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Biography & autobiography

41: A Portrait of My Father

George W. Bush has nothing more to prove. His argument at this point is not with his father but with history.

Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life

This book complicates Fitzgerald, messes her up in all the right ways. Best of all, Ms. Lee makes a strong and complex case for her fiction.

A Royal Experiment

Unconvincing as revisionist history but enjoyable for its vivid depiction of several varieties of royal lifestyles—and plenty of royal gossip.

There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me

Shields writes with considerable reflection; she’s done the hard work of making sense of the contradictions in her mother, and now we get the benefit of her sharing what she’s learned.

Not My Father's Son
The Observer : Damian Barr (November 16, 2014)

Cumming recalls all the drama of a childhood spent in fear of paternal rages and beatings but he’s no drama queen and this is not a pity party.

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life

There are times when this book comes across as a little stiff and formal. However, one is left with the impression of Loren as a caring, complex, grounded character, a woman who decided to be a real person, almost in defiance of her great beauty.

Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind

Paper Love paints itself as a love story, a tragedy, and a singular experience of a terrifying period. It is all of those things, but what is most important to remember...is that it is the vestiges of a life, edited by a stranger.

The Sphinx: Franklin Roosevelt, the Isolationists, and the Road to World War II
Kirkus Reviews : The Sphinx (November 10, 2014)

Though presented with a pro-Roosevelt tilt, this is history solidly researched and engagingly written. However, it is well-surveyed territory, and the author brings little genuinely new to the discussion.

Watch Me: A Memoir
Kirkus Reviews : Watch Me (November 17, 2014)

Amid the fluff and the flutter are some true passion and pain.

The Wild Truth

The Wild Truth is an important book on two fronts: It sets the record straight about a story that has touched thousands of readers, and it opens up a conversation about hideous domestic violence hidden behind a mask of prosperity and propriety.

Unstill Life: A Daughter's Memoir of Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction

In today’s era of soaring prices and celebrity artists, Gabrielle Selz reminds us that the makers of transcendent art may not be role models.

Napoleon: A Life

Roberts brilliantly conveys the sheer energy and presence of Napoleon the organizational and military whirlwind who, through crisp and incessant questioning, sized up people and problems and got things done.

Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man

In “Man Alive,” his new autobiography, McBee enlarges the study from a series of vignettes into a full, poetic narrative.

Brian Jones: The Making of the Rolling Stones

Though Mr. Trynka sometimes overstates Jones’s long-term cultural impact, his is revisionist history of the best kind — scrupulously researched and cogently argued — and should be unfailingly interesting to any Stones fan.

A Curious Career

This book has its soft spots. Some of the long profiles she reprints here haven’t aged especially well; her short, witty accounts of these articles are often better than the whole schmear.

Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars

You’ll learn much more about Young’s feel for cars than guitars.

Yes Please

“Yes Please” reminds you of that squeaky fact: Even smart, hilarious people, the ones you wish were your great friends, sometimes can’t write.

Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man

'The world is vicious and beautiful and, to some extent, unexplainable,' writes the author. 'But that doesn't stop us from wanting a story.' This is quite a story, masterfully rendered