Field Notes and Ring Cycles
New titles track decades of change in the world of sports, from a pioneering cyclist in the segregated U.S. at the turn of the 20th century through the current generation of professional superstars.
All the Way
Joe Namath, with Sean Mortimer and Don Yaeger. Little, Brown, May
Fifty years after Namath’s Super Bowl III “guarantee” that assured a win for his underdog team and made him a media darling, the 12-season New York Jets quarterback dishes about his life on and off the field, including the injuries and addictions that plagued him throughout his career.
At Home with Muhammad Ali
Hana Ali. Amistad, May
In the author’s third book about her father—the world heavyweight boxing champion, Olympic gold medalist, and activist Muhammad Ali—she draws on tapes he recorded beginning in the 1970s, plus journals, letters, and photographs, to bring readers inside Ali’s head, as well as into his home.
Gerry Cooney and John Grady. Rowman & Littlefield, June
The two-time Golden Gloves champion chronicles the abuse he suffered as a child, career milestones including his 1982 match with world heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes, and his battle against alcohol addiction.
Marcus Thompson II. Atria, May
Kevin Durant is widely regarded as among the best basketball players of his generation. A year after joining the Golden State Warriors, Durant was the team’s top scorer in every finals game, helping the team win the 2017 title. Thompson, a sports columnist who spent a decade on the Golden State Warriors beat while at the San Jose Mercury News, is also the author of 2017’s Golden, about Durant’s teammate Steph Curry.
Mind and Matter
John Urschel and Louisa Thomas. Penguin Press, May
Urschel, a PhD candidate in mathematics at MIT and former offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, explains his double life as a scholar-athlete. PW’s starred review called the book a “brilliant memoir [that] explores the challenges of making difficult choices and the rewards of following one’s passions in life.”
The Sixth Man
Andre Iguodala, with Carvell Wallace. Blue Rider, June
After nine seasons in the NBA, Iguodala signed with the Golden State Warriors in 2012 and was named 2015 finals MVP. Also a successful tech investor, Iguodala advocates for professional athletes learning to manage their fortunes responsibly.
Mark Kram Jr. Ecco, June
The early 1970s rivalry between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali transcended boxing to become a sociocultural conflict. Kram, author of the 2013 PEN/ESPN award-winning Like Any Normal Day, interviewed Frazier before his death in 2011, and here provides context for why blue-collar Americans embraced him as the anti-Ali.
Melissa Isaacson. Midway, Aug.
The Chicago Tribune’s first woman beat writer assigned to cover the Bears and the Bulls gives a personal account of the early days of mandated gender equality in school athletics. In 1975, three years after Title IX, Isaacson made her high school girls basketball team. Competitive sports, she writes, rescued her and her teammates from their collective frustrations and troubled homes.
The World’s Fastest Man
Michael Kranish. Scribner, May
A Washington Post investigative reporter and political biographer (Trump Revealed; John F. Kerry) turns his attention to athletics in this portrait of Major Taylor, who broke barriers during the Jim Crow era by winning the 1899 ICA Track Cycling Championship. “Kranish provides a sharp-eyed account,” PW’s review said, “of a nearly forgotten African-American sports legend.”
Sing Our Own Song
Memoirs by hip-hop artists and singer-songwriters, plus a long-in-the-works profile of a blues legend, reveal the influences, good and bad, on musicians and their artistry.
Forever and Ever, Amen
Randy Travis, with Ken Abraham. Nelson, May
Travis worked as a cook and club singer before his 1986 debut album, Storms of Life, took off. He writes of his hard-won rise and subsequent fall, which began with the dissolution of his marriage in 2009. Struggles with alcohol abuse, an arrest, and a major health crisis followed, and after taking time off to recover, Travis was inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.
Rick Ross, with Neil Martinez-Belkin. Hanover Square, Sept.
The hip-hop mogul and first artist signed to Diddy’s Cîroc Entertainment recounts his childhood in Miami’s Carol City projects; the dichotomy of working as a correctional officer by day, drug dealer by night; and the lucky breaks that led to and followed his 2006 breakout hit, “Hustlin.’ ”
No Walls and the Recurring Dream
Ani DiFranco. Viking, May
DiFranco, a Grammy Award–winning singer-songwriter and feminist activist, has written an “honest and passionate” memoir, PW’s review said, and “a powerful reflection on her life and career.” She traces her life from her days as an emancipated minor sleeping in a Buffalo bus station through founding Righteous Babe Records and beyond, discussing her romantic hardships and social activism.
Up Jumped the Devil
Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow. Chicago Review, June
This biography of the Mississippi Delta bluesman Robert Johnson is decades in the making: Wardlow has been interviewing Johnson’s associates since the early 1960s, and Conforth began researching his life in 1970. Johnson, who died in 1938 at age 27, is famously said to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his prodigious talent.
Talib Kweli. MCD, Sept.
Kweli has collaborated with artists including Common, Kendrick Lamar, and Pharrell Williams, and for 20 years has performed with Mos Def as the duo Black Star. In his memoir, he recalls growing up in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in the 1980s and ’90s, as part of the first generation for whom hip-hop was already an established culture.
More Than Words
Several bios and memoirs turn the tables on literary figures and journalists, putting them in the position of subject.
All That You Leave Behind
Erin Lee Carr. Ballantine, May
Carr, a documentary filmmaker who has battled alcohol addiction, comes to terms with her late father, New York Times journalist David Carr. She “delivers a clear-eyed view into multigenerational substance abuse,” PW’s starred review said, “and simultaneously celebrates the redemption of a father’s love.”
Becoming Dr. Seuss
Brian Jay Jones. Dutton, May
In what PW’s review called a “comprehensive and thoughtful” biography of Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), “Jones does not ignore problems in Geisel’s early work, including some racial stereotypes,” yet “convincingly shows him as a transformative figure in children’s publishing.”
The Journalist of Castro Street
Andrew E. Stoner. Univ. of Illinois, June
According to the publisher, this is the first biography of San Francisco Chronicle reporter Randy Shilts, who died in 1994 and whose books include the landmark 1987 account of the early years of the AIDS crisis, And the Band Played On.
More Than Enough
Elaine Welteroth. Viking, June
In 2016, when Welteroth was promoted to Teen Vogue editor-in-chief at age 29, she was the youngest ever Condé Nast editor and the second African-American Condé Nast editor-in-chief. During her two-year tenure, she upped the magazine’s coverage of politics and social justice issues and challenged readers to become more civically engaged.
Benjamin Moser. Ecco, Sept.
Moser (Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector) was given access to the restricted archives of Susan Sontag, the influential essayist, novelist, and critic who died in 2004. He also interviewed her closest associates, some of whom, including Annie Leibovitz, had never spoken on the record about Sontag.
Truth Worth Telling
Scott Pelley. Hanover Square, May
The former anchor of CBS Evening News and longtime 60 Minutes correspondent recalls some of the most memorable experiences of his 30-year career, and the many risks he took reporting from overseas war zones and on 9/11.
Before they were celebrities, Ty Pennington, Craig Ferguson, and other small-screen stars were ordinary kids dealing with familiar childhood pitfalls. (And then there’s John Waters.)
Everyone Can Be a Ninja
Akbar Gbajabiamila. Gallery, May
One of seven children of Nigerian immigrant parents, Gbajabiamila grew up in South Central Los Angeles, wanting to play professional basketball. He found success instead playing for the NFL, before moving into radio and then TV, where he now hosts American Ninja Warrior.
Life to the Extreme
Ty Pennington, with Travis Thrasher. Zondervan, May
The celebrity carpenter known for Trading Spaces and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition recalls being pegged as a troublemaker as a child, until he discovered that working with his hands gave him focus. In college, he was diagnosed with ADHD and has since become an advocate for awareness of the disorder.
John Waters. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May
In what PW’s review called a “delightful hybrid memoir/advice book,” the self-proclaimed “filth elder” behind cult-classic films including Pink Flamingos as well as movie-turned-musical-turned-movie Hairspray offers tips to aspiring artists, punctuated by appearances from actors including Divine, Johnny Depp, and Patricia Hearst.
Tan France. St. Martin’s, May
The style expert on the Neflix show Queer Eye discusses growing up as one of the few Pakistani kids in his South Yorkshire town, developing his fashion sense and career, and coming out to his family at age 34. It adds up to what PW’s review called “a feisty and affecting memoir” full of “charming anecdotes and candid opinions.”
Riding the Elephant
Craig Ferguson. Blue Rider, May
In his second memoir (after 2010’s American on Purpose), which PW’s review called “smart, humble, and witty,” the former host of the Late Late Show presents his serious side when discussing his alcoholism, his mother’s death, and his divorce, but allows for plenty of humor.
Public Service Announcements
The political is personal in these books by and about prominent figures in government and the military.
Education of an Idealist
Samantha Power. Dey Street, Sept.
Born in London to Irish parents, Power covered the Yugoslav Wars for various outlets before working as an adviser to then-senator Barack Obama and later serving as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. She won a 2003 Pulitzer Prize for “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide.
David L. Roll. Dutton Caliber, July
Roll, the author of two previous books on WWII and a nonresident fellow at the German Marshall Fund, profiles George Marshall, the five-decade military man who, as secretary of state following WWII, advocated for the U.S. commitment to Europe’s recovery that became the Marshall Plan.
The Making of a Justice
John Paul Stevens. Little, Brown, May
Retired Supreme Court justice Stevens recounts his life and career, from his experiences as a naval traffic analyst at Pearl Harbor during WWII to his tenure on the highest court in the land.
The Method to the Madness
Allen Salkin and Aaron Short. All Points, July
After interviewing 100 people close to President Trump, the coauthors concluded that his election was the culmination of a plan hatched in 1999, in which Trump identified a disenfranchised constituency and honed a message appealing to their needs.
William McRaven. Grand Central, May
The retired Navy admiral and author of the no-nonsense self-help title Make Your Bed, which has sold 759,000 print copies since it published in 2017, per NPD BookScan, writes of childhood exploits—sneaking into high-security nuclear sites, for instance—as well as his career as a Navy SEAL and commander of the U.S. Special Operations Forces.
Live to Tell
Medical issues and youthful adversity are at the heart of these forthcoming survival stories.
The Blink of an Eye
Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard. The Experiment, May
At age 38, a bout of bacterial meningitis left Kjærgaard, a Danish scientist, in a coma. When she awoke weeks later, she was unable to communicate beyond blinking her eyes. She describes her long road to recovery after being given only a 5% chance of survival.
Body Leaping Backward
Maureen Stanton. HMH, July
Stanton (Killer Stuff and Tons of Money) grew up in the 1970s in Walpole, Mass., one of seven children in a Catholic family whose parents’ marriage failed. She charts her tumultuous adolescence—her mother began stealing to support the family, while Stanton became addicted to angel dust—against the backdrop of a changing America.
I’m Telling the Truth, but I’m Lying
Bassey Ikpi. Harper Perennial, Aug.
Ikpi, a Nigerian-born spoken word artist and mental health advocate, dissects two aspects of her personality: the confident performer who toured with Russell Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam, and the woman suffering from undiagnosed anxiety and bipolar disorder.
Anne Boyer. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sept.
Poet and essayist Boyer, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer shortly after turning 41, details her experience navigating modern medical care and the economics that drive it, as well as the tradition of women writing about their illnesses, including Kathy Acker, Audre Lorde, and Susan Sontag.
The Yellow House
Sarah M. Broom. Grove, Aug.
Broom documents growing up as one of 12 children in the shotgun house her mother bought in 1961, in New Orleans East, as a 19-year-old widow with three children at the time. The neighborhood, outside of the tourist circuit, was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina; on the 10th anniversary of the disaster, Broom wrote in the New Yorker about the difficulty of returning to the city after the storm.
Lawbreakers, former believers, and activists have at least one thing in common: an unwillingness to play by the rules.
Doris Payne, with Zelda Lockhart. Amistad, Sept.
An international jewel thief for six decades, Payne, now 88, writes of how the racism she encountered in a jewelry store as an African-American teenager prompted her to begin her life of crime. Her wit and charm protected her before and after her first arrest in the 1970s, when she stole a diamond ring in Monte Carlo worth more than $500,000.
Anne Choma. Penguin Books, June
Using previously unpublished entries from coded diaries, Choma dissects the life of Anne Lister, a British adventurer who, in 1834, openly celebrated her marriage to a wealthy socialite, Ann Walker. An eight-episode adaptation premieres on HBO April 22.
Haben Girma. Twelve, Aug.
Girma, the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School and a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree, advocates for the disabled, refugees, women, and minorities. She writes “with wit and passion,” our starred review said, of “navigating her often unaccommodating world.”
Leaving the Witness
Amber Scorah. Viking, June
Now an editor at Scholastic, Scorah is a third-generation Jehovah’s Witness who had once proselytized door to door. Her faith brought her to Shanghai, where exposure to other ways of thinking led to a break from her religion, her family, and her former life.
River of Fire
Helen Prejean. Random House, Aug.
The activist nun and author of Dead Man Walking shares her story. After a well-to-do childhood, Prejean joined a convent at age 18 and was in her 40s when she recognized her mission to work on behalf of those at society’s margins. Her faith journey includes friendships with women who inspired her, as well as with a priest who wanted to marry her.