Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

Assessing The JFK Assessments

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

9780316370714   9781410452962   9780316907927

The 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination is bringing dozens of books, as we have been noting. In the upcoming Oct. 27th  New York Times Sunday Book Review, Jill Abramson, the newspaper’s Executive Editor, assesses the many books that have been published over the years, saying,

The true mystery in Kennedy’s case is why, 50 years after his death, highly accomplished writers seem unable to fix him on the page … Other presidents, good and bad, have been served well by biographers and historians … Kennedy, the odd man out, still seeks his true biographer.

Abramson celebrates one of the earliest, now back in print:

… the Kennedy family, which controlled publication rights to [William Manchester's] The Death of a President, allowed it to go out of print, and for a number of years copies could be found only online or at rummage sales. The good news, maybe the best, of the 50th anniversary is that Little, Brown has now reissued paperback and e-book editions. [Note: HarperPerennial brought an edition back into print in 2009, the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's election].

She also provides a sidebar sampler of her favorites, few of them newer titles (in the longer piece, she is unimpressed with the recent crop of books and is particularly scornful of Bill O’Reilly, who she says “has milked the Kennedy assassination with unique efficiency”). She calls An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, by Robert Dallek. (Hachette/Little, Brown, 2003; Hachette Audio), “one of the best of the full biographies.”

In a separate piece, Jacob Heilbrunn is kinder to several of the newer titles (he doesn’t mention any of O’Reilly’s).

Twain, Part Deux

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

The release of the second volume of a book that was an unexpected best seller in 2010, the autobiography of Mark Twain, was celebrated on the PBS Newshour.

Mark Twain
Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2  The Complete and Authoritative Edition
Mark Twain, ed. by Benjamin Griffin, and The Mark Twain Project
U. of California Press
October 5, 2013
9780520272781, 0520272781; $45.00 US
Simultaneous Audio: Blackstone

Embargoed Memoir About Steve Jobs

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

The Bite in the Apple Jacket-14.aspxExaminations of the lives of rock star entrepreneurs are in the news this week.

On the heels of  stories about a bio of Jeff Bezos, The New York Post runs an excerpt today of an embargoed  book about another legendary leader, The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life With Steve Jobs by Chrisann Brennan, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s; Tantor Audio), to be published on Oct. 29 (front covers on the left; back on the right).

The author first met Jobs in 1972. They split up after  Brennan became pregnant with Jobs’ daughter in 1977.

How Bezos Got EVERYTHING

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

The Everything StoreMedia attention is focused on Brad Stone’s embargoed title, The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, Brad Stone, (Hachette/ Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print), which arrives today.

The business press, including The Wall Street Journal, is focused on what the book says about Bezos’s management style, while more general magazines are fascinated by the fact that Stone managed to track down Bezos’s biological father.

Stone, senior editor at Bloomsberg Businessweek appeared on NPR yesterday and on CBS This Morning. Opinions of Bezos are divided, and Stone is one of his fans. As a review in The Seattle Times notes, “There clearly are Amazon critics who would love the definitive chronicle of Bezos and the company he built to knock both down a few pegs. This isn’t that book,” and goes on to say, “It’s a deeply reported and deftly written book revealing how Amazon is a reflection of the drive of its founder.”

Reuters headline, portrays it differently, “Why It Pays to Be a Jerk Like Jeff Bezos.”

Below is the video from CBS This Morning:

Did They Or Didn’t They?

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Johnny CarsonThe tabloids are abuzz with a leaked story from an embargoed bio of Johnny Carson written by his longtime lawyer and close friend, Henry Bushkin. Titled simply Johnny Carson, (HMH; Brilliance Audio), the book will be published on Monday

Amazingly, it seems to still matter whether Carson’s second wife had an affair in the early 1970′s with  sportscaster Frank Gifford. His wife, Kathie Lee used some of her time on the Today Show yesterday to deny the story while also saying that when she asked her husband, now 86, he replied, “I don’t remember.” Joanna Carson, now 81, on the other hand, is certain it never happened.

More From SALINGER?

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

9781476744834Several news sources, including today’s New York Times, reveal that an embargoed biography of J.D. Salinger claims there are at least five more books in the author’s vault, and that Salinger left instructions to begin publishing them in 2015.

The assertions are in the 720-page Salinger by David Shields and Shane Salerno (S&S; S&S Audio), which is being published on Sept. 3. A related documentary, also titled Salinger, directed by Salerno, will be released a few days later and will be featured in January on American Masters on PBS.

Speaking for the estate, the author’s son refused to comment for the story.

As a result of the coverage, the book rose on Amazon ales rankings to #156, from #2,614.

Below is the trailer for the documentary, More details on the book are in a story in The Guardian.

LONG WALK TO FREEDOM, First Trailer

Monday, July 15th, 2013

9780316548182A biopic about Nelson Mandela, based on his 1994  memoir, Long Walk to Freedom
will debut in an Oscar-qualifying limited release in the U.S. on November 29.

The first UK teaser trailer is below (it lists UK release date of January).

Idris Elba plays Mandela and Naomie Harris his former wife, Winnie.

Tie-ins:

Long Walk to Freedom : The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Hachette/Back Bay
On Sale Date: October 8, 2013
9780316323543, 0316323543
Trade Paperback; $18.00 US / $20.00 Can.
Hachette Audio
$30.00 US / $33.00 Can.

Chronicle is also releasing a book about the film:
Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedo : The Book of the Film
Nelson Mandela, Keith Bernstein
Chronicle Books
On Sale Date: November 26, 2013
9781452128412, 1452128413
Hardback; $35.00 US

Cory Doctorow Loves THE BOY WHO LOVED MATH

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

The Boy Who Loved MathA picture book that celebrates the joys of math, released  today, is rising on Amazon after Cory Doctorow gave it a rave on Boing Boing. Praising The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman, with illustrations by LeUyen Pham (Roaring Brook) about the eccentric Hungarian math genius, Doctorow says it uses “numbers and mathematics through the text, with lively, fun illustrations of a young Erdős learning about negative numbers, becoming obsessed with prime numbers and leading his high-school chums on a mathematical tour of Budapest.” The ultimate accolade? His five-year-old daughter, “demanded that I read it to her three times in a row,” (spreads are available on the Boing Boing site)

JOBS Opens August 16

Monday, June 24th, 2013

The first trailer for the biopic JOBS, starring Ashton Kutcher was just released. Originally scheduled for April, it is now opening on Aug. 16. In addition to Kutcher as Steve Jobs, it stars Dermot Mulroney (as Mike Markkula, who supplied key funding for Apple’s startup), Josh Gad (Steve Wozniak), and Matthew Modine (John Scully).

Steve Jobs  Featured6

Even though it’s likely to bring renewed attention to Walter Isaacson’s best selling bio, Steve Jobs (S&S), it is not based on it or any other book. At one time there were two Jobs biopics in development. Sony was working on an adaptation of the book, with Aaron Sorkin writing the script. No news has emerged about that project since Sorkin mentioned it briefly in January. Last week, he told Vanity Fair that he is at work on a Broadway play but made no mention of the film.

Isaacson’s book will be released in paperback on Sept. 9, nearly two years after the hardcover. It featured an image of the older Jobs, the paperback uses a photo of him as a young man, looking so much like Kutcher that some might confuse it for a tie-in.

Michael Douglas As Liberace

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

In case you’ve had trouble imagining Michael Douglas as Liberace, below is a glimpse via the first trailer for HBO’s biopic about the entertainer, Behind the Candelabra.

Premiering on HBO on May 26th, it also stars Matt Damon as Liberace’s lover, Scott Thorson. It is based on Thorson’s 1988 memoir, Behind the Candelabra: My Life With Liberace, which is being re-released by Tantor Audio in print, as well as audio and ebook on May 2.

By and About the New Pope

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

LIFE Pope Francis

The new pope is getting the Life pictorial treatment in Pope Francis: The Vicar of Christ, From Saint Peter to Today, (Hachette/Life). A paperback book/magazine edition appears on newsstands this week, with the hardcover releasing on April 16.

A book by the new Pope, previously published in Spanish in 2010, will be released in English on May 7. On Heaven and Earth: Pope Francis on Faith, Family, and the Church in the Twenty-First Century, (RH/Crown/Image Books) is a record of conversations between the then Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Rabbi Abraham Skorka, Rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires. According to the Random House press release, the two religious leaders address “such topics as God, fundamentalism, atheism, the Holocaust, abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, and globalization.”

It will be released simultaneously in print, digital, large print and audio formats. The original Spanish-language version, Sobre el Cielo y la Terra will be published in North America in both trade paperback and eBook by RH/Vintage Espanol.

Also coming from the Image imprint of Random House is a book by Robert Moynihan, the founder of Inside the Vatican magazine, Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, First Pope from the Americas.

UNBROKEN, The Movie

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

UnbrokenAngelina Jolie lands her second role as director (after Blood and Honey) for the adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s long running best seller, Unbroken (Random House, 2010), reports Deadline.com.

Amazingly, a film about Unbroken‘s subject, Louis Zamperini, who survived 47 days on a life raft in the Pacific during WWII, has been in the works for 55 years, long before Hillenbrand began working on her book. Universal bought Zamperini’s “life rights” in the 1950′s, with plans to star Tony Curtis.

The film is supposed to begin production next year.

Zamperini will be 96 years old in January.

Hillenbrand’s earlier book, Seabiscuit, (Random House, 2001), was made into a successful movie.

JUST KIDS, Part Two

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Just KidsPatti Smith announces that she plans to publish a sequel to her best selling memoir and National Book Award winner, Just Kids (Harper/Ecco, 2010).

She tells Billboard that it will cover the same period as the first book, but with a different perspective. Just Kids focused on her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. This one will focus more on her music and her late husband, Fred Smith, the MC 5 guitarist.

No title or release date has been announced.

Heavy Holds Alert: THOMAS JEFFERSON

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham’s new book, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, (Random House, RH Audio and BOT, RH Large Print)  is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings, where it is now at #2, and in the number of holds in libraries.

It has been reviewed widely (in both the daily NYT and the Sunday Book Review, as well as the Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly) and debuted on the 12/2 NYT Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list at #2.

The author appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Patraeus and His Biographer

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Last December, a biography of General David Petraeus, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, by Paula Broadwell (Penguin, Jan. 23) made headlines because the author was regarded as implying that Petraeus nearly quit as the commander of troops in Afghanistan over Obama’s plans for a drawdown.

That inference was quickly denied. Several reports, including Fox News’, noted how adulatory the author was about her subject; “The book unapologetically casts Petraeus in the hero’s role” and Broadwell says “his critics fault him for ambition and self-promotion,” but “his energy, optimism and will to win stand out more for me.”

Jon Stewart speaks for many when he upbraids himself on last night’s show for missing the real story.