Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or
Orson Welles, Vol. 3: One-Man Band

Simon Callow. . Viking, $40 (496p) ISBN 978-0-670-02491-9

In the riveting and wonderfully wrought third volume of Callow's ambitious four-part biography of Orson Welles (after Orson Welles, Vol. 2: Hello Americans), the biographer and actor examines the forces that led to Welles's self-imposed exile from America. Beginning in 1947 as Welles prepares to film Othello and ending in 1965 following the release of another Shakespeare adaptation, Chimes at Midnight, this entry pursues Hollywood's enfant terrible through the difficult period that nonetheless spawned some of his greatest films, including Touch of Evil. Published 101 years after Welles's birth, Callow's book is a genuine gift to film buffs and historians. Drawing on previously published materials, extensive interviews, and diary excerpts, Callow provides new insight into Welles's character and a deeper appreciation of his broad talent. Despite the author's evident admiration for his subject, this isn't a fawning homage but a warts-and-all look at Welles's life and at the creative processes that allowed him to flourish in film, theater, radio, and television. Callow's acting background and flair for drama transform his research into an immersive, engaging, and immensely readable portrait of Welles, revealing a complicated man and innovative artist whose own life mirrored the Shakespearian tragedies of which he was so fond. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 09/23/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Born to Run

Bruce Springsteen. Simon & Schuster, $32.50 (528p) ISBN 978-1-5011-4151-5

In his long-awaited memoir, Springsteen takes readers on an entertaining, high-octane journey from the streets of New Jersey to all over the world. A natural storyteller, Springsteen commands our attention, regaling us with his tales of growing up poor with a misanthropic father and a mother who had endless faith in people. The Boss delights us with humorous stories of his first guitar—which he couldn't get his seven-year-old fingers around—and his inspiration to become a musician after seeing Elvis on The Ed Sullivan Show: "I WANTED... I NEEDED... TO ROCK! NOW!" Once he's hooked, he can't give up this insatiable hunger to rock like Chuck Berry, or the Rolling Stones, or the Beatles; soon he's playing in his first band, the Castiles, and eventually with another band, Steel Mill, opening up for Grand Funk Railroad, Ike & Tina Turner, and Iron Butterfly. Springsteen weaves a captivating story, introducing us to the essential people in his life: Patti Scialfa, Clarence Clemons, Steven Van Zandt, and producer/managers Mike Appel and Jon Landau, among many others. He offers absorbing accounts of the making of each album, and he considers Born to Run as the dividing line between musical styles, as well as the mark of the beginning of his success; he also admits that his bands were never democracies and that he makes the decisions. Most insightful, he reveals his ongoing battles with depression—"shortly after my sixtieth I slipped into a depression like I hadn't experienced"—and his eventual ability to live with this condition. Springsteen writes with the same powerful lyrical quality of his music. (Sept. 27)

Reviewed on 09/30/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation

Jeff Chang. Picador, $16 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-0-312-42948-5

Chang (Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation) sounds the alarm about the “unmistakable lurch back to resegregation” in several spheres since the late ’60s. Each chapter focuses on a different area: higher education practices and policies, campus life, funding for the arts, housing practices and policies, and the criminal justice system. Chang concludes with a challenge to the conventional narrow black/white dichotomy, examining how segregation affects Asian-Americans (“the in-betweens”). As Chang delineates present-day events, he is attentive to historical context; he is at his most provocative, thought-provoking, and informing when laying bare the economic and political structures beneath segregation practices, including the infusion of corporate executives into college management, financial inequities in arts funding, the racial transformation of housing, and the link between local budget revenues and law enforcement practices. His delineation of the “bad loop of history... crisis, reaction, backlash, complacency, crisis” in American race relations constitutes a timely appeal to end a pervasive silence over resegregation. Chang’s title is optimistic, but the content of his book is not. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/23/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life

Pat Conroy. Doubleday/Talese, $25 (320p ) ISBN 978-0-385-53086-6

Fans of Conroy (1945–2016) will relish the chance to spend more time with him in this glowing valedictory to his life and writing, and those who have never read his books may very well be enticed to do so after reading this vibrant, charming collection of blog posts, interviews, essays, and speeches from the last years of his life. Conroy’s intelligence and curiosity about life and literature blossom forth in entries that are eloquent, folksy, and sometimes brutally honest. As many readers will know, he experienced his share of hardships, vividly reflected in novels such as The Great Santini and The Lords of Discipline. But a painful past clearly never hardened him, and his exuberance for so many things shines through in the entries reproduced here: his passion for books, reading, and language; his love for friends, both old and new; his delight in the beauty of South Carolina; his reverence for teaching and teachers; and his gratitude for being a writer and for the connections he has forged because of it. In particular, he enthuses generously and gregariously about fellow writers. “Great love” was his blog sign off, and that love was clearly returned by those who knew him, as evidenced by the moving reminiscences about him included in the book, such as an introduction by his wife, author Cassandra King. (Oct.)

Reviewed on 09/23/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Extraordinary Image: Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and the Reimagining of Cinema

Robert P. Kolker. Rutgers Univ., $27.95 (248p) ISBN 978-0-8135-8309-9

Film scholar Kolker (The Cultures of American Film), whose work is often taught in film studies classrooms, devotes this disappointing study to an obscure analysis of his three favorite film directors: Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, and Alfred Hitchcock. The chief issue is that Kolker hasn’t enough original insights to justify the book. Early on, Kolker relates a story of a meeting with Paul Schrader, best known as the screenwriter of Taxi Driver. When Kolker explained his project, Schrader responded that these subjects make up “a well-trod road.” And he’s right; Kolker himself admits that there is no shortage of biographies and monographs on his trio. His book is often repetitive and unclear, problems exacerbated by weak structure. In brief, this is a misfire. It’s heartening to know that Kolker has revised several of his books several times over; this one could be something special with a second or third look by its undoubtedly enthusiastic and thoughtful author. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/23/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Writers’ Rights: Freelance Journalism in a Digital Age

Nicole S. Cohen. McGill-Queen’s Univ. (CDC, U.S. dist.; Georgetown Terminal, Canadian dist.), $34.95 (306p) ISBN 978-0-7735-4796-4

Cohen’s debut effectively studies how freelance journalism has changed, and been forced to change, with the advent of the digital age. Using the early days of the Canadian Freelance Union in 2007 as a soft launch point, Cohen examines the historical shifts and present conundrums that have changed freelance journalism from an (ideally) autonomous business model to one rife with underpaid labor, precarity and devaluation of work, and exploitation of society’s most vulnerable—when they’re involved at all. Her approach and theses are intersectionally feminist, and many of her arguments highlight and attack fundamental inequality in the distribution of corporate power: “The perspectives and voices in media are increasingly homogeneous, reflecting the interests of those already in power. In particular, women, people of color, aboriginal people, and working-class people are underrepresented in media industries as journalists, editors, executives, and managers, as well as sources and subjects.” Through interviews and statistical data, and with a healthy bibliography and notes, Cohen has crafted a surprisingly hopeful, decidedly thorough treatise on shifting power structures and business ethics in a field that’s constantly reinventing itself. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/23/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Chasing Utopia: The Future of the Kibbutz in a Divided Israel

David Leach. ECW (Perseus/Legato, U.S. dist.; Jaguar, Canadian dist.), $17.95 trade paper (344p) ISBN 978-1-77041-340-5

This “investigative travel memoir” from Canadian journalist Leach (Fatal Tide) provides an informative history of the Israeli kibbutzim, socialist farms where generations of young volunteers have lived and worked communally, and examines prospects for the movement’s future. In 1988, as young non-Jewish man, Leach spent eight eventful months in Kibbutz Shamir in the midst of the movement’s decline and restructuring phase and the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict. In 2009, he returned to find the kibbutz’s vision shattered — agriculture had been discarded and replaced by technology-based industries, shared property was privatized, and laborers had been hired. Over the course of three extended research trips in five years, Leach—like other eminent former kibbutz volunteers, such as Noam Chomsky and Bernie Sanders—struggles to reconcile his utopian philosophy with the realities of a politically divided state. The book is laced with interviews with Jewish and Palestinian activists. Leach hopes that their “new experiments in radical sharing, coexistence and moral dissent will take root, grow broad and strong as the kibbutz once did,” but many Israelis who see the kibbutz ideology as dead or dying would deem Leach’s hope misplaced and perhaps hopelessly utopian. Agent: Sam Hiyate, Rights Factory. (Sept.)

Reviewed on 09/23/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind

Siri Hustvedt. Simon & Schuster, $35 (576p) ISBN 978-1-5011-4109-6

In this erudite collection, novelist Hustvedt (The Blazing World) explores philosophical questions central to the humanities using research from other disciplines, such as biology, feminist theory, and neuroscience. The questions relate to the self, epistemology, and art and literature, among other things. In the middle portion of the book, in an essay that ought to become canonical, Hustvedt examines the problematic underpinnings of current scientific fads such as evolutionary psychology and computational theory of mind. Her lengthy exercise in phenomenology provides a dense, succinct overview of the mind/body problem, which “has haunted Western philosophy since the Greeks.” The questions that preoccupy Hustvedt are the questions of a novelist, but they take consciousness itself as their subject: Where do ideas come from? How do stories get created? What is reflective self-consciousness, and how is it formed? What role do imagination, emotion, memory, and the unconscious play in this thing we call mind? The book conveys the wide range of Hustvedt’s reading as she focuses on the interstices between people; between disciplines; and between concepts such as art and science, truth and fiction, feeling and perception. The research is sound and the scholarship engaging, and the exacting prose turns humorous and almost warm when Hustvedt incorporates her personal reflections, exhibiting, as she says of the artist Louise Bourgeois, “a quick mind, interested above all in its own contents.” (Dec.)

Reviewed on 09/23/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary

Joe Jackson. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $30 (624p) ISBN 978-0-374-25330-1

Jackson (Atlantic Fever) panoramically renders a narrative as majestic as the American West in this fine account of the life of Black Elk, an Oglala Lakota holy man. With compassion and clarity, Jackson portrays Black Elk as a man haunted by his inability to make sense of the “Great Vision” that came to him as a child. Born in 1863 to a family of medicine men, he grew up during a time of declining fortunes for his people. Black Elk’s life provides a window on major events in the post–Civil War West: Red Cloud’s War, the battle of Little Bighorn, and the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Through those years, Black Elk sharpened his capacity for visions and cultivated his healing powers, always searching for ways to help the Oglala and even working with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. All of this is fascinating, but Jackson isn’t content to recount a familiar story. He brilliantly frames it with an incisive discussion of the creation of John Neihardt’s 1932 as-told-to book, Black Elk Speaks. Jackson digs into Native American culture and what it meant for Black Elk to be a holy man, especially in light of his 1904 conversion to Catholicism. He has produced a major contribution to Native American history. Maps & illus. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 09/23/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
Barbara Newhall Follett: A Life in Letters

Edited by Stefan Cooke. Farksolia, $29.95 (638p) ISBN 978-0-9962431-1-7

The writer Barbara Follett, as revealed in this compilation of letters, diary entries, and reviews edited by her half-nephew Cooke, lived a life that would be unbelievable if it were presented in a work of fiction. Born in 1914, Barbara began writing at age four and published her first novel, The House Without Windows, at 13. She was home-schooled and had little contact with other children; most of her early letters are to grown-up friends. She was enthralled by nature and invented her own world, Farksolia. This idyllic life was shattered when Barbara’s adored father left the family for another woman. His letters at this time are bitterly cruel. In an effort to establish Barbara as a travel writer, her mother, Helen, took her on a long odyssey to the South Pacific. Cooke’s narrative emphasizes that Barbara shared her father’s tendency to escape problems rather than confronting them. In Samoa, Barbara suffered “a smash—emotional and nervous.” Back in the U.S., she ran away and was found by the police, a widely reported incident. In 1939, shortly after her husband of five years asked for a divorce, she left her house and was never seen again. Many of the letters repeatedly cover the same ground, but anyone intrigued by this real-life mystery will want to read them all. Her fantastical life and the enigma of her disappearance are equally compelling. (BookLife)

Reviewed on 09/23/2016 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.