UNDER A WING

A MEMOIR

Published at almost the same time as A Scott Berg’s materful biography of Lindbergh, a sweetly moving memoir of growing up as the daughter of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The novelist (The Names of the Mountains, 1992, etc.) is the youngest of five Lindbergh children, all born after the tragic kidnapping of the famous couple’s first-born son. Few knew the Lindberghs had such a large family, and that was how the family wanted to keep it. To escape publicity, they moved frequently, finally settling in an old stone house in Connecticut, where Reeve grew up after WWII. Her father traveled habitually, consulting for government and industry, but was a devoted—if domineering—parent when home, exercising “affection and discipline in equal measure, often at the same time.” Her mother was a quieter, less controlling presence; she wished to “heal, soothe, and uplift us.” Although Reeve learned little of her kidnapped brother, eventually she too lost a son when he was not yet two years old. Her mother sat with her by the little boy’s body, and together they mourned the lost babies. After Charles Lindbergh died nearly 25 years ago, Reeve sought him out again in his boyhood home in Little Falls, Minn., now a state park site. She reflected there on how to reconcile public and private images of famous parents, as well as on the man who taught his children that intolerance was “repellent and unspeakable”—yet who himself wrote and uttered anti-Semitic statements. Anne Lindbergh, now in her 90s, suffering from the aftereffects of stroke, often doesn’t recognize her daughter. Reeve writes about her mother’s illness with sorrow, anger, humor, and acceptance. She also remembers her grandmothers, her siblings—especially her sister, who died of cancer five years ago—and pleasant summers in Maine. An eloquent recollection of a happy childhood in a tightly knit family whose parents’ celebrity complicated but did not contort their lives.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 1998

ISBN: 0-684-80770-X

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998

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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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