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Biography & autobiography

Nobody's Child

Nobody's Child is a moving read, at once both the personal story of Adie and her interviewees, and also a damning account of the difficulties foundlings have faced, and still continue to face. It's a book to make you angry, but also one filled with hope.


Not My Father's Son

There is no discounting the visceral punch of Cumming’s father-son face-offs, but one wishes the author had devoted a portion of “Not My Father’s Son” to exploring the roots of his father’s pathology.


My Battle Against Hitler: Faith, Truth, and Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich

Startlingly prescient words from a moral crusader during a perilous time.


The Lost Book of Mormon: A Journey Through the Mythic Lands of Nephi, Zarahemla, and Kansas City, Missouri

A mixed bag. Relating his occasionally amusing adventures in breezy slang, Steinberg seems to be vying for the same audience that has made Broadway's Book of Mormon such a huge hit.


Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson

A satisfying biography though less exhaustive in its approach than Robert Krick's Conquering the Valley (1996) and somewhat less fluent than James Robertson's Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend (1997).


Cinderland: A Memoir

Cinderland is a powerful and captivating memoir, especially for a debut.


Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America

In relating her story, Tirado goes from funny...to angry...in 0.2 seconds. And understandably so, because poverty is downright bleak, requiring the 'stamina of Sisyphus' to keep going.


Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard

John Branch tells the life of Derek Boogaard with smooth and factual precision... Where he really brings depth is in the interwoven examination of the toll the enforcer role takes on players...and he does so without entering into a preachy realm...


The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

This is the defining story of our era, and it’s here told lucidly, thrillingly and – because the bright ideas generally occur to human beings with the quirks, flaws and foibles that accompany overdeveloped intellect – above all, amusingly.


Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America

It offers a tempering reminder of how Johnson’s notorious insecurities and egotism, as well as his misbegotten policy in Vietnam, brought him down.


Dancing Fish and Ammonites: A Memoir

Lively notes the importance of reading. “I can measure out my life in books. They stand along the way like signposts: the moments of absorption and empathy and direction and enlightenment and sheer pleasure.” I found all of these in Dancing Fish and Ammonites.


Boy on Ice: The Life and Death of Derek Boogaard

Thanks in large part to Mr. Branch’s reporting and writing, he has become a potent symbol of the price paid for those moments when fans at the rink invariably stand and cheer, when the announcers can’t hide the excitement in their voices.


Ada's Algorithm: How Lord Byron's Daughter Ada Lovelace Launched the Digital Age

Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars
Kirkus Reviews : Special Deluxe (October 15, 2014)

Both heartfelt and conflicted, Young's passion for cars is tempered by his environmental conviction, a prescient reminder that the Earth is more important than a hobby.


Swimming with Warlords

A somewhat nostalgic, still hopeful look at the residue of American intervention in Afghanistan, from a journalist who knows the terrain.


War Dogs
Kirkus Reviews : War Dogs (October 15, 2014)

Engaging accounts of dogs working in war zones and aiding their handlers despite the imminent dangers.


Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned"

The overall portrait of “Not That Kind of Girl” is actually not of a selfish girl. It’s of a candid, thoughtful woman who considers being female “a sacred joy,” and who, despite her neurosis, simply isn’t as self-centered as the character she plays on TV.


The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour-and the (Ongoing, Imperfect, Complicated) Triumph of Women in TV News
The New York Times : Prime Time (October 10, 2014)

It’s hard to come away from “The News Sorority” feeling anything less than admiration, if not reverence, for Couric, Sawyer and Amanpour.