PositiveThe Washington PostAt times, the memoir is a cascade of late-night and early-morning scares ... Throughout, Harris’s prose hugs readers like lifelong confidants, transforming them into inner-circle champions of her graceful fight. She examines her disquieting experience of feeling stuck en route to some elusive destination ... Interwoven is Harris’s acute understanding of how science and genetics can unlock a vital medical finding as surely as they can seem confounding along the way ... The memoir dedicates important space to the numbing bureaucracy that often accompanies medical visits, particularly as seen through the eyes of a Black woman in the South ... Even amid such painful episodes, Harris is generous with relaying mirthful ones ... Harris also brings humor to bear in moments of great adversity ... how deft Harris is in building Tophs’s multidimensional story.
Jan Jarboe Russell
PositiveThe Washington PostBesides Roosevelt’s political associations in the Village, the book also describes other significant relationships in her life, such as her long and complex love affair with Associated Press journalist Lorena Hickok. But Russell only skims the surface of the lesbian community in the Village and Roosevelt’s place in it, providing little new enlightenment on the subject ... Whatever its shortcomings, Eleanor in the Village is a worthy addition to the library on her life. The author reveals her obvious admiration of her subject in the lovely chattiness of her prose.
Jeffrey H. Jackson
PositiveThe Washington PostJackson winds readers through their often devastating journey to make it out alive at the end of the war ... Their story...vividly portrays what Jackson calls \'the complexities of ground-level responses to conquest\'—the day-to-day, gut-wrenching decisions made by civilians under occupation. The couple’s experience also amplifies the importance of telling the stories of lesbians, women, artists and intellectuals in the historical context of World War II ... with its piercing wartime depictions of rationing and hunger, intimidation and depravity, and nail-biting acts of resistance, Paper Bullets is at its core a story of devotion.
RaveThe Washington PostThe biography captures the freshness and ingenuity of the project [of Carlos\'s Switched-On Bach] ... Through exhaustive archival research, Sewell meticulously captures Carlos’s career ... Along with the ascension and ebbing of Carlos’s career, Sewell conveys the more intimate aspects of the composer’s life ... Sewell shares such details without allowing them to overwhelm the multidimensional, complicated truths of her subject ... Sewell takes great care to place Carlos’s story within the context of the historically persistent and damaging academic and scientific theories regarding transgender people, as well as to cite some of the clinicians who offered advancement through research and lifesaving medical care ... Sewell devotes much space to how this took shape in the form of filing lawsuits against people whom Carlos thought had harmed her, or taking them to task in letters to the editor or on her own website in lengthy screeds. This latter part of the book becomes somewhat granular in this regard; die-hard fans, if not general lovers of electronic music and its history, may find the anecdotes compelling. Overall, however, Wendy Carlos: A Biography is an important account that helps us understand the legacy of an underexposed trailblazing composer.
RaveThe Washington PostKolker’s telling of the Galvin trials is at once deeply compassionate and chilling. He gives as much voice to the schizophrenic siblings as he does to their relatives, many of whom suffered tremendous psychological and sexual abuse from being in their orbit ... Kolker is particularly sensitive in broaching the sisters’ conflicted feelings about their family — what he chronicles as a tortured tangle of hate, guilt and love that they ultimately struggle to confront throughout their lives ... The book gives much space to how difficult the disease has been to diagnose and treat. Yet it ends in 2017, as a story of hope.
PositiveThe Washington PostWhile chronicling the James Bond-worthy missions and love affairs of these women, Rose vividly captures the broken landscape of war ... D-Day Girls is scrupulously researched ... Packed with details and multiple storylines, D-Day Girls may be a bit dense for some readers, but history buffs are likely to find it a treasure trove of previously unexplored details about the lives of these female spies.
PositiveThe Washington Post...part feminist and social-justice manifesto, part bracing road story ... Readers looking for a definitive account of her life should be forewarned: \'I only ever intended this book to be the ‘making of’ story,\' she says at its close ... Glam vignettes aside, a deep and thoughtful current runs throughout DiFranco’s memoir. She’s a longtime activist, and her book highlights the value and power of speaking up.
RaveThe Washington PostIn between these four personal stories, Richtel weaves in intricate, sometimes obscure details on the origins of and advances in immunology, the science of the human immune system ... To lend further color to the medical narrative, Richtel interviews leading scientists and physicians in the spheres of immunology and oncology, drawing out not only their scientific perspectives but also their soulful takes on mortality. In doing all this, Richtel brilliantly blurs the lines between biology primer, medical historical text and the traditional first-person patient story ... Like a kid spinning a superhero tale, Richtel employs delightfully effusive prose ... Knowing that some readers may be less inclined to follow the wondrous minutiae of immunology, Richtel harnesses his reporter’s eye for the human condition. Beyond Hoff’s miraculous story, he relays...frustrating, often agonizing medical conundrums ... He draws frequently on the analogy of the immune system’s quest to identify the \'self\' and the \'alien\' within, in doing so highlighting society’s parallel struggle and the lessons we still need to learn.
PositiveThe Washington Post\"Here, in warm, witty and conversational prose, [Mizrahi] shares the trials of growing up in a Syrian-Jewish community in Midwood, Brooklyn, and shows us how he forged his way out to become a widely known name in the world of fashion ... While not as deeply resonating as the earlier parts of the book — it sometimes feels like Mizrahi is heeding an internal obligation to credit the many people who helped pave his path to success — [Mizrahi] does share some trenchant memories of friendships he has had across his career ... [Several passages] in I.M., [are] heart-rending, showing us how vulnerability and self-doubt mingle with the glam and glitterati of the fashion world ... Fashionistas lured to Mizrahi’s memoir hoping it reveals juicy background on the industry may be disappointed by its lack of dish. Yet I.M. more than makes up for that with its honest rendering of how the underdog Mizrahi, whose self-image and livelihood are alternately crushed and affirmed, moves through the many creative phases of his life.\
PositiveThe Washington PostWhile Bad Advice is a quick read, its goal is weighty ... Offit lays a compelling — and sometimes disturbing — foundation ... In breezy and deceptively conversational prose that often winks with humor, Bad Advice breaks down complex scientific subjects that have been distorted through several cultural lenses ... Despite its liberal use of such lighthearted anecdotes, Bad Advice does not let us forget its weighty contention: Science is under siege.
PositiveWashington PostFaderman’s exploration of Milk’s dual outsider status as gay and Jewish is equal parts warm and scholarly. It is informed, in part, by her decades of research and writing about LGBT history, including, most recently, her book The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle. Her empathy may also come from firsthand experience with the after-effects in those touched by the Holocaust. Faderman’s mother and aunt had escaped Nazi Europe to America; tragically, many others in her family perished in Latvia. Milk, too, had been deeply affected by his memories of the war ... The book follows Milk from those early days, past his time as a closeted, butched-up jock in high school and college, through his period in the Navy, and to his years of ambivalently holding jobs as a math teacher and a Wall Street securities research analyst. Faderman then carries readers buoyantly through Milk’s emerging devotion to social justice and progressive politics as he holds court as a bearded hippie and the self-proclaimed \'Mayor of Castro Street\' in his beloved adoptive city of San Francisco.
RaveSlate... an exhaustive and transfixing new biography ... Rosenberg had uncovered an astonishingly complex individual who was as petrified of being found out for her nontraditional gender identity as she was outspoken about human rights ... Jane Crow inspires at once a wonder at how much the brilliant Murray accomplished, as well as a deep sadness in how the world failed in many cases to acknowledge and celebrate her achievements.