If you are a biography reader, this month will not disappoint! A number of new biographies released this winter are making headlines for their research, reveals, and secret stories.
There is the highly anticipated tell all, Guiliani, by Andrew Kirtzman, who has been following Giuliani since the 1990s. Giuliani was a celebrated prosecutor, a transformative New York City mayor, and a contender for the presidency. He was a major figure in both of Trump’s impeachments, and ended up widely ostracized, in legal jeopardy, and facing financial ruin. At last we get some answers to the question everyone is wondering – what happened to Guiliani??
We also have the story of Capital Officer Michael Fanone who was thrown into the chaos of the Jan. 6 insurrection in DC. Fanone is a twenty-year police veteran and former Trump supporter who nearly lost his life that day. He is now issuing an urgent warning about threats to our democracy in Hold the line : the insurrection and one cop’s battle for America’s soul. Fanone provides a nuanced look into everything from policing, to race, to politics in a way that is accessible across party lines. Instant best-seller.
There are two new releases about famous families: the Morgenthau family, and the Rothschild family. The Morgenthaus span one hundred fifty years of American history. They were New Yorkers through and through, but they had national political ambitions. Andrew Meier’s Morgenthau: Power, Privilege, and the Rise of an American Dynasty chronicles their conflicting ideals – how they amassed a fortune in Manhattan real estate, advised presidents, advanced the New Deal, exposed the Armenian genocide, rescued victims of the Holocaust, waged war in the Mediterranean and Pacific, and built a legacy of public service. In The Women of Rothschild, Natalie Livingstone reveals the role of women in shaping the legacy of the famous Rothschild dynasty, synonymous with wealth and power. As Jews in a Christian society and women in a deeply patriarchal family, they were outsiders. Excluded from the family bank, they forged their own path. They were complicated, privileged, and gifted women.
A new memoir by Chelsea Manning with a trendy title caught my eye, Readme.txt Manning reveals a challenging childhood, struggles as an adolescent, and what led her to join the military. We also learn the details of how and why she made the decision to send classified military documents to WikiLeaks. This memoir is distinctly digital age.
There is also a debut memoir in the style of Susannah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire or Porochista Khakpour’s Sick. The Tiger and the Cage: A Memoir of a Body in Crisis by Emma Bolden recounts her experience of endometriosis: damaging surgeries, harrowing side effects of prescribed drugs, and the heartless behavior of institutions and professionals who insisted “it’s all in your head”.
There is a memoir that crosses time and cultures – White Mosque, by Sofia Samatar. Samatar is a descendant of a group of German-speaking Mennonites who traveled from Russia into Central Asia where they established Ak Metchet, “The White Mosque”, a small Christian village in the Muslim Khanate of Khiva. The village lasted for fifty years. This book is her secular pilgrimage to a lost village and a near-forgotten history. If you find traditional biographies stuffy you might enjoy this as it reads like a travelouge.
If you are fan of the show Top Chef you may have heard the devastating story of one its talents, Chef Fatima Ali. After the taping wrapped and before the show aired, she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Including writing from Fatima during her last months and contributions by her mother and others, Savor is an inspiring ode to the food, family, and countries Fatima loved so much.
And two new books that tackle self-care in our unique times. Author Gretchen Staebler promises to spend one year in her childhood home caring for her stubborn ninety-six-year-old mother, documented in Mother Lode, Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver. Brooke Siem is speaking out about the turmoil of antidepressant withdrawal – part of a generation to do so – in the new memoir May Cause Side Effects.
To Look out for in January, 2023
Prince Harry’s bio is coming out Jan. 10, 2023 and rumor has it some last minute edits have been made. The title of his book, Spare, seems to be in reference to Harry, 38, being a royal “spare” — or not first in line to succeed the crown. The “intimate and heartfelt memoir” will give details about every stage of his life, including being “in the public eye from childhood to the present day,” his military service and “the joy he has found in being a husband and father.” Expected to be a bestseller – advance holds recommended!