Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

A HOUSE IN ST. JOHN'S WOOD by Matthew Spender
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A pointed family memoir from a writer keenly attuned to and reverent of genius."
A frank memoir of Spender's problematic poet father and his emotionally remote pianist mother. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Washington, D.C., regulars may know some of this information, and foreign nations certainly do, but all engaged American citizens should read this book and have their eyes opened."
Former Salon founding editor-in-chief Talbot (Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the City of Love, 2012, etc.) shares his extensive knowledge and intense investigations of American politics with a frightening biography of power, manipulation, and outright treason.Read full book review >

Back To Vietnam by Elaine Head
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: April 15, 2013

"Gracefully transports readers on an odyssey that transcends the exotic locale and legacies of war to focus on the power of human connection."
An intimate travel memoir tracing one veteran's journey from war to reconciliation. Read full book review >
ELIZABETH by Lisa Hilton
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 10, 2015

"Mildly revisionist, well-argued, and thoroughly satisfying."
There is no shortage of biographies of Britain's Elizabeth I (1533-1603), but readers should pay attention to this thoughtful, often ingenious account. Read full book review >
THE NIXON TAPES by Douglas Brinkley
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"Essential for students of late-20th-century American history and the Nixon presidency."
Brinkley and Nichter (The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972, 2014, etc.) conclude their project of publishing highlights from Richard Nixon's infamous tapes with this volume from the last year of recording.Read full book review >

HOW THE WORLD MOVES by Peter Nabokov
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 22, 3015

"The lure of the Land of Enchantment is irresistible, as Nabokov draws us into the simple, cooperative life of the Pueblo Indians and their magnificent territory. A great choice for lovers of the Southwest."
In the story of Edward Proctor Hunt's family, Nabokov (World Arts and Cultures, American Indian Studies/Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Where the Lightning Strikes: The Lives of American Indian Sacred Places, 2006, etc.) reveals the history of the Pueblo Indians.Read full book review >
CLEMENTINE by Sonia Purnell
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A riveting, illuminating life of a remarkable woman."
The biography of Winston Churchill's unfailing champion. Read full book review >
THE WHITE ROAD by Edmund de Waal
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 3, 2015

"De Waal's poetically recounted journey is a revelation, as well: of the power of obsession and the lust for purity."
A lyrical melding of art history, memoir, and philosophical meditation. Read full book review >
1944 by Jay Winik
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 22, 2015

"A complex history rendered with great color and sympathy."
An accomplished popular historian unpacks the last full year of World War II and the excruciatingly difficult decisions facing Franklin Roosevelt. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Superb scholarship and a sprightly style recover an unaccountably overlooked life in our history."
A specialist in African-American history pieces together the remarkable career of an antebellum Wall Street broker who was married to a white woman, ambitious, ruthless, successful, and black: in short, "a racist's nightmare come to life." Read full book review >
EMPIRE OF SELF by Jay Parini
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"A superbly personal biography that pulsates with intelligence, scholarship, and heart."
An intimate but unblinking look at Gore Vidal (1925-2012), the gifted essayist, playwright, novelist, and public personality, who, for a time, seemed ubiquitous in the popular culture. Read full book review >
POPE FRANCIS by Paul Vallely
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"Discovering a pope with a controversial past and a revolutionary style of leadership in the present, Vallely provides a highly worthwhile resource for Catholics and non-Catholics alike."
An exhaustive look at the newest pope. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Sara Paretsky
author of BRUSH BACK
July 28, 2015

No one would accuse V. I. Warshawski of backing down from a fight, but there are a few she’d be happy to avoid. High on that list is tangling with Chicago political bosses. Yet that’s precisely what she ends up doing when she responds to Frank Guzzo’s plea for help in Brush Back, the latest thriller from bestselling author Sara Paretsky. For six stormy weeks back in high school, V.I. thought she was in love with Frank. He broke up with her, she went off to college, he started driving trucks for Bagby Haulage. She forgot about him until the day his mother was convicted of bludgeoning his kid sister, Annie, to death. Stella Guzzo was an angry, uncooperative prisoner and did a full 25 years for her daughter’s murder. Newly released from prison, Stella is looking for exoneration, so Frank asks V.I. for help. “Paretsky, who plots more conscientiously than anyone else in the field, digs deep, then deeper, into past and present until all is revealed,” our reviewer writes. View video >