An affecting tale showing that you can go back home again.




A meditative memoir of a son, 60, and father, 95, bonding over college football.

As a strategist for the 2012 Mitt Romney campaign, veteran political consultant Stevens (The Big Enchilada: Campaign Adventures with the Cockeyed Optimists from Texas Who Won the Biggest Prize in Politics, 2001, etc.) felt so devastated by Romney’s loss that he had no idea what he might do next. “When was the last time I’d been really happy?” he asked himself. “What was it I really cared about in life?” Family and football, it turns out, would provide the key, allowing the man for whom the fall had become campaign season to revisit the boyhood when Saturday games with his father had been the highlights of his life. The result is an elliptical, evocative narrative that has ambitions beyond his scope, as the author’s accounts of the actual games with his spry and beloved father are just signposts in his story. It’s when he digs deeper into memory—about the civil rights clashes when he was coming of age with Ole Miss football and how his parents provided such a sterling example for racial equality—that this book about Saturdays with Dad is more than another stop-and-smell-the-roses, Tuesdays with Morrie–esque heart-tugger. Stevens explores his “complicated relationship with my Mississippi identity” and his ambivalence toward the racial privilege that allowed him to achieve his ambitions and toward those whose identity in the North was that of “ ‘professional southerners,’ those living in New York who tried to define themselves by some pretense that they came from a more genteel and cultured world.” What has remained undiminished is his love for football, for his father (and his mother, even with her Barack Obama bumper sticker), and for the time they have left together to enjoy the Ole Miss football experience that defined his boyhood.

An affecting tale showing that you can go back home again.

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-35302-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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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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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...


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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