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Biography & autobiography

Mourning Lincoln
Kirkus Reviews : Mourning Lincoln (February 24, 2015)

A layered, nuanced work demonstrating the mingling of “the cataclysmic with the routine.”

Mr. and Mrs. Disraeli

Despite Benjamin Disraeli's historical prominence, Mary Anne steals the spotlight in this marital biography.

Girl in a Band

The overall tone of Girl in a Band is bittersweet, rather than bitter. The reader's awareness that Gordon's resources of rapture are finite makes her a more sympathetic character as a narrator than wedded bliss would have allowed.

I Left It on the Mountain

Though at times unsettling, “I Left It on the Mountain” is surprisingly moving.

Going into the City

Every now and then you’ll roll your eyes, but if Christgau is your kind of guy, the kind who says he couldn’t settle in LA because there weren’t enough smart women there, it’s a pleasure to let him talk your ear off.

Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano

No quarter or credit is given to either designer for the fact that they both started as disadvantaged, working-class boys whose exceptional minds, technical finesse and sheer, bloody-minded ambition pushed the theatre of fashion far beyond the confines of mere commerce.

Like a Bomb Going Off: Leonid Yakobson and Ballet as Resistance in Soviet Russia

Ms. Ross has written an earnest labor-of-love account of a man who no doubt deserved far more recognition for his courage, innovation and indomitable spirit than he received.

Going into the City

It feels like a missed opportunity to crack open a hothouse milieu, one that’s meant a great deal to American culture high and low.

Believer: My Forty Years in Politics

The crux of the story is Obama, whom Axelrod first encountered as a principled, ambitious and tough-minded young lawyer looking to break into politics.

All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found

Unlike other, neater narratives of being lost and found, Connors’ story—told with harrowing insight and fierce prose—is messy and incomplete and makes no apologies for being anything but.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys.

This brave and beautiful book is successful, indeed triumphant, in exploring failure and the courage it takes to begin again.

Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano

Devoted followers of fashion history will relish Thomas’s sumptuous runway-show descriptions, complete with quotations culled from published fashion criticism of the era.

Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life

I wanted to read all of Hermione Lee’s biographies after reading this one. She’s written about Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton, Elizabeth Bowen and Philip Roth. Also, you get a sense of how important Victorian and Edwardian culture and values were to Penelope Fitzgerald from reading this biography and I wanted to backtrack to read about that.

Girl in a Band

The plot is not quite Medea, but this memoir is a kind of setting ablaze of a life’s work that for Gordon is now inextricable from heartbreak.

The Partnership: Brecht, Weill, Three Women, and Germany on the Brink

The history Katz recounts might be unusually fertile, but it takes skillful writing to make it live.

Why Not Say What Happened: A Sentimental Education

There’s a compelling story in this late-in-life memoir, which is at its best when Dickstein sticks to that story.

Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano
Kirkus Reviews : Gods and Kings (February 10, 2015)

A deep dive into the provocative art of creation and the toll it exacts from those touched by its gifts.

Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln

A focus on Lincoln’s actions rather than just his language reveals a man learning and changing.

Believer: My Forty Years in Politics

Even the throwaway anecdotes in “Believer” are revealing.

So Anyway

If you’re a fan, and again, you know who you are — you ought to read this book.