Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

OFF THE RADAR by Cyrus Copeland
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 24, 2015

"Both a gripping personal story and an insightful historical-cultural study."
Copeland (editor: A Wonderful Life: 50 Eulogies to Lift the Spirit, 2006, etc.) explores the mystery surrounding his father's controversial persecution in revolutionary-era Iran.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 >

A Spacious Life by Narissa Doumani
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 18, 2015

"Intelligent, contemplative spiritual memoir by a fine writer with a rich interior world."
A youngwoman writes of her spiritual evolution in an insightful debut memoir. Read full book review >
RECAPITULATIONS by Vincent Crapanzano
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 2015

"Crapanzano's self-conscious, self-analytical style makes this a unique and interesting search for lost time."
A book of memories about the act of remembering. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 17, 2015

"A chillingly drawn, expertly researched slice of grim Boston history."
A lively, evocative reinvigoration of Boston's Gilded Age and the psychopathic young stalker who threatened public safety. 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 >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 16, 2015

"Ingenious, lucid and revealing look at the lives of two brilliant men who changed our way of seeing the world."
A fine addition to the burgeoning genre of dual biography of great figures whose lives were related, if often distantly. 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 >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 10, 2015

"An emotion- and action-packed story of the author's tenacious, dogged pursuit of his goals."
The story of one man's ability to rise above his physical disability to achieve his dreams. 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 >
MARK ROTHKO by Annie Cohen-Solal
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 10, 2015

"A sure hit for fans of art history, and readers looking to understand modern art and especially abstraction will find this wonderfully enlightening."
Cohen-Solal's (Leo and His Circle: A Life of Leo Castelli, 2010, etc.) study of Mark Rothko (1903-1970) is notable for her ability to link his strong Jewish ties to his changing, evolving art. Her access to newly available archives enables her comprehensive portrait of the man.Read full book review >
AMERICAN VANDAL by Roy Morris Jr.
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 10, 2015

"A brisk narrative and sensitive insights make this book a delight."
The story of the beloved American novelist's nearly 12 years abroad. 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 >