Thrilling adventures presented with the flair they deserve.

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A SPLENDID SAVAGE

THE RESTLESS LIFE OF FREDERICK RUSSELL BURNHAM

Freelance journalist Kemper (A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa, 2012, etc.) revives a legendary adventurer, "one of the only people who could turn [his] garrulous…friend Theodore Roosevelt into a listener."

All but forgotten today, at the turn of the last century the exploits of the American scout and prospector Frederick Russell Burnham (1861-1947) were front-page news. Burnham lived a life of astonishing adventure "almost too far-fetched for credibility, as if an old newsreel got mashed up with a Saturday matinee thriller." Often accompanied by his "intrepid wife Blanche, who could charm high society or handle a shotgun, depending on what was needed," Burnham prospected widely in North America and Africa and tracked Apaches in Arizona and Boers in South Africa, where he scouted behind enemy lines over 100 times. He joined the Yukon gold rush and protected President William Howard Taft from an assassin. Kemper portrays Burnham as exemplifying the adventurer's virtues of courage, sacrifice, self-discipline, self-reliance, and physical and mental toughness. He was possibly the best white tracker who ever lived. War correspondent Richard Harding Davis called him "the Sherlock Holmes of all out-of-doors,” and Lord Frederick Roberts, commander of British forces in South Africa, wrote, "any one of Major Burnham's adventures would provide an ordinary man with conversation for the rest of his life." In Kemper's sure and enthusiastic hands, Burnham storms through the pages of this rousing volume, outwitting determined foes and collecting mining and ranching interests on two continents that never seemed to pay off as expected. No two-dimensional action hero, the author deftly shows Burnham in the round as an embodiment of contradictions in his attitudes and actions regarding politics, wealth, nature, and family. Kemper also addresses with honesty and sensitivity attitudes about race and empire that Burnham's activities incidentally served and that he shared to some degree with many public men of the age.

Thrilling adventures presented with the flair they deserve.

Pub Date: Jan. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-393-23927-0

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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