America's most elite restaurants. Read full book review >

THE COMMANDER by Laila Parsons
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

"A remarkably evenhanded biography of an important player in Arab history that doubles as a crucial scholarly reinterpretation of the rise and fall of Arab nationalism."
Biography of the famous early-20th-century Arab nationalist and soldier Fawzi al-Qawuqji (1890-1977). Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Race, patriotism, and personal heroism come together in this eye-opening early episode in Civil War history."
A Civil War tale starring a free black sailor. Read full book review >
THE ART OF RIVALRY by Sebastian Smee
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"Smee takes readers deep into the beginnings of modern art in a way that not only enlightens, but also builds a stronger appreciation of the influences that created the environment that fostered its development."
An exploration of the relationships among eight artists who were friends, mentors, and/or rivals and the particular incidents that changed their lives. Read full book review >

UPROOT by Jace Clayton
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"An engrossing tour of the global cutting edge, balanced between memoir, musicology, and technology."
Sharply detailed exploration of how technology and globalization have transformed participatory audio culture for top-dollar DJs and African ensembles alike. Read full book review >
RIVERINE by Angela Palm
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"An intelligent, evocative, and richly textured memoir."
The haunting account of how the author tried to escape her rural Indiana past. Read full book review >
BORN BRIGHT by C. Nicole Mason
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 16, 2016

"A thoughtful, well-crafted rejoinder to Claude Brown's half-century-old Manchild in the Promised Land, speaking to the power of hope and the institutional changes needed to make hope possible."
The aspirational story of a young African-American woman's rise from poverty. Read full book review >
THE GLAMOUR OF STRANGENESS by Jamie James
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Abundant primary sources inform James' sharply drawn, sympathetic portraits."
Six artists in quest of the exotic. Read full book review >
HOW EVERYTHING BECAME WAR AND THE MILITARY BECAME EVERYTHING by Rosa Brooks
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Legal theorists and policymakers will approve the scholarship and close analysis; general readers will appreciate the sensitive storytelling, the wit, and the uncommon good sense."
A former senior Defense Department adviser explores the military's expanded role in a time when the lines between war and peace are dangerously blurred. Read full book review >
UTOPIA DRIVE by Erik Reece
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"Compelling narratives with a personal voice, with some utopian political bite."
A journalist and author drives his truck around the East visiting utopian communities—past and present—and concludes we need to think more like those folks. Read full book review >
THE HERO'S BODY by William Giraldi
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 9, 2016

"A hearty, bittersweet familial chronicle of masculinity drawing on the underappreciated bond between fathers and sons."
A loving son reflects on life with a brawny father whose premature death permanently transformed him. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
author of SEINFELDIA
August 22, 2016

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s new bestseller Seinfeldia is the hilarious behind-the-scenes story of two guys who went out for coffee and dreamed up Seinfeld —the cultural sensation that changed television and bled into the real world. Comedians Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld never thought anyone would watch their silly little sitcom about a New York comedian sitting around talking to his friends. NBC executives didn’t think anyone would watch either, but they bought it anyway, hiding it away in the TV dead zone of summer. But against all odds, viewers began to watch, first a few and then many, until nine years later nearly 40 million Americans were tuning in weekly. In Seinfeldia, TV historian and entertainment writer Armstrong celebrates the creators and fans of this American television phenomenon, bringing readers behind-the-scenes of the show while it was on the air and into the world of devotees for whom it never stopped being relevant, a world where the Soup Nazi still spends his days saying “No soup for you!” “Armstrong’s intimate, breezy history is full of gossipy details, show trivia, and insights into how famous episodes came to be,” our reviewer writes. “Perfect for Seinfeldians and newcomers alike.” View video >