Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

The Ungrateful Refugee


(Guardian::long read) – Dina Nayeri:

Dina Nayeri was just a child when she fled Iran as an asylum seeker. But as she settled into life in the US and then Europe, she became suspicious of the idea that refugees should shed their old identities and be eternally thankful. …

theguardian 2017/apr/04 refugee

Dina Nayeri: Refuge

Al Franken: Giant of the Senate


(New Yorker) – David Remnick:

Recently, Franken published “Al Franken: Giant of the Senate,” a tale that spins from a witty recounting of his upbringing, his show-business career, his election battles, and his time on the Hill, to a dead-serious look at his political influences, his wife’s early struggle with poverty and, later, alcoholism, and his hopes for American politics. It is an honest and funny piece of work, a real book, by a real person, not one of those staff-assembled products for electoral use. Franken writes movingly about political heroes like Paul Wellstone, scathingly about Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell, and mercilessly about Donald Trump. …

newyorker dehumorizer

Al Franken: Giant of the Senate

Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

Isaac Newton (1642-1727) is one of the great enigmatic characters in scientific history, an extremely reclusive and private man with a fascinating array of foibles and personality quirks. I just finished the newly released book by Rob Iliffe, professor of history at Oxford University, that looks closely at the religious studies of this famous physicist and mathematician, based on a detailed examination of his vast collection of private notes, papers, and correspondence. …

singham 2017/08/01 priest-of-nature

Rob Iliffe: Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton (2017)

Most Likely to Succeed


(New Yorker::Books) – Zoë Heller:

His Royal Highness Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, K.G., K.T., G.C.B., O.M., A.K., Q.S.O., P.C., A.D.C., Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, is a deeply unpopular man. Writers in both the conservative and the liberal press regularly refer to him as “a prat,” “a twit,” and “an idiot,” with no apparent fear of giving offense to their readership. …

newyorker 2017/04/10 prince-charles

Sally Bedell Smith: Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life

My Life with Oliver Sacks


(Guardian Books) – Bill Hayes:

In this extract from his memoir, Bill Hayes, partner of Oliver Sacks, recalls the neurologist’s unworldly charm, their remarkable stay with Björk in Iceland, and the dignity of Sacks’s final weeks. …

theguardian 2017/mar/26 insomniac-city

Bill Hayes: Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me

Ian Rankin’s Career


(The Independent) – Andy Martin:

That crime fiction is no longer seen as inferior to ‘literature’ is in part thanks to Rebus, Ian Rankin’s stoic Scots detective, now in his 21st novel and loved by millions. Good job the author didn’t become an accountant …

independent 7458511

Ian Rankin

Hell’s Angel


(YouTube) – Anti-Theist:

Christopher Hitchens investigates whether Mother Teresa of Calcutta deserves her saintly image. Probes her campaigns against contraception and abortion and her relationships with right-wing political leaders. Contributors include the cameraman who worked on the 1969 film `Mother Teresa of Calcutta’ which was presented by Malcolm Muggeridge, the journalist Mihir Bose, and former volunteer Mary Loudon. …

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Christopher Hitchens: Mother Teresa: Hell's Angel

A Saint


(Slate::The Slatest) – Daniel Politi:

It’s official. Mother Teresa of Calcutta is now a saint of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis declared on Sunday morning, ending a fast-track canonization process a mere 19 years after her death. …

Mother Teresa also had plenty of skeptics and critics, most famously Christopher Hitchens, who called her a “fanatic” and a “fraud.” Others criticized what they said were low standards of hygiene in hospitals run by her sisterhood, and say she had no problem accepting money from dictators. Feminists and aid organizations were never fans of how Mother Teresa campaigned against abortion and birth control. And some say she failed to use her fame to really get to the root of the problem and help the poor get out of poverty. Plus, there are plenty of people who have debunked the miracles credited to Mother Teresa. …

the_slatest 2016/09/04 a_saint

Christopher Hitchens: The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice

Wikipedia: The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice

The Making of Donald Trump


(AlterNet) –  Steven Rosenfeld:

David Cay Johnston has been one of the nation’s premier investigative reporters for decades, specializing in the ways government works for the wealthy at the expense of everyday Americans. He first met and covered Donald Trump in the 1980s. In his latest book, The Making of Donald Trump, he profiles the many ways the Republican presidential nominee has gotten wealthy by bilking others, colluding with criminals, evading prosecution, and romancing the press. …

alternet sleazier-and-slimier

David Cay Johnston: The Making of Donald Trump

Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

Tony Schwartz was the ghostwriter for Donald Trump’s 1987 book The Art of the Deal that Trump touts as evidence of his ability to make deals that he thinks is the key to why he would make a great president. That process threw Schwartz into close and extended contact with Trump. He has viewed with alarm in the past year Trump’s rise in politics and has felt guilty for his own role in painting him in a better light than he deserved and now has decided to describe the person he really saw. …

singham 2016/07/18 trumps-ghostwriter

Tony Schwartz/Donald Trump: The Art of the Deal