Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

Who Am I? by Megan Cyrulewski
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 17, 2014

"While providing some insights into mental illness and abuse, this work becomes too mired in the maneuvers of a father to engage a broad readership."
A debut memoir offers a straightforward account of an emotionally abusive marriage. Read full book review >
BIRTH OF A DREAM WEAVER by Ngugi wa Thiong’o
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"A writer's coming-of-age tale featuring an artistic mix of pride and humility."
The celebrated African novelist, playwright, and activist, born in Kenya in 1938, revisits the early experiences that convinced him he was a writer. Read full book review >

The Bucket List Chronicle by Dr. U
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: July 15, 2016

"A charming and amusing account of one man's fresh experiences."
A debut memoir documents a year of new adventures. Read full book review >
Office Hours by H.N. Hirsch
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Jan. 4, 2016

"A well-crafted, wistful memoir of life in higher education.
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Hirsch (The Enigma of Felix Frankfurter, 2014 etc.) discusses his long career in the shifting culture of academia in this debut memoir.Read full book review >
Baby Steps by John Rollo
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 13, 2016

"Rollo spins a truly nightmarish medical ordeal into a life-affirming exercise in resilience, optimism, and eternal gratitude."
An inspired, epistolary debut memoir chronicling an amputee's months of rehabilitation and recovery. Read full book review >

PRESTO! by Penn Jillette
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 2, 2016

"A sometimes-funny book that should be taken with a tablespoon of salt."
The acclaimed, outspoken magician delivers a "book about extreme personal lifestyle changes, written by a…juggler whose only higher education was Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College." Read full book review >
Memories from a War by Aloysius Pappert
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: May 22, 2016

"An arresting and unusual portal into the mind of a fighter in the Nazi forces."
A debut memoir chronicles a German soldier's travails during World War II. Read full book review >
DIE YOUNG WITH ME by Rob Rufus
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 20, 2016

"By refusing to abandon hope, easy though it would have been to do so, Rufus' memoir makes a valuable contribution to the literature of healing and recovery. It's a good piece of rock writing, too, with 'one hell of a soundtrack.'"
Buy a drum kit. Buy a guitar. Get cancer. It's not the usual rock 'n' roll trajectory. Read full book review >
PLEASE ENJOY YOUR HAPPINESS by Paul Brinkley-Rogers
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 2016

"As startling and memorable as fiction and ripe for film adaptation."
A rare and beautiful love story between a British-American "sailor boy" and a cultured, older Japanese woman who had lived through the World War II years. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"Levy's spirited history is nothing less than a love letter to Rome's luxurious, sensational past."
A cultural history reveals an effervescent decade of riches in postwar Rome. Read full book review >
STALIN'S ENGLISHMAN by Andrew Lownie
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

"A crack biography of a man who was a preposterous enigma."
A biography of "the most complex and enigmatic of the Cambridge Spies," a group of men recruited during the 1930s to spy for the Soviet Union. Read full book review >
GRAND HOTEL ABYSS by Stuart Jeffries
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 6, 2016

"A rich, intellectually meaty history."
Life inside the 20th-century's reigning citadel of pessimism, as told through the lives and (often conflicting) philosophies of its key thinkers. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Nancy Isenberg
author of WHITE TRASH
July 19, 2016

Poor Americans have existed from the time of the earliest British colonial settlement. They were alternately known as “waste people,” “offals,” “rubbish,” “lazy lubbers,” and “crackers.” By the 1850s, the downtrodden included so-called “clay eaters” and “sandhillers,” known for prematurely aged children distinguished by their yellowish skin, ragged clothing, and listless minds. Surveying political rhetoric and policy, popular literature and scientific theories over 400 years, in White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America, Nancy Isenberg upends assumptions about America’s supposedly class-free society––where liberty and hard work were meant to ensure real social mobility. Poor whites were central to the rise of the Republican Party in the early nineteenth century, and the Civil War itself was fought over class issues nearly as much as it was fought over slavery. “A riveting thesis supported by staggering research,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >