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Biography & autobiography

The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics

Hickenlooper draws an analogy between brewing and politics (the activist as yeast, the political leader as brewer), but however apt that metaphor, it’s difficult to imagine a more unusual preparation for public life than the one ably recounted here.

Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea

A trademark of Teffi’s writing had always been her ability to describe the absurd as though it were the ordinary.

Beer Money

“Beer Money” sidesteps a comprehensive account of business mismanagement in favor of intimate family vignettes.

White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World

It is only toward the end of “White Sands” that you are reminded, with a terrific jolt, of why impermanence and decay are of special urgency to Mr. Dyer at this particular moment.

Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent's Expectations

“Love That Boy” is full of feeling, but refreshingly free of the self-pitying histrionics, dehumanizing stereotypes of disability and eagerness to embrace quack cures that typified a generation of books like Jenny McCarthy’s “Louder Than Words.”

The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones

While the book is stuffed with insights like that, too often Cohen explains how he visited a site of interest or interviewed someone who was once close to the Stones, only to toss away what he found there. Like Richards, he’d much rather just riff.

Beer Money

How does a family dynasty die? In her image-rich memoir, “Beer Money,” Frances Stroh asks the question with heroic honesty, from the inside.

Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power

Despite Landler’s contention that Clinton and Obama exemplify a grand debate, his book inadvertently suggests that the surprising thing isn’t that they had occasional disputes. It’s that they worked together as well as they did.

Beer Money

Beer Money reflects a quite honest, non-self-indulgent telling of the facts of the author’s family life.

The Bridge Ladies

Because Lerner's focus is wider and because her mother, Roz, is still very much alive and "with it," this memoir is messier, more open-ended than its predecessors.

Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier's Story

The observation is reminiscent of one of Tim O’Brien’s saddest aphorisms about combat from “The Things They Carried”: “In the end, really, there’s nothing much to say about a true war story, except maybe ‘Oh.’”

Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams

Louisa Catherine’s long years of living in the shadow of her husband’s career choices and of the Adams dynasty diminished her own image.

My Father, the Pornographer: A Memoir

It’s a fascinating story, written by a truly gifted author—one that didn’t fall too far from the family tree.

Heart of Glass: A Memoir

Is it too neat? Is it rushed? Is it strange that a celebrity, already inhabiting a persona, decides to use a fairy tale as the device that knits her book together? Hard to say.

The Lady with the Borzoi

The Lady with the Borzoi leaves readers with a strong impression of Blanche Knopf as a breath of fresh (if sometimes baffling) air for most who encountered her.

"Most Blessed of the Patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination

An elegant, astute study that is both readable and thematically rich.

Lust & Wonder

I’m happy to see Augusten Burroughs happy. It took 40-some years for him to finally catch a break. And his fans will cheer this, too.

Alligator Candy: A Memoir

The book strains, at times, to extrapolate broader lessons from what happened. It needn’t; the study of a family in extremis is enough.

The Finest Traditions of My Calling: One Physician's Search for the Renewal of Medicine

He writes beautifully, in a lucid prose as notable for its process as its conclusions: The reader can actually watch him think.