Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

THE DAEMON KNOWS by Harold Bloom
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 12, 2015

"As always, Bloom conveys the intimate, urgent, compelling sense of why it matters that we read these canonical authors."
Elegiac, gracious literary ponderings that group and compare 12 giants of American literature. Read full book review >
SHAKESPEARE AND THE COUNTESS by Chris Laoutaris
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 15, 2015

"Intrepid research translates into a sometimes-intriguing narrative stuffed with mystifying detail."
The dense story of the 1596 endeavor by a powerful, litigious countess to block the opening of Shakespeare's Blackfriars Theatre in London. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 9, 2015

"Intriguing but lacking the salacious detail and hard evidence necessary for true fascination."
An attempt to introduce the world to a female spy far more successful than Mata Hari and just as captivating. Read full book review >
AARON HENRY OF MISSISSIPPI by Minion K.C. Morrison
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 5, 2015

"A sometimes slow-moving but mostly enlightening book about a fearless man that readers should know better."
Morrison (Political Science and Public Administration/Mississippi State Univ.; African Americans and Political Participation: A Reference Handbook, 2003) brings our belated attention to Aaron Henry (1922-1997), a man of immense talent devoted to establishing an integrated society.Read full book review >
ON THE MOVE by Oliver Sacks
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 1, 2015

"Despite impressionistic chronology, which occasionally causes confusion and repetition, this is an engaging memoir by a consummate storyteller."
The prolific physician's adventure-filled life. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2015

"Schneiderhan leaves it to us to continue the journey these two began. His work, like theirs, is inspiring."
Schneiderhan's (Sociology/Univ. of Toronto) biographical comparison of Jane Addams (1860-1935) and Barack Obama illustrates how little has changed regarding the difficulties of community building. 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 >
90 CHURCH by Dean Unkefer
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 2, 2015

"Though entertainingly readable in a grimy sort of way, this is more a tangle of sex, violence, and betrayal than a serious true-crime narrative about this little-discussed era."
A grim, fevered memoir of pre-Drug Enforcement Administration anti-drug warriors raising havoc in New York City. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2015

"A dense but accessible discussion of the metaphysical role of time in human affairs."
In 1922, at a meeting of the French Society of Philosophy, Henri Bergson (1859-1941), "one of the most respected philosophers of his era," expressed unhappiness with Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, which discarded the concept of absolute time and denied the reality of simultaneity. Present in the audience, Einstein disagreed. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 26, 2015

"Certain to be a successful fundraiser, this somewhat rambling account is jampacked with convincing details of the author's experiences and portraits of people he admires."
The founder and director of Mary's Meals tells how that charity began and how it has grown into an organization that feeds hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren in countries around the world. Read full book review >
TWISTED by Bert Ashe
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 9, 2015

"Sometimes hair is just hair, though the dreadlocked professor rarely leaves it at that."
Much ado about dreadlocks. Read full book review >
BELIEVER by David Axelrod
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 10, 2015

"Obama has been profiled many times but seldom with so practical an outlook. An excellent view of politics from the inside."
Longtime political adviser Axelrod, late of the White House, tells most of what he's seen in the cloakroom. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Gabrielle Zevin
March 3, 2015

A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over—and see everything anew. “Zevin writes characters who grow and prosper,” our reviewer writes, “in a narrative that is sometimes sentimental, sometimes funny, sometimes true to life and always entertaining.” View video >