Summer reading: Biographies

All In

From Refugee Camp to Poker Champ

Jerry Yang with Mark Tabb

Medallion: $24.95


Yang’s memoir of becoming a world-class poker champion starts with his family, along with thousands of other Hmong, fleeing their Laotian homeland during the Vietnam War. (July)

Clarence Darrow

American Iconoclast

Andrew E. Kersten


Hill and Wang: $30

The author charts the great progressive attorney’s rise from an obscure Midwestern childhood to his role as a defender of the downtrodden, as the “attorney for the damned.” (May)

Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness

Alexandra Fuller

Penguin, $25.95

Fuller returns to Africa and the story of her unforgettable family in this sequel to “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight.” (August)

David Bowie



Paul Trynka

Little, Brown: $25.99

This biography tracks the shape-shifting artist’s career through countless reinventions of his music and personal style. (July)

Ethan Allen

His Life and Times

Willard Sterne Randall

W.W. Norton: $29.95

The story of a hero from the New England frontier whose daring attacks during the American Revolution with his Green Mountain Boys nourished the young nation’s appetite for mythic tales. (June)


Far Out Isn’t Far Enough

Life in the Back of Beyond

Tomi Ungerer

Phaidon Press, $29.95

The famed illustrator and his wife’s tale of living off the grid in Nova Scotia in 1971. Revised text and never before seen illustrations included in this new edition. (May)

From This Moment On

Shania Twain

Atria: $26.99

The country singer defies her own rule to forget the past and focus on the future to describe her climb to success and the sometimes rocky price one pays for fame. (May)

Glenn Ford

A Life

Peter Ford

University of Wisconsin Press: $24.95

Who would have a more intimate view of actor Glenn Ford than his son Peter? The author gives readers a glimpse of an actor who, though often playing an approachable Everyman on screen, retreated from the world and was deeply private. (June)

If You Ask Me

(And of Course You Won’t)

Betty White

Putnam: $25.95

The famed television and movie actress shares her wit and no-nonsense insights not only about life in Hollywood but also on friendship, pets, love and what it’s like to turn 89. (May)

Jane Fonda

The Private Life of a Public Woman

Patricia Bosworth

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: $30

The author of biographies of Diane Arbus and Marlon Brando among others, Patricia Bosworth draws on her own experiences with Jane Fonda—dating to their experiences together as students at the Actors Studio—for this intimate portrait of Fonda and the many influences (family, marriages, politics) that have shaped her life and career. (August)

Lady Blue Eyes

My Life With Frank Sinatra

Barbara Sinatra

Crown $24.99

How a self-described “farm girl from Missouri” rose from a hardscrabble life to find romance and enjoy a lively chemistry with Frank Sinatra during their 22-year marriage, the entertainer’s fourth, last and longest. (June)

Nicholas Ray

The Glorious Failure of an American Director

Patrick McGilligan

It Books/HarperCollins: $29.99

Glorious failure? The director of “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Johnny Guitar”? As the author shows in this first full-length biography, Nicholas Ray’s genius struggled against his own self-destructive behaviors as he gave unforgettable films to American cinema. (July)

Reagan’s Journey

Lessons From a Remarkable Career

Margot Morrell

Threshold Editions $25

The author offers motivational insights on persevering as reflected in the challenges that faced Ronald Reagan during his public career. (May)

See a Little Light

The Trail of Rage and Melody

Bob Mould with Michael Azerrad

Little Brown: $24.99

The guitarist and singer describes being at the helm of the influential punk band Hüsker Dü and his life since — the detours and solo career, and the addictions he’s battled. (June)

Stan Musial

An American Life

George Vecsey

Ballantine Books: $26

Long considered one of baseball’s great players, Stan Musial is one of the least-known names in the game. Vecsey sheds new light on the quiet gentleman. (May)

Stories My Father Told Me

Notes From ‘The Lyons Den’

Jeffrey Lyons

Abbeville Press: $35

The film critic draws on his father Leonard’s popular newspaper column for this collection of anecdotes about New York nightlife and the glitterati from the 1930s through the 1970s. (June)

This Is Gonna Hurt

Music, Photography and Life Through the Distorted lens of Nikki Sixx

Nikki Sixx

William Morrow: $29.99

The bass player of Mötley Crüe continues his look at his life that began with his bestselling memoir of addiction, “The Heroin Diaries,” in a book that is both a journal and album of Sixx’s own photography. (May)

Thoughts Without Cigarettes

A Memoir

Oscar Hijuelos

Gotham Books: $27.50

The prize-winning author of many novels, including “The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love,” reflects on his childhood in a Cuban household in Harlem and what led him to become a writer. (June)

The Way of Baseball

Finding Stillness at 95 MPH

Shawn Green with Gordon McAlpine

Simon and Schuster: $24

Green who played for the Dodgers for several seasons, offers thoughts on how to stay focused in physically and mentally demanding sport. (June)

What a Wonderful World

The Magic of Louis Armstrong’s Later Years

Ricky Riccardi

Pantheon $28.95

His brilliant early success often causes music critics to cast Satchmo’s later years into shadow — Ricky Riccardi intends to show why this tendency is wrong. (June)

Witnesses to an Extreme Century

Robert Jay Lifton

Free Press: $30

A psychiatrist immersed in history, Lifton has devoted his life to probing some of the darkest moments of the 20th century. (May)

Wonder Girl

The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Don Van Natta Jr.

Little, Brown: $27.99

The first woman to play in the PGA and a founder of the LPGA, Babe Didrikson was a great all-sport athlete. In addition to golf, she was accomplished in basketball, baseball, diving and boxing. (June)

Wendy and the Lost Boys

The Uncommon Life of Wendy Wasserstein

Julie Salamon

Penguin: $29.95

Julie Salamon had exclusive access to the late playwright Wendy Wasserstein’s private papers, journals and letters while creating a book that had the full cooperation of the Wasserstein family and literary executors. (August)

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