A straightforward, fast-paced read about two American originals.

The story of an unlikely partnership between a president and civil rights leader.

Fox News host Kilmeade, author of a variety of books about American history, describes fascinating similarities and contrasts between Booker T. Washington and Theodore Roosevelt and their roles in advancing civil rights for Black Americans from their respective positions of prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The author narrates their stories in parallel, volleying back and forth between Roosevelt, asthmatic son of a wealthy aristocrat who remade his body to match his mind and rose to the heights of American politics; and Washington, born enslaved, who employed his formidable ambition and ingenuity to found Tuskegee Institute and become a respected orator. Kilmeade tracks Roosevelt's audaciousness at various positions in New York State and federal government and Washington's nimbly prudent manner in balancing the advancement of Black Americans with the entrenched mores of the South, eventually leading to a collaboration between the two. While the book is full of useful information, capably framing the times in which Washington and Roosevelt operated and frankly assessing each man's shortcomings, Kilmeade's prose is saccharine and overly colloquial. Readers searching for a more scholarly approach to—and deeper analysis of—the lives and times of the primary subjects can easily find both elsewhere. This book may be considered a primer for learning the fundamentals about both Washington and Roosevelt; this “story of triumph and tragedy, of cooperation and disagreement,” embodies the phrase accessible history. Yet in this age of general historical ignorance, apathy, and slander, accessible history is better than internet rabbit holes and rampant disinformation. Kilmeade reintroduces readers to the unique and fruitful relationship between these titans of American history and their efforts to bring justice and equality to the republic.

A straightforward, fast-paced read about two American originals.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780593543825

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Sentinel

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2023


Spears’ vulnerability shines through as she describes her painful journey from vulnerable girl to empowered woman.

A heartfelt memoir from the pop superstar.

Spears grew up with an alcoholic father, an exacting mother, and a fear of disappointing them both. She also displayed a natural talent for singing and dancing and a strong work ethic. Spears is grateful for the adult professionals who helped her get her start, but the same can’t be said of her peers. When she met Justin Timberlake, also a Mouseketeer on the Disney Channel’s updated Mickey Mouse Club, the two formed an instant bond. Spears describes her teenage feelings for Timberlake as “so in love with him it was pathetic,” and she’s clearly angry about the rumors and breakup that followed. This tumultuous period haunted her for years. Out of many candidates for villains of the book, Timberlake included, perhaps the worst are the careless journalists of the late 1990s and early 2000s, who indulged Timberlake while vilifying Spears. The cycle repeated for years, taking its toll on her mental health. Spears gave birth to sons Sean Preston and Jayden James within two years, and she describes the difficulties they all faced living in the spotlight. The author writes passionately about how custody of her boys and visits with them were held over her head, and she recounts how they were used to coerce her to make decisions that weren’t always in her best interest. As many readers know, conservancy followed, and for 13 years, she toured, held a residency in Las Vegas, and performed—all while supposedly unable to take care of herself, an irony not lost on her. Overall, the book is cathartic, though readers who followed her 2021 trial won’t find many revelations, and many of the other newsworthy items have been widely covered in the run-up to the book’s release.

Spears’ vulnerability shines through as she describes her painful journey from vulnerable girl to empowered woman.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781668009048

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023


What a talent, what a career, what a life, and what a treat to relive it all with this most down-to-earth of demigods.

A gloriously massive memoir from a sui generis star.

When Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen published 500-page memoirs, that seemed long—but as we learned, they really did have that much to say. Streisand doubles the ante with 1,000 pages. In addition to chronicling her own life, the author offers fascinating lessons on acting, directing, film editing, sound mixing, lighting, and more, as revealed in detailed accounts of the making of each of her projects. As Stephen Sondheim commented about her, “It’s not just the gift, it’s the willingness to take infinite pains.” The pains really pay off. With every phase of her life, from childhood in Brooklyn to her 27-year-romance with current husband, James Brolin, Streisand throws everything she has—including her mother’s scrapbook and her own considerable talent as a writer—into developing the characters, settings, conversations, meals, clothes, and favorite colors and numbers of a passionately lived existence. In the process, she puts her unique stamp on coffee ice cream, egg rolls, dusty rose, pewter gray, the number 24, Donna Karan, Modigliani, and much more. Among the heroes are her father, who died when she was very young but nevertheless became an ongoing inspiration. The villains include her mother, whose coldness and jealousy were just as consistent. An armada of ex-boyfriends, colleagues, and collaborators come to life in a tone that captures the feel of Streisand’s spoken voice by way of Yiddishisms, parenthetical asides, and snappy second thoughts. The end is a little heavy on tributes, but you wouldn’t want to miss the dog cloning, the generous photo section, or this line, delivered in all seriousness: “Looking back, I feel as if I didn't fulfill my potential.”

What a talent, what a career, what a life, and what a treat to relive it all with this most down-to-earth of demigods.

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780525429524

Page Count: 992

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

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