Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

THE BORN FREES by Kimberly Burge
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 3, 2015

"An affecting portrait of post-apartheid South Africa, particularly useful for writing instructors serving at-risk constituencies."
Journalist Burge recounts a sojourn in a township outside Cape Town working with a writing group called Amazw'Entombi, or "Voices of the Girls."Read full book review >
DYLAN GOES ELECTRIC! by Elijah Wald
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 25, 2015

"An enjoyable slice of 20th-century music journalism almost certain to provide something for most readers, no matter one's personal feelings about Dylan's music or persona."
Music journalist and musician Wald (Talking 'Bout Your Mama: The Dozens, Snaps, and the Deep Roots of Rap, 2014, etc.) focuses on one evening in music history to explain the evolution of contemporary music, especially folk, blues, and rock.Read full book review >

BEHIND THE CURTAIN by Jeffrey E. Sterling
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 24, 2015

"Accessible and often amusing medical anecdotes."
Drawing on over 20 years of experience in emergency medicine, debut author Sterling presents alternately humorous and sobering stories of the "controlled chaos" of a hospital emergency room. Read full book review >
A THOUSAND MILES TO FREEDOM by Eunsun Kim
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 21, 2015

"An urgent cry for compassion for the author's fellow North Koreans, trapped and strangled of liberty and life."
A sobering account of survival of the fittest in North Korea by a young woman on the run for nearly a decade. Read full book review >
OUR MAN IN CHARLESTON by Christopher Dickey
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 21, 2015

"A great book explaining the workings of what Dickey calls an erratic, cobbled-together coalition of ferociously independent states. It should be in the library of any student of diplomacy, as well as Civil War buffs."
In this biography of Robert Bunch, the British consul in Charleston, South Carolina, at the beginning of the Civil War, Daily Beast foreign editor Dickey (Securing the City: Inside America's Best Counterterror Force—The NYPD, 2010, etc.) illustrates how an outside observer can understand more about a situation than the parties involved.Read full book review >

BARBARIAN DAYS by William Finnegan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 21, 2015

"A lyrical and intense memoir."
An award-winning staff writer for the New Yorker offers a probing account of his lifetime passion for surfing.Read full book review >
ONE MAN AGAINST THE WORLD by Tim Weiner
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 21, 2015

"That project continues, of course, in different hands all these years after Nixon's coverup of a coverup. No one who reads this incisive book will be nostalgic for Nixon, no matter how disastrous his successors."
Sobering, eye-opening study of Richard Nixon's booze-soaked, paranoid White House years and the endless tragedies they wrought. Read full book review >
The Bullied Anthology: Stories of Success  by Bhavya  Kaushik
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 15, 2015

"A worthwhile resource for counselors, teachers, and others who work with children."
A collection of personal experiences with bullies sends a positive message to kids going through the same ordeal. Read full book review >
ANCHOR AND FLARES by Kate Braestrup
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 14, 2015

"Braestrup delivers another appealing, tenderhearted memoir braiding faith and family."
An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister comes to terms with a son joining the Marines. Read full book review >
DRIVING HUNGRY by Layne Mosler
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 14, 2015

"Mosler's lively and accessible writing style joyfully captures the satisfaction gained by trusting your instincts and seeking out new places, food, and people."
Building on the success of her blog, Taxi Gourmet, Mosler recounts the story of her transcontinental search for a vocation, which propelled the author into dancing in tango clubs in Buenos Aires, becoming a cab driver in New York City, and falling in love with the city of Berlin. Read full book review >
GENGHIS KHAN by Frank McLynn
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 14, 2015

"Thoroughly researched, grim, grisly, and sometimes even grudgingly admiring."
A prolific historian, biographer, and journalist returns with a sanguinary and thorough account of "the greatest conqueror the world has ever known." Read full book review >
THE REBEL OF RANGOON by Delphine Schrank
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 14, 2015

"A remarkable chronicle of a multigenerational struggle in Burma bringing about important change."
A dogged journalist penetrates the deeply secretive dissident underground in Burma's police state in this compelling look into a traumatized society in flux. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sabaa Tahir
August 4, 2015

Sabaa Tahir’s novel An Ember in the Ashes reveals a world inspired by ancient Rome and defined by brutality. Seventeen-year-old Laia has grown up with one rule for survival: Never challenge the Empire. But when Laia’s brother Darin is arrested for treason, she leaves behind everything she knows, risking her life to try and save him. She enlists help from the rebels whose extensive underground network may lead to Darin. Their help comes with a price, though. Laia must infiltrate the Empire’s greatest military academy as a spy. Elias is the Empire’s finest soldier—and its most unwilling one. Thrown together by chance and united by their hatred of the Empire, Laia and Elias will soon discover that their fates are intertwined—and that their choices may change the destiny of the entire Empire. We talk to An Ember in the Ashes author Sabaa Tahir this week on Kirkus TV. View video >