5 New Biographies/Memoirs to Watch Out For

the men in my life.jpg
The Men in My Life: A Memoir of Love and Art in 1950s Manhattan 
by Patricia Bosworth (31 Jan 2017)
Acclaimed biographer Patricia Bosworth recalls her emotional coming of age in 1950s New York in this profound and powerful memoir, a story of family, marriage, tragedy, Broadway, and art, featuring a rich cast of well-known literary and theatrical figures from the period.

From Bosworth acclaimed biographer of Montgomery Clift, Diane Arbus, Marlon Brando, and Jane Fonda comes a series of vivid confessions about her remarkable journey into womanhood. This deeply-felt memoir is the story of a woman who defied repressive 1950s conventions while being shaped by the notable men in her life.

Born into privilege in San Francisco as the children of famous attorney Bartley Crum and novelist Gertrude, Patricia and her brother Bart Jr. lead charmed lives until their father s career is ruined when he defends the Hollywood Ten. The family moves to New York, suffering greater tragedy when Bart Jr. kills himself. However, his loving spirit continues to influence Patricia as she fights to succeed as an actress and writer.

Married and divorced from an abusive husband before she s twenty, she joins the famed Actors Studio. She takes classes with Lee Strasberg alongside Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, and others; she works on Broadway opposite Paul Muni, Helen Hayes, and Elaine Stritch; Gore Vidal and Elia Kazan become her mentors. Her anecdotes of theatre s Golden Age have never been told before. At the zenith of her career, about to film The Nun s Story with Audrey Hepburn, Patricia faces a decision that changes her forever.

The Men in My Life is about survival, achieving your goals, and learning to love. It s also the story of America s most culturally pivotal era, told through the lens of one insider s extraordinary life.

thomas jefferson revolutionary.jpg
Thomas Jefferson – Revolutionary: A Radical’s Struggle to Remake America by Kevin R C Gutzman (31 Jan 2017)
“In this lively and clearly written book, Kevin Gutzman makes a compelling case for the broad range and radical ambitions of Thomas Jefferson’s commitment to human equality.” – Alan Taylor, Pulitzer Prize winning author of American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804

Though remembered chiefly as author of the Declaration of Independence and the president under whom the Louisiana Purchase was effected, Thomas Jefferson was a true revolutionary in the way he thought about the size and reach of government, which Americans who were full citizens and the role of education in the new country. In his new book, Kevin Gutzman gives readers a new view of Jefferson a revolutionary who effected radical change in a growing country.

Jefferson s philosophy about the size and power of the federal system almost completely undergirded the Jeffersonian Republican Party. His forceful advocacy of religious freedom was not far behind, as were attempts to incorporate Native Americans into American society. His establishment of the University of Virginia might be one of the most important markers of the man s abilities and character.

He was not without flaws. While he argued for the assimilation of Native Americans into society, he did not assume the same for Africans being held in slavery while at the same time insisting that slavery should cease to exist. Many still accuse Jefferson of hypocrisy on the ground that he both held that all men are created equal and held men as slaves. Jefferson s true character, though, is more complex than that as Kevin Gutzman shows in his new book about Jefferson, a revolutionary whose accomplishments went far beyond the drafting of the Declaration of Independence.

blue on blue.jpg
Blue on Blue: An Insider S Story of Good Cops Catching Bad Cops  
by Charles Campisi with Gordon Dillow (7 Feb 2017)
This eye-opening, richly authentic memoir by the longest serving chief of NYPD s Internal Affairs Bureau reveals what it s like to expose and put away the bad cops so that they won t tarnish the majority who wear the uniform.
Charles Campisi headed the NYPD s Internal Affairs Bureau from 1996 through 2014, gaining a reputation as hard-nosed and incorruptible. During Campisi s years at IAB, the number of New Yorkers shot by cops every year and the number of cops failing integrity tests plummeted. But to achieve those exemplary results, Campisi had to triple IAB s staff, hire the very best detectives, and put the word out that corrupt cops wouldn t be tolerated.
In Blue on Blue, Campisi brings us into the real world of cops: We listen in on wiretaps. We experience the rush of exposing those who ve betrayed their oath. We learn of new threats to the force. We also see the investigations that stretched IAB s capacities in the 1990s: from the choking death of Anthony Baez to the killing of Amadou Diallo, who was shot nineteen times by police. Along the way, we obtain fascinating glimpses of the mayors and police officials Campisi served under, from Rudy Guliani, Mike Bloomberg, and Bill de Blasio to Howard Safir, Bernard Kerik, Ray Kelly, and Bill Bratton.
The most authentic, deep-textured portrait of life inside the NYPD since Ed Conlon s Blue Blood, Campisi s story describes what it s like to fulfill a childhood dream of joining the world s largest police force, only to spend almost half of his career putting bad cops behind bars. A compelling, fascinating, and often harrowing read.

and-id-do-it-again
And I’d Do It Again by Aimée Crocker (9 Feb 2017)
Aimée Crocker was an heiress to gold and railroad fortunes and a daughter of Judge Edwin B. Crocker (1818-1875), legal counsel for the Central Pacific Railroad, Justice of the California Supreme Court in 1865 and founder of the Crocker Art Museum. Her father was a brother of Charles Crocker, one of the ‘big four’ California railroad barons.

Aimée had a tale or two to tell. Aside from lavish parties, husbands and lovers, she travelled widely in the Far East. She tells of escaping headhunters in Borneo, poisoning in Hong Kong, and avoided murder by servants in Shanghai. While away, she was christened Princess Palaikalani Bliss of Heaven by King David Kalakaua, the last king of Hawaii, and then Princess Galitzine when she wed her fifth and final husband, Prince Mstislav Galitzine. And I’d Do It Again is her autobiography.

size-zero
Size Zero: My Life as a Disappearing Model by Victoire Dauxerre (9 Feb 2017)
A memoir of a brief career as a top model – and the brutally honest account of what goes on behind the scenes in a fascinating, closed industry.

Scouted in the street when she is 17, Victoire Dauxerre’s story started like a teenager’s dream: within months she was on the catwalks of New York’s major fashion shows, and part of the most select circle of in-demand supermodels in the world.

But when fashion executives and photographers began to pressure her about her weight, forcing her to become ever thinner, Victoire’s fantasy came at a cost. Food was now her enemy, and soon, living on only three apples a day and Diet Coke galore, Victoire became anorexic.

An unflinching, painful expose of the uglier face of fashion, her testimony is a shocking example of how our culture’s mechanisms of anorexia and bulimia can push a young woman to the point of suicide. It is the story of a survivor whose fight against poisonous illness and body image shows us how to take courage and embrace life.

BONUS POST: Five new memoirs to look out for

[Most of the links below redirect you to South Dublin Libraries’ online catalogue so you can reserve a copy online]

famous nathan
Famous Nathan: A Family Saga of Coney Island, The American Dream and the Search for the Perfect Hot Dog by Lloyd Handwerker and Gil Reavill (21 Jun 2016)
Beginning with just five feet of counter space on Coney Island in 1916, Nathan’s Famous – based on the basic principles of quality ingredients, hard work and a price everyone could afford -soon stretched across the globe, launching the hotdog as an American food staple and Nathan Handwerker to national fame. But the story behind the dog is even tastier…

Fleeing Eastern Europe as the shadow of WWI looms large with nothing but twenty dollars in his socks, Nathan arrives in New York with the insatiable desire to make a better life, and within two years he sets up a shop of his own, hawking frankfurters for five cents at the sleepy little beach retreat of Coney Island. As New York booms, pushing trains and patrons to the shore, so too do Nathan’s humble hotdogs. Within ten years he has the whole corner, and a brand as recognizable as Coca-Cola and Cracker Jack. Nathan’s is famous.

But with success comes difficulties, and as Nathan’s two sons vie to inherit the family dynasty a story of Biblical proportions plays out, mirroring the corporatization of the American food industry.

Written by Nathan’s own grandson, and at once a portrait of a man, a family and the changing face of a nation through a century of promise and progress, Famous Nathan is a dog’s tale that snaps and satisfies with every page.

stanley kubrick
Stanley Kubrick and Me: Thirty Years at his Side by Emilio D’Alessandro and Fillppo Ulivier (23 Jun 2016)
This intimate portrait by his former personal assistant and confidante reveals the man behind the legendary filmmaker–for the first time. Stanley Kubrick, the director of a string of timeless movies from Lolita and Dr. Strangelove to A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Full Metal Jacket, and others, has always been depicted by the media as the Howard Hughes of filmmakers, a weird artist obsessed with his work and privacy to the point of madness. But who was he really? Emilio D’Alessandro lets us see. A former Formula Ford driver who was a minicab chauffeur in London during the Swinging Sixties, he took a job driving a giant phallus through the city that became his introduction to the director. Honest, reliable, and ready to take on any task, Emilio found his way into Kubrick’s neurotic, obsessive heart. He became his personal assistant, his right-hand man and confidant, working for him from A Clockwork Orange until Kubrick’s death in 1999. Emilio was the silent guy in the room when the script for The Shining was discussed. He still has the coat Jack Nicholson used in the movie. He was an extra on the set of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick’s last movie. He knew all the actors and producers Kubrick worked with; he observed firsthand Kubrick’s working methods down to the smallest detail. Making no claim of expertise in cinematography but with plenty of anecdotes, he offers a completely fresh perspective on the artist and a warm, affecting portrait of a generous, kind, caring man who was a perfectionist in work and life.

playing scard
Playing Scared: My Journey Through Stage Fright by Sara Solovitch (30 Jun 2016)
Stage fright is one of the human psyche’s deepest fears. Over half of British adults name public speaking as their greatest anxiety. Laurence Olivier learned to adapt to it, as have actors Salma Hayek and Hugh Grant. Musicians such as Paul McCartney and Adele have battled it and learned to cope.

Playing Scared is Sara Solovitch’s journey into the myriad causes of stage fright and the ways we can overcome it. Using her own experience as inspiration, Sara has written a thoughtful and insightful cultural history of performance anxiety and a tribute to pursuing personal growth at any age.

dark night
Dark Night: A True Batman Story by Paul Dini and Eduardo Risso (30 Jun 2016)
The Caped Crusader has been the all-abiding icon of justice and authority for generations. But in this surprising original graphic novel, we see Batman in a new light — as the savior who helps a discouraged man recover from a brutal attack that left him unable to face the world. In the 1990s, legendary writer Paul Dini had a flourishing career writing the hugely popular Batman: The Animated Series and Tiny Toon Adventures. Walking home one evening, he was jumped and viciously beaten within an inch of his life. His recovery process was arduous, hampered by the imagined antics of the villains he was writing for television including the Joker, Harley Quinn and the Penguin. But despite how bleak his circumstances were, or perhaps because of it, Dini also always imagined the Batman at his side, chivvying him along during his darkest moments. DARK NIGHT: A TRUE BATMAN STORY is the harrowing and eloquent autobiographical tale of Dini’s courageous struggle to overcome a truly desperate situation. It is a Batman story like none other and one that will truly resonate with fans. Art by the incredible and talented Eduardo Risso (100 BULLETS, TRANSMETROPOLITAN).

thisisnotmybeautiful
This Is Not My Beautiful Life: A Memoir by Victoria Fedden (1 Jul 2016)
ONE OF “PUBLISHERS WEEKLY”‘S TEN MOST ANTICIPATED MEMOIRS OF THE SEASON IF YOU THINK IT SUCKS TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS WHEN YOU RE THIRTY-SIX AND NINE MONTHS PREGNANT, JUST WAIT TILL THE DEA COMES KNOCKING (WITH THE IRS IN TOW): WELCOME TO VICTORIA FEDDEN S LIFE.When a squad of federal agents burst through her parents front door, Victoria Fedden felt ill-prepared to meet them: She was weeks away from her due date and her T-shirt wasn t long enough to hide her maternity undies. As for the question of how to raise a child when you ve just discovered that your mother and stepfather have allegedly masterminded a pump-and-dump scheme? She was pretty sure that wasn t covered in “What “”to Expect When You re Expectin”g and she really hoped that Bradford Cohen, the noted criminal defense attorney who famously waived his exemption on “The Apprentice,” would prove them innocent.”This Is Not My Beautiful Life” is the story of how Victoria lost her parents to prison and nearly lost her mind. No one ever said motherhood would be easy, but as she struggles to change diapers, install car seats, and find the right drop-off line at pre-school no easy task, when each one is named for a stage in the lifecycle of a f*cking butterfly she s also forced to ask herself whether a jump-suit might actually complement her mom s platinum-blonde extensions and fend off the cast of shady, stranger-than-fiction characters (like the recovering addict who scored a reality show when he started an escort service for women) who populated her parents world.A real-life “Arrested Development” that could only unfold in southern Florida, “This Is Not My Beautiful Life” is a hilariously funny and unexpectedly moving memoir of a just-functional family you ll never forget.”

The Outsider: My Autobiography by Jimmy Connors

the outsider

Jimmy Connors took the tennis world by storm like no other player in the history of the game. A working-class kid from the wrong side of the tracks, he was prepared to battle for every point, to shout and scream until he was heard, and he didn’t care whom he upset in doing so. He was a brat. He was a crowd-pleaser, a maverick that was loved and hated in equal measures.  Along the way he won more tournaments – an astonishing 109 – than any other man in history, including eight Grand Slam singles titles.

In this autobiography, Connors sets the record straight on what really happened on and off the court: his intense rivalry with John McEnroe that frequently threatened to turn violent, with Bjorn Borg, and Ivan Lendl; his romance with Chris Evert, which made them the sweethearts of the sport. (They both won the Wimbledon title while engaged at the age of 19 in 1974); and the deep impact his Mother Gloria had on his life and his many love interests along the way. He married Playboy model Patti McGuire in 1979 and against all odds, they are still together. He outlines the many escapades with his partner in crime, Ilie Nastase and the deep roots of his fierce determination that made him the best player on the planet.

This autobiography is written very much in the way Jimmy Connors played tennis throughout his career: unflinchingly, hard-hitting, humorous, brash and above all true to character.  This book tells the story of a legend – the one and only Jimmy Connors!

Not for the purists but it’s a roller coaster of a read!

—-

You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.