Reviews and Blog Posts: biography

Plaza Voices: The Pride of America

Liz Balmaseda, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist and U.S. Citizen from Cuba

Each year on July 4th, the Carnegie Corporation of New York celebrates by honoring a group of distinguished American citizens, taking out a full page add in the New York Times. The people featured are writers, chemists, architects, entrepreneurs, chess masters, actors, astronauts and cellists. They are athletes, politicians, doctors, and engineers. What do all these people have in common, aside from their impressive accomplishments and their status as U.S. citizens?

Empress Dowager Cixi : the concubine who launched modern China

by Jung Chang

Reviewer Rating:
5

After seeing a reference in another book to someone named "Cixi", I couldn't help but look her up, admittedly mostly just to find out how to pronounce such a tricky word (turns out it's Tzu-hsi​), but I was then excited to learn that she was arguably the most influential woman...

I would die 4 u : why Prince became an icon

by 1971- Touré

Reviewer Rating:
3

This unauthorized biography, by journalist turned author, Toure, left me wanting more. At 150 pages, this is a short biography that still managed to be extremely repetitive. Prince is my favorite musical artist, and I thought that this book would be more enjoyable than it actually was. This really wasn't...

Aretha Franklin, the queen of soul

by Mark Bego

Reviewer Rating:
5

I’ve loved Aretha Franklin since I was a kid and first saw her in the movie “The Blues Brothers.” My girlfriends and I made up a dancing/singing routine to the song “Respect”. She is the image of a strong woman who is a survivor and Mark Bego’s biography reinforces it.

Edison and the rise of innovation

by Leonard DeGraaf

Reviewer Rating:
4

Written by Leonard DeGraaf, archivist of the Thomas Edison National Historic Park, this heavily illustrated biography is academic enough to give the reader a good taste of who Edison was and what his amazing accomplishments were. The historic photographs and artifacts help enhance this story. DeGraaf also takes some time...

Bruit et fureur : l'œuvre de Henry Darger = Sound and fury : the art of Henry Darger

by Henry Darger

Reviewer Rating:
5

This book accomplishes a challenging feat, compiling Henry Darger’s daunting amount of work in an approachable book.  The collection of images put together in this book is fascinating and beautifully large on the pages. The book also outlines Henry Darger’s personal history and the evolution of his extensive writing and...

Sherman Alexie

by Liz Sonneborn

Reviewer Rating:
3

Good introduction to the American Contemporary Spokane author. Fast read with lots of interesting photos. Provides a basic biography of his life up to 2013. This book gives a broad overview of Sherman Alexie's work and his achievements. Cites lots of wonderful Sherman Alexie quotes from interviews.

Molly Brown : unraveling the myth

by Kristen Iversen

Reviewer Rating:
5

Broadway and Hollywood have cast "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" as a backwoods New Money socialite, whose Leadville millions couldn't buy her manners. Kristen Iversen's biography of Margaret Tobin Brown (who never went by Molly) busts the myths wide open. Her more legendary incarnation was an illiterate saloon girl. In reality,...

King Peggy

by Peggielene Bartels

Reviewer Rating:
4

King Peggy is an amazing true story.  Peggy was working as a secretary in Washington D.C. when out of the blue she got a phone call telling her that she is the new King of Otuam, her hometown in Ghana.  Her life changes dramatically.  Peggy isn’t just a secretary living...

Yoko Ono : collector of skies

by Nell Beram

Reviewer Rating:
4

John Lennon once described Yoko Ono as "the world's most famous unknown artist”.  Art critic Arthur C. Danto observed, “Her fame made her almost impossible to see.”
Now authors Nell Beram and Carolyn Boriss-Krimsky tell the inspiring story of this often misunderstood artist, musician and filmmaker in their book, Yoko...

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