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Biography & autobiography

Bulletproof Vest

Told in sparse, Spanish-infused prose, Bulletproof Vest mythologises a family history that is – for the most part – compelling and impactful.


Ukraine Diaries

In this way, Ukraine’s recent history is made all the more human and real.


Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

“Working Stiff” is not a groundbreaking book: It joins a long list of memoirs by Melinek’s colleagues. But it’s fun, sentimental where appropriate and full of smart science. Fans of CSI — the real kind — will want to read it.


The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce's Ulysses

So many of Birmingham’s close readings are judicious that these infelicitous moments are as jolting as moving from one episode to another in “Ulysses” can be.


The Other Side: A Memoir

“The Other Side” is not only about the desire to understand what is ultimately incomprehensible, but also about the messy, complicated work of translating personal experience for public audiences.


Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War

“Soldier Girls” raises important questions about how men and women serve together and the differences in how they experience war, enabling us to see the subtle challenges female soldiers face — the hardships that don’t make easy headlines.


Blue-Eyed Boy: A Memoir

At its core “Blue-Eyed Boy” is the story of a man who fought, fought like hell — first for survival, then for a life.


Bulletproof Vest

Through the lives of José and Pascuala, we come to understand the stark choices that brought them here, and how such people help to renew this country's spirit of tolerance, perseverance and audacity.


Take This Man: A Memoir

“Take This Man” doesn’t tell a story of change. It speaks of a failure to change. Readers who believe in the healing power of self-awareness may be in for a shock.


Reagan at Reykjavik

What really animates “Reagan at Reykjavik” is a desire to explain how the gathering could be so significant despite the fact that Adelman and many of his colleagues found their boss’s key declarations there somewhere between inane and insane.


Becoming Freud: The Making of a Psychoanalyst

The repetitions provide texture; texture provides clarity; clarity appreciation. Phillips’s own love of the beauty and power of psychoanalysis here serves both him and the reader wonderfully well.


Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War

The book is a solid chunk of American history — detailing the culture’s failings, resilience and progress.


Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Marsh guides his narrative with a steady hand, although at times his indictment of German liberalism is searing.


Bulletproof Vest

“Bulletproof Vest” is ultimately a fitting tribute to Venegas’s father, remarkable for the courage it shows in not idealizing him.


Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War

She gives us a dynamic understanding of what it’s been like for Guard members who unexpectedly found themselves shipped off to the front lines of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, their lives and plans disrupted, their families thrown into disarray.


Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War

Thorpe avoids editorializing, but she subtly constructs a body of often-incriminating evidence around hot-button topics such as gender discrimination and sexual assault in the military and American intervention.


Timeless

By writing this affecting book, however, Lucinda Franks has made their love story permanent.


Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family

Take This Man: A Memoir

Written like a movie — at times, a dark comedy; at others, a drama — the story is deeply personal and rich in detail. Such a masterful package could only be the product of a meticulous and careful writer.