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Biography 25.4 (2002) 708-766
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Contributing editors Judith Coullie, Michael Fassiotto, Corey Hollis, Noel Kent, Gabriel Merle, Barbara Bennett Peterson, Forrest R. Pitts, and Bronwen Solyom provided the excerpts for this issue.
Publications reviewed include Albion, American Scientist, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, The Historian, The Journal of Asian Studies, Los Angeles Times Book Review (LATBR), Le Monde des Livres, The New York Review of Books (NYRB), The New York Times Book Review (NYTBR), The New Yorker, the Pacific Historical Review, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Science, Times Literary Supplement (TLS), The Weekend Australian, and The Women's Review of Books; and from South Africa, Cape Times, The Citizen, D'Arts, East Cape Weekend, Fairlady, The Herald, Journal of Southern African Studies, Mail & Guardian, The Natal Witness, Pretoria News, The Sunday Independent, and the Sunday Times.
John Adams. David McCullough. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. 751 pp. £25.00.
"David McCullough's illuminating study tells the story with sensitivity. It is sympathetic to Adams, and provides a useful guide to a process whose narrative extended far beyond the War of Independence. . . . Perhaps the freshest part of the book is the emphasis McCullough rightly places on Adams's dependence on his wife."
Colin Bonwick. TLS, Feb. 18, 2002: 7-8.
Samurai William: The Adventurer Who Unlocked Japan. Giles Milton. Sydney: Hodder Headline, 2002. 400 pp. $Aus34.95.
"Anyone who picks up this book looking for the biography of the man who inspired James Clavell's bestselling fiction, Shogun, or insight into the social history of Japan in the 16th and 17th centuries will be disappointed. Despite the generous supply of engravings and woodcuts that illustrate his text, this is a one-dimensional view taken from the quarterdeck, where the Japanese are in the background and women are wives or whores. Bracing stuff, certainly, if you like your history shaped by Robert Louis Stevenson and the business pages. But woefully inadequate when it comes to the extraordinary story of William Adams, a humble ship's pilot reared in Limehouse who became the shogun's trusted adviser and died a wealthy man in Japan in 1623."
Sally Blakeney. Weekend Australian, June 15-16, 2002: 13. [End Page 708]
Une femme [Una Donna]. Sibilla Aleramo. Trans. Pierre-Paul Plan. Preface by James-Alois Parkheimer. Paris: Ed. duRocher/Anatolia, 2002.
Raped, married against her will, deserting husband and child for lovers innumerable, never ceasing afterwards to feel guilty and solitary, Rina Faccio wrote, under the pen name of Sibilla Aleramo, a lyrical, violent, implacable autobiography. Hailed by Rodin, Stefan Zweig, Gorki, this ageless classic (first published in 1906) is the founding book of Italian feminism. With the translation of Una Donna, the French public can discover a passionate, emancipated woman.
René de Ceccatty. Le Monde des Livres, June 14, 2002: 2.
Armstrong, Lil Hardin
Just for a Thrill: Lil Hardin Armstrong, First Lady of Jazz. James L. Dickerson. New York: Cooper Square, 2002. 241 pp. $26.95.
A biography of the jazz pianist who was Louis Armstrong's second wife and business manager. "At last a writer has come along with the desire to praise Lil Hardin, whose adult life centered around Armstrong at a time when women didn't count for much in the jazz world. . . . Hardin had little chance to make a name for herself independent of Armstrong, and though a lesser talent than he—almost everyone was—she definitely deserves a place of honor in jazz history. . . . Dickerson, an experienced storyteller, and jazz and blues historian, has delved into the meager sources on Hardin's early life and used them to construct a fascinating, sometimes surprising, book."
Leslie Gourse. Women's Review of Books 19.9 (June 2002): 21-22.
Je me souviens [I Remember]. Joe Bainard. Trans. Marie Chaix. Paris: Actes Sud, "Babel," 2001. 228 pp. Euro7.
"A masterpiece which will last, at once immensely funny and profoundly moving, one of the very few books totally original I've ever read"(Paul Auster). "A delicate, intimate nostalgic autobiography . . . whose frankness might appear naive but is in fact under control" (Marie Chaix...