New in Nonfiction: Biographies

If you are a biography devotee – and there are many readers who are, as this literature genre is very popular and much loved – you might be especially interested in a few of the recently published collective biographies.

The Daughters of Yalta: The Churchills, Roosevelts, and Harrimans: A Story of Love and War by Catherine Grace Katzis a story of the historical meeting of the heads of the governments of Great Britain, the USA, and Soviet Union, which took place in the Crimea in the final months of the Second World War. The narrative is viewed through the eyes of the daughters of leaders of the British and American delegations. Not only does the book portray each of these three daughters, but it also gives fascinating backstories of each of their father-daughter relationships, as well as interactions among these three young women. Based on very thorough research that used personal letters, diaries, and oral histories, the author creates a fascinating, entertaining, and well regarded story.

Square Haunting: Five Writers in London Between the Wars by Francesca Wade is a collective portrait of five revolutionary women, immensely talented and independent – Virginia Woolf and Dorothy L. Sayers among them – who lived, at various times, in the same square in London.

The author traces interconnections among the five women and their influence on each other’s work.

A combination of literary history and biography, the book is very well researched. Numerous anecdotes make for an amusing read, which received starred reviews.

Mad and Bad: The Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch.

Regency-era romance novels are a very popular genre of fiction, and in her book, Bea Koch captures a collective portrait of the most notable and trailblazing women of Regency England (1810-20), women who would become prototypes of historical romance novel heroines.  

The book reflects on the artistic and scientific accomplishments of these women: outlining biographies of the royally-connected, illuminating notable women of color, as well as Jewish women. The book is not only informative but is also fun to read.

Another recently published book of collective biographies is Lives of the Stoics: The Art of Living from Zeno to Marcus Aureliusby Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, which discusses the lives of 26 major ancient stoics, whose philosophy emphasized personal success and perseverance, and believed that courage, justice, and wisdom were the requirements for living a happy life.

Kirkus Reviews esteemed the book highly, saying, “At a time when public nobility is hard to come by, this is a good reminder of the power of ethical leadership.”

For those interested in political science, along with biographies, Abbot Public Library offers the following:

His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hopeby Jon Meacham, which portrays the life of the recently-deceased Georgia congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis. Check this title out in print, book on CD, ebook, or e-audiobook format. 

Eleanorby David Michaelis is the first major single-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt in more than a half century. The work earned a good review from The NYT.

As always, these books are available in the library catalog, either in print or digital format,and sometimes both.

Digital downloads are available through Overdrive/Libby with your library card. 

To obtain a print copy, carefully read the instructions for reserving a copy and scheduling an appointment for Curbside Pickup.

Please note that Curbside Pickup will be unavailable from Sunday, October 25 through Sunday, November 1, as the building is having air duct cleaning and therefore staff will be unable to be in the building. We will resume Curbside Pickup services on Monday, November 2.

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