An unusual story of a life lived among a galaxy of stars, told with enough insight and intelligence that even those who...

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LUCK AND CIRCUMSTANCE

A COMING OF AGE IN HOLLYWOOD, NEW YORK, AND POINTS BEYOND

A famous director recalls his boyhood and working life as the son of the beautiful Warner Brother’s movie star Geraldine Fitzgerald.

At age 15, Lindsay-Hogg knew exactly what he wanted out of life. Following his first stint in the theater in 1956, when he spoke one line in The Taming of the Shrew, he set his sights on a career in theater, film and television. After querying his mother on possible stage names, she casually mentioned how some people thought Orson Welles was his real father. His mother denied it, but just enough to create a mysterious script for the author’s life. True to his dream, the author forged a career in the entertainment world where recurring hints of his connection to Welles resurfaced at odd times during his life. In the ’60s, he directed a British rock ’n’ roll show and developed an unusual technique for filming the bands. He went on to work with many of the greats, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Supremes. Lindsay-Hogg began working for BBC television during the ’70s, “working with the stars of the time on dramas written by equally stellar playwrights.” The author’s story is a riveting insider look at popular culture, from his boyhood in Santa Monica, while his mother was under contract to Warner Brothers, through his direction of The Normal Heart in 1985. Lindsay-Hogg’s descriptive vignettes reveal tasty tidbits about the famous musicians, actors and cultural icons of the time.

An unusual story of a life lived among a galaxy of stars, told with enough insight and intelligence that even those who dismiss celebrity memoirs should enjoy this jaunt through the glitz.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-59468-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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

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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

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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

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