Tag Archives: Simon and Schuster

Petrucelli’s Picks: 2018 Gift Guide: The Year’s Best Celebrity (Auto)Biographies, Part Two

We always knew how brilliant she is. Now the 2 people who have never heard of her need to listen up.

Stevie Nicks (as a solo performer) will be inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks (St. Martin’s press, $18.99) details her rise into stardom; author Stephen Davis details her her equally sexy work and life, unearthing fresh details from new, intimate interviews and interpreting them to present a rich new portrait of the star.


Rose McCowan’s Brave (HarperOne, $27.99) is her raw, honest and poignant memoir/manifesto—a no-holds-barred, pull-no-punches account of the rise of a millennial icon, fearless activist, and unstoppable force for change who is determined to expose the truth about the entertainment industry, dismantle the concept of fame, shine a light on a multi-billion-dollar business built on systemic misogyny, and empower people everywhere to wake up and be Brave.


Every Day Is Extra is John Kerry’s passionate, insightful, sometimes funny, always moving account of his life. Kerry tells wonderful stories about colleagues Ted Kennedy and John McCain, as well as President Obama and other major figures. He writes movingly of recovering his faith while in the Senate, and deplores the hyper-partisanship that has infected Washington.

Few books convey as convincingly as this one the life of public service like that which John Kerry has lived for fifty years. Every Day Is Extra shows Kerry for the dedicated, witty, and authentic man that he is, and provides forceful testimony for the importance of diplomacy and American leadership to address the increasingly complex challenges of a more globalized world.

If he’d only run for President . . .


When Jackie Kennedy Onassis died in her Fifth Avenue apartment on tk, her younger sister Lee Radziwill wept inconsolably. Then Jackie’s 38-page will was read. Lee discovered that substantial cash bequests were left to family members, friends and employees—but nothing to her. “I have made no provision in this my Will for my sister, Lee B. Radziwill, for whom I have great affection, because I have already done so during my lifetime,” read Jackie’s final testament.

Drawing on the authors Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberge’s candid interviews with Radziwill, The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters: The Tragic and Glamorous Lives of Jackie and Lee (Harper, $28.99) explores their complicated relationship, placing them at the center of twentieth-century fashion, design and style. For the first time, here is the complete story of these larger-than-life sisters.

Drawing on new information and extensive interviews with Lee, now 84, this dual biography sheds light on the public and private lives of two extraordinary women who lived through immense tragedy in enormous glamour.


The relationship between Al Smith and Franklin Roosevelt, superbly portrayed in Terry Golway’s Frank and Al: Frank and Al: FDR, Al Smith, and the Unlikely Alliance That Created the Modern Democratic Party, is one of the most dramatic untold stories of early 20th Century American politics. It was Roosevelt who said once that everything he sought to do in the New Deal had been done in New York under Al Smith when he was governor in the 1920s.

It was Smith who persuaded a reluctant Roosevelt to run for governor in 1928, setting the stage for FDR’s dramatic comeback after contracting polio in 1921. They took their party, and American politics, out of the 19th Century and created a place in civic life for the New America of the 20th Century.


John Wayne predicted that Michael Caine would become a star. He was right, and Caine, now 85, has made more than 100 films in his six-decade career.  In Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons in Life (Hachette Books, $28), Caine shares wisdom and stories from his remarkable career.

We love his take on aging: He bittersweetly acknowledges that many of his pals are dead; truths that keep Caine going. Even the dishy dirt is told with charm, the charm that still can be heard in his accent.


it seems like there’s no place anymore for optimism, integrity and good old-fashioned respect. Enter “America’s Dad”: Tom Hanks. Whether he’s buying espresso machines for the White House Press Corps, rewarding a jovial cab driver with a night out on Broadway or extolling the virtues of using a typewriter, Hanks lives a passionate, joyful life and pays it forward to others.

In The World According to Tom Hanks: The Life, the Obsessions, the Good Deeds of America’s Most Decent Guy (Grand Central Publishing, $26), Gavin Edwards takes readers on a tour behind the scenes of Hanks’s life: from his less-than-idyllic childhood, rocky first marriage, and career wipeouts to the pinnacle of his acting career and domestic bliss with the love of his life, Rita Wilson. Hanks is, indeed, the role model we all crave.


Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein IIstand at the apex of the great age of songwriting, the creators of the classic Broadway musicals Oklahoma!Carousel, South PacificThe King and I and The Sound of Music, whose songs have never lost their popularity or emotional power. Even before they joined forces, R&O had written dozens of Broadway shows, but together they pioneered a new art form: the serious musical play. Their songs and dance numbers served to advance the drama and reveal character, a sharp break from the past and the template on which all future musicals would be built.

Todd S. Purdum’s portrait of these two men, their creative process, and their groundbreaking innovations will captivate lovers of musical theater, lovers of the classic American songbook, and young lovers wherever they are.


Lorraine Hansberry was a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her short life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements, and she had an unflinching commitment to social justice, which brought her under FBI surveillance when she was barely in her twenties. While her close friends and contemporaries, like James Baldwin and Nina Simone, have been rightly celebrated, her story has been diminished and relegated to one work—until now.

Though she married a man, she identified as lesbian and, risking censure and the prospect of being outed, joined one of the nation’s first lesbian organizations. Hansberry associated with many activists, writers, and musicians, including Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson and W.E.B. Du Bois.

Imani Perry’s Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry (Beacon Press, $26.95) is a tad academic, but it’s a powerful insight into Hansberry’s extraordinary life—a life that was tragically cut far too short. (She died at 34.)


In the revelatory Arthur Ashe: A Life (Simon & Schuster, $37.50), Raymond Arsenault chronicles Ashe’s rise to stardom on the tennis court, but much of the book explores his off-court career as a human rights activist, philanthropist, broadcaster, writer, businessman and celebrity. In the ’70s and ’80s, Ashe gained renown as an advocate for sportsmanship, education, racial equality, and the elimination of apartheid in South Africa.

From 1979 on, he was forced to deal with a serious heart condition that led to multiple surgeries and blood transfusions, one of which left him HIV-positive. In 1988, after completing a three-volume history of African-American athletes, he was diagnosed with AIDS, a condition he revealed only four years later. After devoting the last 10 months of his life to AIDS activism, he died in February 1993 at the age of forty-nine, leaving an inspiring legacy of dignity, integrity, and active citizenship.

Based on prodigious research, including more than 100 interviews,  Arsenault’s insightful and compelling biography puts Ashe in the context of both his time and the long struggle of African-American athletes seeking equal opportunity and respect.

BEST BEACH BOOKS FOR JUNE: SCIENCE, POLITICS AND MORE MOVIE STARS (PART TWO)

Fifteen years after The Devil Wears Prada was published, Lauren Weisberger revisits one of her favorite characters from the novel—Emily Charlton, first assistant to Miranda Priestly, now a highly successful image consultant who has just landed the client of a lifetime. She’s working in Hollywood as an image consultant to the stars, but recently, Emily’s lost a few clients. She’s hopeless with social media. The new guard is nipping at her heels. She needs a big opportunity, and she needs it now.When Life Gives You Lululemons Karolina Hartwell is as A-list as they come. She’s the former face of L’Oreal. A mega-supermodel recognized the world over. And now, the gorgeous wife of the newly elected senator from New York, Graham, who also has his eye on the presidency. It’s all very Kennedy-esque, right down to the public philandering and Karolina’s arrest for a DUI—with a Suburban full of other people’s children. We can’t reveal more because we just pissed in pour pants. It’s that funny!

Now we know why Ronan Farrow won a Pulitzer. In War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence (W. W. Norton & Company, $27.95), he reveals how America is becoming a nation that shoots first and asks questions later. Or never. And while this is a new extreme, Farrow shows us it is not unprecedented. Herr Adolph Frump is putting his foot onto the throat of a diplomatic enterprise that has been weakening for decades—and history tells us that the consequences could be catastrophic. The book brings the State Department into vivid focus, as Farrow personalizes epic events and offers an account of American statecraft at once conversational and trenchant. War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American InfluenceHe provides readers with a page-turning, character-driven narrative, using the personal stories of
those whose lives were affected—and sometimes destroyed—by the decline of American diplomacy to shed light on this unsung transformation in America’s place in the world. War on Peace  contains interviews with every former secretary of state alive; Farrow also unearths previously secret documents and speaks with hundreds of insiders—from whistleblowers to ambassadors to generals, spies, and warlords—to reveal how the power to make foreign policy slipped from America’s civilian diplomats and into the hands of its uniformed officers, the consequences around the world, and what might be done to change
course.

Nikola Tesla invented the radio, the induction motor, the neon lamp, and the remote control. His scientific discoveries made possible X-ray technology, wireless communications, and radar, and he predicted the Internet and even the smart watch. His image appears on stamps;Life magazine lists him as one of the one hundred most famous people of the last millennium. 

And yet, his contemporaries and fellow inventors Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi achieved far greater commercial success and popular recognition. In Tesla: Inventor of the Modern [W. W. Norton & Company, $26.95 hardcover], Richard Munson asks whether Tesla’s eccentricities eclipsed his genius. Ultimately, he delivers an enthralling biography that illuminates every facet of Tesla’s life while justifying his stature as the most original inventor of the late nineteenth century.

In Giant: Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Edna Ferber, and the Making of a Legendary American Film  (St. Martin’s Press; $27.99)  Don Grahamoffers a larger-than-life narrative of the making of the classic film based on Edna Ferber’s controversial novel. Taking a wide-angle view of America—and Texas—in the Eisenhower era, Graham reveals how the film and its production mark the rise of America as a superpower, the ascent of Hollywood celebrity, and the flowering of Texas culture as mythology. Featuring James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor, Giant dramatizes a family saga against the background of the oil industry and its impact upon ranching culture—think Spindletop Hill in Beaumont, Texas, and the fabled King Ranch in South Texas. Almost as good as the film.

In Inseparable: The Original Siamese Twins and Their Rendezvous with American History (Liveright, $28.95) Yunte Huang recounts the peculiar, and often ironic, rise of Chang and Eng from sideshow curiosity to Southern gentry—an unlikely story that exposes the foibles of a young republic eager to tyrannize and delight in the abnormal. Famous for their quick wit (they once refunded a one-eyed man half his ticket because he “couldn’t see as much as the others”), Chang and Eng became a nationwide sensation, heralded as living symbols of the humbugged freak.  Their unrivaled success quickened the birth of mass entertainment in America, leading to the minstrel show and the rise of showmen like P.T. Barnum.

And it is here that we encounter a twist. Miraculously, despite the 1790 Naturalization Act which limited citizenship to “free white persons” (until 1952), Chang and Eng became American citizens under the Superior Court of North Carolina. They then went on to marry two white sisters—Sarah and Adelaide Yates—and father 23 children despite the interracial marriage ban (in place until 1967). They owned 18 slaves and became staunch advocates for the Confederacy, so much so that their sons fought for the South during the Civil War. Huang reveals that it was perhaps their very “otherness” that worked for them: they were neither one individual, or quite two.

Forty-five years after Bruce Lee’s sudden death at 32, Matthew Polly has written the definitive account of Lee’s life. Following a decade of research, dozens of rarely seen photographs, and more than one hundred interviews with Lee’s family and friends, Bruce Lee: A Life (Simon & Schuster, $35) breaks down the myths surrounding Bruce Lee and delivers a complex, humane portrait of the icon.

The book  explores Lee’s early years: his career as a child star in Hong Kong cinema; his actor father’s struggles with opium addiction; his troublemaking teen years; and his beginnings as a martial arts instructor. Polly chronicles the trajectory of Lee’s acting career in Hollywood, from his frustration seeing role after role he auditioned for go to a white actors in eye makeup, to his eventual triumph as a leading man, to his challenges juggling a sky-rocketing career with his duties as a father and husband. Polly also sheds light on Bruce Lee’s shocking end—which is to this day is still shrouded in mystery—by offering an alternative theory behind his tragic demise.

When Henry Alford first wrote about his experience with a Zumba class, little did he realize that it was the start of something much bigger. Dance would grow and take on many roles for Henry: exercise, confidence builder, an excuse to travel, a source of ongoing wonder and—when he dances with Alzheimer’s patients—even a kind of community service.  Tackling a wide range of forms with gusto (including ballet, hip-hop, jazz, ballroom, tap, contact improvisation, swing), And Then We Danced: A Voyage into the Groove (Simon & Schuster, $26) takes us through the works and careers of luminaries ranging from Bob Fosse to George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp to Arthur Murray, Isadora Duncan to Savion Glover. Equal parts memoir and cultural history, this laugh-out-loud book will inform, entertain and leave readers tapping their toes.

 

Best Beach Books for June: History, Horror and Movie Stars (Part One)

It’s been called “the publishing event of 2018.” With good reason.  Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s The President Is Missing (Knopf/Little,Brown $30) is a superlative thriller . . . one that can really happen, and one that must not be missed. The mystery confronts a threat so huge that it jeopardizes not just Pennsylvania Avenue and Wall Street, but all of America. Uncertainty and fear grip the nation. There are whispers of cyberterror and espionage and a traitor in the Cabinet. Even the President himself becomes a suspect, and then he disappears from public view.

Set over the course of three days, The President Is Missing sheds a stunning light upon the inner workings and vulnerabilities of our nation. Filled with information that only a former Commander-in-Chief could know, this is the most authentic, terrifying novel to come along in many years. And a timely, historic story that will be read-and talked about-for years to come.

A book about Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States, as a beach read? Absolutely. And much more entertaining than, say, a collection of Peanuts. In President Carter: The White House Years (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, $40) Stuart E. Eizenstat presents a comprehensive history of the Carter Administration, demonstrating that Carter was the most consequential modern-era one-term U.S. President. The book is behind-the-scenes account of a president who always strove to do what he saw as the right thing, while often disregarding the political repercussions.


In 1923, Mary Pickford and hubby Douglas Fairbanks, along with the “Beverly Hills Eight” Harold Lloyd, Rudolph Valentino, Will Rogers, Tom Mix, Fred Neblo and Conrad Nagel,  eight stars of the silver screen leveraged their fame to campaign against the annexation of Beverly Hills, the young city they called home, to Los Angeles. Their campaign was a success, and politics in the U.S. would never be the same again.The Battle for Beverly Hills: A City's Independence and the Birth of Celebrity Politics by [Clare, Nancie] For them, Beverly Hills was a refuge from Los Angeles and its relentless press. Instead of the larger, institutionally corrupt police force, Beverly Hills had a smaller, separate constabulary that was less likely to work hand in glove with the studios and more willing to look the other way at violations of the Prohibition Act.  In The Battle for Beverly Hills (St. Martin’s Press, $27.99) Nancie Clare reveals how the stars battled to keep their city free from the clutches of a rapacious Los Angeles and lay the groundwork for celebrity influence and political power. With a nuanced eye and fantastic storytelling, Clare weaves an irresistible tale of glamour, fame, gossip, and politics.


 Adventures of a Young Naturalist–The Zoo Quest Expeditions (Quercus, $26.99) is the story of those voyages. Staying with local tribes while trekking in search of giant anteaters in Guyana, Komodo dragons in Indonesia, and armadillos in Paraguay, he and the rest of the team contended with cannibal fish, aggressive tree porcupines, and escape-artist wild pigs, as well as treacherous terrain and unpredictable weather, to record the incredible beauty and biodiversity of these regions. Don’t take our word for it: Says Barack Obama of Attenborough: “A great educator as well as a great naturalist.”


Charles Manson. Swastika carved into his forehead. What a fucking monster. In the late summer of 1969, he and “family” brutally slayed of a actress Sharon Tate—26 years old and eight months pregnant with her first child—as well as other victims, including a hair stylist, a coffee heiress and a businessman. After months of dead-ends, false leads and near-misses, Charles Manson and members of his “family” were arrested.9780718092085, Hunting Charles Manson : The Quest for Justice in the Days of Helter Skelter, Lis Wiehl  Former federal prosecutor Lis Wiehl’s Hunting Charles Manson (Thomas Nelson, $26.99) is a historical thriller of the crimes and manhunt; in the process, she reveals how the social and political context that gave rise to Manson is eerily similar to our own.


Immortalized by Shakespeare as a hunchbacked murderer, Richard III is one of English history’s best known and least understood monarchs. In 2012 his skeleton was uncovered in a UK parking lot, reigniting debate about this divisive historical figure and sparked numerous articles, television programs and movies about his true character. Richard III: England's Most Controversial King by [Skidmore, Chris]In Richard III: England’s Most Controversial King (St. Martin’s Press, $29.99)  acclaimed historian Chris Skidmore has written the authoritative biography of a man alternately praised as a saint and cursed as a villain. Was he really a power-crazed monster who killed his nephews, or the victim of the first political smear campaign conducted by the Tudors?


When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation. The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London. The Girl in the Ice (Grand Central Publishing; $12.99), Robert Bryndza’s  first book in the Detective Erika Foster series. Front CoverIn will take hold of you early on and won’t let up as the investigation ebbs and flows through suspects and suspense. The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong—resulting in the death of her husband—and with her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer begins closing in on her, but will she get to him before he strikes again?


Here,  first major biography of Tiger Woods—sweeping in scope and packed with groundbreaking, behind-the-scenes details of the Shakespearean rise and epic fall of an American icon. In 2009, Tiger Woods was the most famous athlete on the planet, a transcendent star of fame and fortune living what appeared to be the perfect life—married to a Swedish beauty, father of two young children, and at the peak of a brilliant athletic career. book coverWinner of 14 major golf championships and 79 PGA Tour events, Woods was the first billion-dollar athlete, earning more than $100 million a year in endorsements. But it was all a carefully crafted illusion. As it turned out, Woods had been living a double life for years—one that exploded in the aftermath of a Thanksgiving night crash that exposed his serial infidelity and sent his personal and professional life off a cliff. Tiger Woods (Simon & Schuster, $30) is based on three years of extensive research, and drawing on more than 400 interviews with people from every corner of Woods’s life.

Save the date (June 19), remember the name of a hot new novel: Siobhan Adcock’s “The Completionist”

Every once in a while we come across a book that we simply love. The latest example: The Completionist (Simon & Schuster, $26), the thrilling new novel from acclaimed author Siobhan Adcock. Truly a novel of the times, and in the spirit of Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s TaleThe Completionist is an inventive, deeply human mystery set in a future that holds our own world in a black mirror.

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This impossible-to-put down novel follows an ominous near-future society in which water no longer naturally exists, birth rates have plummeted, and technology is omnipresent, even inside human bodies. A troubled young Marine, Carter Quinn, returns home from a brutal war to discover one of his sisters has disappeared without a trace, and the other is naturally pregnant, a rare and rmiraculous event that puts her independence in jeopardy. As Carter sets off to find his sister Gardner, he discovers startling truths about his society, and the terrifying implications the fertility crisis has on women, including his own sister Fred. A system meant to keep the few pregnancies as safe as possible only puts women in dire situations to keep up with impossible standards.

Willing to do anything to protect his sisters, Carter’s efforts lead him to painful realizations about his family, his society, and himself, all culminating in a stunning conclusion you won’t see coming.

We promise you will be gripped. We promise this is a perfect beach book. We promise you will thank us once you read Adcock’s tome, officially published on June 19.

Historian William Hitchcock’s “The Age of Eisenhower” is an absorbing, serious biography at its best

Historian William Hitchcock shoots straight. Direct. And his news is factual truth. Witness an expert from his USA Today op-ed, published February 12.

“The last Army general to occupy the White House, Dwight D. Eisenhower, would be spinning in his grave if he knew that President Trump, a man who used a medical deferment to avoid combat service in Vietnam, was planning a giant military parade in Washington.”

The op-ed was a well-written reminder that The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s (Simon & Schuster, $35) was being released; Hitchcock’s massive tome is not only an absorbing, serious biography at its best, but it could (if needed) serve as a murder weapon.

Since I grew up long after the I LIKE IKE movement was around, I never had a chance to understand what the fuss was about. Now I do.

In a 2017 survey, presidential historians ranked Dwight D. Eisenhower fifth on the list of great presidents, behind the perennial top four: Lincoln, Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Teddy Roosevelt. Hitchcock shows that this high ranking is justified. Eisenhower’s accomplishments were enormous and loom ever larger from the vantage point of our own tumultuous times. A former general, Ike kept the peace: He ended the Korean War, avoided a war in Vietnam, adroitly managed a potential confrontation with China, and soothed relations with the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death.

He guided the Republican Party to embrace central aspects of the New Deal like Social Security. He thwarted the demagoguery of McCarthy, and he advanced the agenda of civil rights for African Americans. As part of his strategy to wage and win the Cold War, Eisenhower expanded American military power, built a fearsome nuclear arsenal and launched the space race.

In his famous Farewell Address, he acknowledged that Americans needed such weapons in order to keep global peace, but he also admonished his citizens to remain alert to the potentially harmful influence of the “military-industrial complex”.

From 1953 to 1961, no one dominated the world stage as did President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Age of Eisenhower is the definitive account of this presidency, drawing extensively on declassified material from the Eisenhower Library, the CIA, and the Defense Department and troves of unpublished documents. In his masterful account, Hitchcock shows how Ike shaped modern America, and he astutely assesses Eisenhower’s close confidants, from Attorney General Brownell to Secretary of State Dulles.

The result is an eye-opening reevaluation that explains why this “do-nothing” president is rightly regarded as one of the best leaders our country has ever had.

A full-dressed teen found at the bottom of her family’s pool. Dive into Mary Higgins Clark’s latest mystery, “I’ve Got My Eyes on You”

Some whine that Mary Higgins Clark is the Queen of “cut and paste”. Nonsense. Jackie Collins held that title.  Clark maintains the honor of being known as the “Queen of Suspense”.  Mary Higgins Clark remains in top form after more than 40 years of delivering hit suspense novels

Clark’s latest: I’ve Got My Eyes on You (Simon & Schuster, $26.99). What can we tell you about the page-turner? Just a bit to lure you into the mystery as we were . . .

After a party when her parents are away, 18-year-old Kerry Dowling is found fully dressed at the bottom of the family pool. The immediate suspect is her boyfriend who had a bitter argument with her at the party. Then there is a 22-year-old intellectually impaired neighbor who was angry because she didn’t invite him to the party.  Or is there someone else who is not yet on the radar screen?

Kerry’s older sister Aline, a 28-year-old guidance counselor, is determined to help the detective assigned to the case find the truth. She does not realize that now she is putting her own life in danger . . .