Biography & Memoir Book Reviews

GEORGE LUCAS by Brian Jay Jones
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"Masterful and engaging: just what Lucas' fans and buffs, who love the nitty-gritty of filmmaking, have been waiting for."
A sweeping, perceptive biography of the influential director. Read full book review >
THE ELEPHANTS IN MY BACKYARD by Rajiv Surendra
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 8, 2016

"One of the more insightful and inspirational of the recent glut of showbiz memoirs."
A young actor loses a great role but finds a wonderful story to share. Read full book review >

THE WARS OF THE ROOSEVELTS by William J. Mann
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"Perhaps best known for his popular film biographies and histories, and thus no stranger to tales of scandal and coverup, feuds and intrigue, Mann writes sympathetically about all the Roosevelts but particularly the black sheep, the nonconformists whose births into this powerful family imposed special burdens."
A compulsively readable account of the decadeslong rivalries, grudges, and battles between and within the Roosevelt families of Oyster Bay and Hyde Park. Read full book review >
THE MAYOR OF MOGADISHU by Andrew Harding
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 29, 2016

"A beautifully rendered narrative and characterization portrays the soul of a country few Westerners truly understand."
A fluid, sympathetic journalistic foray into the tumultuous history of Somalia as lived by an intriguing impresario and activist. Read full book review >
KRAZY by Michael Tisserand
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"Essential reading for comics fans and history buffs, Krazy is a roaring success, providing an indispensable new perspective on turn-of-the-century America."
A revelatory biography of the influential "Krazy Kat" creator George Herriman (1880-1944). Read full book review >

BLACK SQUARE by Sophie Pinkham
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 1, 2016

"First-rate reporting, research, and writing in a debut that will make readers care as much as the author does."
A journalist's first book, a graceful mix of personal memoir and political research, illuminates the complexities of Ukraine culture. Read full book review >
THE MARCHES by Rory Stewart
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 22, 2016

"Another winner from a consistently engaging author."
The author's journey along Hadrian's Wall, which allowed him "to explore and answer questions about Scottish nationalism, Rome, Frontiers, and Empires." Read full book review >
COAST RANGE by Nick Neely
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 8, 2016

"Neely capably explores the complexity of his subjects with polish and finesse, looking carefully and thinking deeply."
A collection of essays that focuses on the interaction between humans and the natural world in and around the Rogue River in Oregon, where the author spent six months doing a writing residency. Read full book review >
MOSES by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Nov. 22, 2016

"A meaty, worthwhile biography by a great interpreter of Jewish texts."
A unique examination of Moses. Read full book review >
A LIFE DISCARDED by Alexander Masters
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 18, 2016

"A lovely, elegant book of interest to historians and biographers as much as to general readers."
An affecting, bittersweet portrait of an anonymous person rescued—if rescued it is—from obscurity quite by accident. Read full book review >
A Pilgrim for Freedom by Michael Novakovic
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 31, 2016

"A remarkable and gripping account of a boy fleeing a war-torn nation and eventually flourishing in America."
As the rumble of World War II draws closer, a young boy leaves behind his once-comfortable life in Split, Yugoslavia, to embark on a turbulent adventure. Read full book review >
Fixed by Doug Piotter
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Aug. 31, 2015

"A smart, occasionally wise, and always entertaining recollection of addiction, crime, punishment, and recovery."
In this raucous debut memoir, an addict hits bottom in spectacular fashion by getting arrested for a string of bank robberies. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Jeff Chang
September 20, 2016

In the provocative essays in journalist Jeff Chang’s new book We Gon’ Be Alright, Chang takes an incisive and wide-ranging look at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. Through deep reporting with key activists and thinkers, personal writing, and cultural criticism, We Gon’ Be Alright links #BlackLivesMatter to #OscarsSoWhite, Ferguson to Washington D.C., the Great Migration to resurgent nativism. Chang explores the rise and fall of the idea of “diversity,” the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing. “He implores readers to listen, act, and become involved with today’s activists, who offer ‘new ways to see our past and our present,’ ” our reviewer writes in a starred review. “A compelling and intellectually thought-provoking exploration of the quagmire of race relations.” View video >