Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

THE ORDINARY SPACEMAN by Clayton C. Anderson
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2015

"A spaceman delivers an overlong chronicle of his adventures that may prove engaging to ardent space fans."
An astronaut's memoir from "a small-town boy from Nebraska—nothing special, just an ordinary American." Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 13, 2015

"An accessible and expansive look at the development of the atom bomb, but those looking for a deeper understanding of Oppenheimer and Groves should look elsewhere—either Ray Monk's Robert Oppenheimer (2013) or Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin's American Prometheus (2005)."
Former University of Texas vice president Kunetka (Shadow Man, 1988, etc.) follows the long road to the atom bomb.Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 9, 2015

"An eye-opener and an excellent job of reporting and writing. The only drawback will be the dawning realization that as bad as the three stoners were, the government is sanctioning far worse in its zeal for secrecy and deniability."
Or, the gang that couldn't scam straight. Read full book review >
MOLINA by Bengie Molina
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 9, 2015

"A simply told, deeply moving story, quite unlike the usual baseball book."
An affecting memoir about a remarkable man who raised three sons to become baseball champions. Read full book review >
GUMPTION by Nick Offerman
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 26, 2015

"A smart book of straight talk where laughter and logic meet."
An actor's comedic exploration into America's most gumption-exemplifying citizens. Read full book review >

BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 16, 2015

"An intriguing but minor testament to the persistence of old-school military espionage."
The story of a millennial who became an informant for the FBI. Read full book review >
THE PAWNBROKER'S DAUGHTER by Maxine Kumin
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 6, 2015

"Kumin and her husband experienced an idyllic life on their 200-acre horse farm in New Hampshire, 'living a wide-open lifestyle.' Happily, she shared that life with the rest of us through her writing."
A posthumous publication of five essays by former Poet Laureate Kumin (And Short the Seasons: Poems, 2014, etc.), who died in 2014.Read full book review >
MEANWHILE THERE ARE LETTERS by Suzanne Marrs
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 7, 2015

"An intimate, luminous portrait of a friendship."
Tender letters reveal interwoven literary lives. Read full book review >
VENDETTA by James Neff
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 7, 2015

"The sordid, sweeping history of what Kennedy insider Pierre Salinger dubbed 'a blood feud.'"
Seattle Times investigations editor Neff (The Wrong Man: The Final Verdict on the Dr. Sam Sheppard Murder Case, 2001, etc.) turns his attention to the visceral war of wills between Bobby Kennedy and Jimmy Hoffa.Read full book review >
PLAYING SCARED by Sara Solovitch
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 16, 2015

"For those who similarly suffer, and they are legion, the book suggests, the memoir offers comfort and hope."
A debut memoir by a health and medical journalist about the stage fright that forced her to forsake her promise as a musical prodigy. Read full book review >
HUSH NOW, BABY by Angela W. Williams
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: June 1, 2015

"An unabashedly emotional narrative that only occasionally requires readers to bushwhack through thick vines of memory."
An adoring view of a childhood nanny in Pinopolis, South Carolina, that does not disguise the ugly specter of 1950s segregation. Read full book review >
DAISY TURNER'S KIN by Jane C. Beck
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 1, 2015

"A well-excavated biography of a 'custodian of a multigenerational American family saga.'"
A deeply, patiently researched journey into the unusual English-African roots of a long-lived Grafton, Vermont, storyteller. 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 >