by Fred W. Kennedy ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 16, 2022
This deep-dive celebration of an enterprising executive and company delivers engrossing nuggets of history.
Awards & Accolades
In this biography/memoir, a son shares the life story of his father, focusing on the man’s role as the pioneering leader of the global conglomerate Grace, Kennedy & Co. Ltd., which started in Jamaica in 1922.
In a prologue set in 1976, entitled “Troubled Times,” Luis Fred Kennedy, the author’s father, discusses the just declared state of emergency in Jamaica and how “the company’s future is uncertain.” The account cycles back to trace the Kennedy family’s roots in Jamaica. The author’s great-grandfather William Kennedy was “of mixed heritage, African and Irish, a progeny who became a member of the first-generation, post-Emancipation of free ‘brown’ men born in Jamaica.” In 1922, when W.R. Grace divested its Jamaican subsidiary, William’s son, Fred, founded Grace, Kennedy, a trading company, with a member of the Grace family. Upon Fred’s unexpected death in 1930, his firstborn son, Luis Fred Kennedy, then 21 years old, stepped up to assume management roles in the company. The bulk of the volume is taken up with Luis’ 50-plus years at the company, guiding its growth and dealing with the rise of trade unions; Jamaica’s transition from a colony to an independent nation; and the country’s political turmoil, including the period highlighted in the prologue. Author Kennedy praises his father for his “genuine desire to build wealth for the common good.” This richly detailed book, which is illustrated with family and corporate photographs and other archival materials, is a tribute that may be of most interest to the Kennedy family and business historians. The author lauds Grace, Kennedy, now “a multinational corporation with shareholder equity valued at over J$65 billion,” for having “withstood the test of time—one hundred years of integrity and prosperity.” But he also provides insightful commentary into the various socio-economic issues that arose during the era covered and makes a compelling case for the “social conscience” capitalism that his father (who instituted various worker benefit programs) practiced.This deep-dive celebration of an enterprising executive and company delivers engrossing nuggets of history.
Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2022
Page Count: 496
Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Britney Spears ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 24, 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
Page Count: 288
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: tomorrow
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by Barbra Streisand ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 7, 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
Page Count: 992
Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023
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