A solid summation of Colbert's work and life to this point.

A serious(ish) look at the popular host of The Colbert Report.

Arguably one of the sharpest satirists of his generation, Stephen Colbert is a walking dichotomy: a sorta-liberal whose fictional persona is super-conservative; a public loudmouth and a private family man; a seeming rabblerouser with an intensely religious upbringing. Most viewers are aware that the persona the comic/actor/pundit/author displays on his show and in his bestselling book I Am America (So Can You!) is an act, so this biography is worthwhile in that it gives us insight into the man behind the mouth. The prolific Rogak (Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King, 2009, etc.) has a healthy appreciation for her subject, and the majority of her sources have nothing but good things to say about Colbert both as a person and a performer; she paints him has the smartest guy in the room, a gentleman you'd want to meet for lunch every day. The author does a nice job of balancing the different parts of his life and work, moving briskly from his religious upbringing, to his stints at Second City and on The Daily Show, to his breakthrough on The Colbert Report. (Some more information about his cult show Strangers With Candy would have been welcome.) Logically enough, the majority of the book is devoted to his Comedy Central hit, and fans of the show will appreciate Rogak's choices in terms of the segments and interviews she focused on.

A solid summation of Colbert's work and life to this point.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-61610-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011


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

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



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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