Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 8, 2016

"Fascinating to dip into casually and essential to students of the Kennedy administration, the Cold War, and late-20th-century world history."
Three months, 1,700 pages. But what months they were: a season in the midterm administration of John F. Kennedy marked by faltering polls, the aftermath of near nuclear war, and one crisis after another. Read full book review >
THE ICEBERG by Marion Coutts
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A poetic and moving chronicle of loss."
A debut memoir about losing a husband to cancer. Read full book review >

THE MOST WANTED MAN IN CHINA by Fang Lizhi
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A wonderfully crafted memoir, shimmering with intellectual honesty."
A dissident astrophysicist who died in 2012 offers rare, revealing glimpses inside the opaque Chinese communist system. Read full book review >
EXIT RIGHT by Daniel Oppenheimer
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Whether his subjects are viewed as champions or apostates, Oppenheimer's insightful narrative should inspire some soul-searching among political believers of every stripe."
"A political identity is always a negotiation, between what it demands and who we are," asserts freelance journalist Oppenheimer as he explores "the negotiation of specific left-wing identities…and how those negotiations fell apart." Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A fresh look at Eleanor Roosevelt and a fascinating exploration of a cherished, mutually beneficial friendship."
A significant new exploration of the enormously important friendship between two activist crusaders in advancing the cause of civil rights for blacks and women. Read full book review >

NATIVE by Sayed Kashua
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A wickedly ironic but humane collection."
A journalist and novelist's sharp-eyed take on his life as a Hebrew-speaking Palestinian in Jerusalem. Read full book review >
BLOOD BROTHERS by Randy Roberts
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"A page-turning tale from the 1960s about politics and sports and two proud, extraordinary men whose legacies endure."
How Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali and then an enemy of his mentor and friend Malcolm X. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Fascinating reading about a significant artistic figure and his legacy."
A documentary producer's memoir of the unexpected lessons he learned from a church caretaker about faith, the human condition, and the Italian painter Caravaggio. Read full book review >
LIVING ON PAPER by Iris Murdoch
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2016

"An impressively edited, sharply revealing life in letters."
An intimate view of the prolific British novelist and philosopher. Read full book review >
POSTCARDS FROM STANLAND by David H. Mould
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 1, 2016

"As a genial travel guide, Mould, an academic who doesn't write like an academic, shows how one should resist the temptations to stereotype a culture too easily and understand it too quickly."
An illuminating travelogue through Central Asia. Read full book review >
25 WOMEN by Dave Hickey
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 28, 2016

"Some readers will find cause for disagreement, but these fun-to-read essays delight, intrigue, and, most of all, educate."
Idiosyncratic assessments of contemporary women painters, sculptors, and installation and performance artists by an enfant terrible of art criticism.Read full book review >
OSTEND by Volker Weidermann
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 26, 2016

"Evocative, sharply drawn portraits and a wry, knowing narrative voice make for an engrossing history."
A summer of sun for despondent exiles. 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 >