Social Sciences Book Reviews (page 623)

LEAVING BIRMINGHAM by Paul Hemphill
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 15, 1993

"A moving record of a painful personal journey toward acceptance of a deeply flawed parent and place. (Sixteen b&w photos)"
Timed for the 30th anniversary of Birmingham's infamous summer of racial violence: a memoir from Birmingham native son Hemphill that's as much about two men—his father and himself—as about the mind-set of a particular city. Read full book review >
THE CALL OF SERVICE by Robert Coles
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 15, 1993

An exceptional blend of observation and reflection, literary report and personal revelation, that once again finds Coles (Psychiatry and Medical Humanities/Harvard; Anna Freud, 1992; etc.) exploring important social concepts—community service and the sources of altruism—with the tenacious moral energy that has characterized his writings for 30 years. Read full book review >

LIAISON by Joyce Wadler
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 15, 1993

"Compelling and faintly bittersweet. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen)"
High-class retelling of the real-life affair behind the mistaken-sex plot of M. Butterfly. Read full book review >
FRENCH LESSONS by Alice Kaplan
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 15, 1993

"The major impression Kaplan gives here is of how very interesting life can be to a French professor, especially at a time when French intellectuals dominate academic critical thought— making this enjoyable reading for Francophiles, perhaps, but not for many others."
``What do students need to know about their teachers?'' asks Kaplan (French Literature/Duke; Reproductions of Banality, 1986, etc.—not reviewed): ``How do I tell them who I am, why I read the way I do?'' Here, the author is thinking of the mysteries of her own teacher, Paul de Man—but her memoir, though artful, hasn't the intellectual force or interest of de Man's writing. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 14, 1993

"The author's call to arms hasn't many specifics, but his conviction and sincerity are relayed with power, and his gentle reflectiveness may well outlast the brassiest battle cry."
Freyfogle (Law/University of Illinois) joins the burgeoning chorus calling for a new land ethic—a new ecovision—before Earth's slow decline reaches the point of no return. Read full book review >

NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 14, 1993

"Disturbing as well as empowering: a blueprint for a social reformation that begins at the beginning, with the intimacy of mother and daughter. (First printing of 75,000)"
A powerful argument for mothers and daughters of any age to reassess their relationships, bury antagonisms, and become allies in revolutionizing how girls grow up. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 13, 1993

"What sourpuss would ask for rigorous honesty besides? (Eight pages b&w, eight pages color photographs- -not seen) (First serial rights to Cosmopolitan and New Woman)"
Up from poverty with ``beautiful, glamorous'' ex-Washington ``social hurricane'' Mosbacher, 45, who here releases her secrets for getting what she wants—including marrying a millionaire (in her case, three); buying and selling businesses at a profit (using her divorce settlements as seed money); and conquering the Washington social scene by raising pots of money for political campaigns. Read full book review >
LIFE FOR ME AIN'T BEEN NO CRYSTAL STAIR by Susan Sheehan
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 13, 1993

"Sheehan offers no solutions here—simply a relentless and dispassionate chronicle of shattered lives and inadequate institutions."
Sheehan (A Missing Plane, 1986, etc.)—best known for her Pulitzer-winning account of a schizophrenic, Is There No Place on Earth For Me?, (1982)—continues documenting lives on society's margins: in this case, those of a 14-year-old and her premature baby who are separately channeled into the N.Y.C. foster-care system. Read full book review >
THE FOUNTAIN OF AGE by Betty Friedan
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 9, 1993

A book that explodes the myths of aging—just as, 30 years ago, Friedan exploded the mirage of the contented housewife. Read full book review >
NEW YORK DAYS by Willie Morris
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 9, 1993

"Morris's pride, hurt and otherwise, is on every page—but disappointingly little of the cautionary tale of literary power that shades his whole story breaks free and takes over, or is allowed to be fascinating. (First printing of 25,000)"
Morris (The Courting of Marcus Dupree, 1983, etc.), Mississippi-born, was barely 30 when, in 1963, he took the helm of Harper's magazine and changed it from a genteel and respectable cultural warhorse into a writer-driven journalistic whiz-bang, publishing Mailer and Halberstam and everyone else who was pushing journalism into more plastic realms. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Sept. 9, 1993

"Overly confessional and, at times, too focused on day-to-day details, but, still—with its appealing, steady warmth and sympathy for human foibles—a lively study of personal growth and cultural exchange."
In 1991, Fein, a documentary producer/screenwriter, traveled to the Southwest to research a TV series on contemporary American Indians. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 8, 1993

"For a blue-blooded bodice-ripping morality tale, this isn't half bad. (Photos—not seen)"
A real-life Beauty and the Beast. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >