A biography at once serious and entertaining, sensitive and critical: an unfailing joy to read.

READ REVIEW

YEHUDI MENUHIN

A LIFE

A sensitive treatment of one of the best-loved musicians of a generation.

Burton (Leonard Bernstein, 1994) offers a readable, comprehensive examination of Menuhin’s path from child prodigy to international musical diplomat, drawing on the wealth of extant biographical material, press clippings, and statements issued by the artist himself to paint a dispassionate portrait of one of the most multifaceted and accomplished public figures of his century. Here, Menuhin is portrayed first as a music-loving, socially conscious child controlled by a manipulative mother and an ambitious father, and later as a philanthropic polymath, a lover of yoga and Indian music, a stubborn egalitarian as comfortable taking on the politics of the New York Philharmonic as the Soviet government. Still later he appearsas an impresario, conductor, the founder of a school, and a UNESCO diplomat. Burton’s rendering of Menuhin is bright, insightful, and at times enchantingly funny—as when the three Menuhin children play to a disbelieving would-be piano coach, who remarks in wonder, “Madame Menuhin’s womb is a veritable conservatoire.” He also demonstrates a deep respect for his subject, honoring what he describes as Menuhin’s good-natured acceptance of criticism by citing almost as many negative reviews of his work as positive, though one must assume that in actual fact the latter far outweighed the former. The only significant shortcoming of this otherwise delightful work is the absence of detail with regard to Menuhin’s personal relationships. There is little discussion of his four children or his younger sister, and as far as Menuhin’s two marriages are concerned, Burton supplies only the roughest of sketches. Nevertheless, the absence leaves the reader wanting to know more about Menuhin, not less. With each chapter, Burton does his readers a great service by providing recommendations for recordings to augment the reading experience.

A biography at once serious and entertaining, sensitive and critical: an unfailing joy to read.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2001

ISBN: 1-55553-465-1

Page Count: 544

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 11

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

Did you like this book?

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

more