A vivid portrayal of six remarkable women who made history reporting on World War II.

THE CORRESPONDENTS

SIX WOMEN WRITERS ON THE FRONT LINES OF WORLD WAR II

An account of six pioneering women who worked as war journalists in World War II.

Mackrell’s chosen six came from different backgrounds though they all ended up writing for British or American news outlets. Some, like Martha Gellhorn, who was married to Ernest Hemingway; or Lee Miller, a popular fashion photographer and Vogue cover model, were already public figures. The others—Virginia Cowles, Clare Hollingworth, Helen Kirkpatrick, and Sigrid Schultz—made their marks with their intrepid reporting. All had barriers to overcome, many the result of outright misogyny (they constantly battled “sexually predatory officers or over-entitled male journalists”), and none of them backed away from dangerous assignments. Mackrell gives enough background on each to show how they became journalists—for most of them, well before the war—and how their initial beats were traditionally “feminine” subjects—e.g., society columns, fashion, or the “woman’s angle” on a topic of broader interest. Nonetheless, the persistence, determination, and daring led them to cover the Spanish Civil War (Gellhorn and Cowles), Berlin during Hitler’s rise to power (Schultz), or the experiences of frontline troops in Europe or North Africa (Hollingsworth and Kirkpatrick). Schultz, writes the author, “could not yet take Hitler seriously as a politician: he seemed to her a crude ‘fascist bugbear,’ a ‘demagogue drunk on his own word.’ ” This is incredibly rich material, and Mackrell makes the most of it, showing Gellhorn stowing away on a hospital ship to cover the D-Day landings or Miller taking a bath in Hitler’s tub, an incident immortalized in a famous photograph. The author also describes the reporters’ outraged responses to the concentration camps, which several of them saw shortly after the liberation. Mackrell concludes with a brief summary of the women’s postwar careers, capping off an exhilarating read packed with emotion and genuine humanity.

A vivid portrayal of six remarkable women who made history reporting on World War II.

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-385-54766-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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A chatty autobiography brimming with heart and humor.

PLAYING WITH MYSELF

Debut memoir from the popular comedian, actor, and writer.

In his debut memoir, Rainbow (“my very real last name”) shares his memories, beginning with his star turn in a backyard production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on his eighth birthday. Growing up on Long Island with a “showbiz-positive family,” the author depicts a flamboyant childhood influenced by his grandmother and her celebrity fascinations. “My eight-year-old childhood bedroom,” he notes, “looked more like the men’s room at a gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen.” Rainbow’s engagement with ballet classes and musical theater provoked relentless schoolyard bullying until a family move to Florida introduced him to the unique strengths to be found in coming out and celebrating his obsession with his “lord and savior,” Barbra Streisand. As his parents’ relationship deteriorated, Manhattan beckoned. In between auditions, Rainbow worked as the “jovial gay boy at the host stand” at Hooters. Honing his stand-up comedy skills, he started a blog, which branched off into a series of comedic video sketches that satirized, among other topics, a fictional relationship with Mel Gibson and a tryout for American Idol. When Rainbow began delving into political parodies, particularly his skewering of the chaotic 2016 presidential campaign, his fame exploded. “For the first few years of Trump,” he writes, “I basically lived inside a giant green screen.” Still, he admits that his career has been a constant hustle and that the isolating cross-country tours “ain’t for sissies.” Rapidly paced comic absurdities fill the remainder of the book, as the author provides anecdotes about his struggles to remain upbeat and social media relevant in the fickle entertainment world despite multiple Emmy nominations. In the concluding chapters, the author openly discusses the public backlash from past controversial comments on Twitter, which he attributes to “sloppy efforts as a young comedian” to be funny. Buoyant and campy throughout, Rainbow’s revelations and lighthearted banter will entertain fans and newbies alike.

A chatty autobiography brimming with heart and humor.

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27625-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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A refreshing celebrity memoir focused not strictly on the self but on a much larger horizon.

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WILL

One of Hollywood’s biggest stars delivers a memoir of success won through endless, relentless work and self-reckoning.

“My imagination is my gift, and when it merges with my work ethic, I can make money rain from the heavens.” So writes Smith, whose imagination is indeed a thing of wonder—a means of coping with fear, an abusive father with the heart of a drill instructor, and all manner of inner yearnings. The author’s imagination took him from a job bagging ice in Philadelphia to initial success as a partner in the Grammy-winning rap act DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Smith was propelled into stardom thanks to the ministrations of Quincy Jones, who arranged an audition in the middle of his own birthday party, bellowing “No paralysis through analysis!” when Smith begged for time to prepare. The mantra—which Jones intoned 50-odd times during the two hours it took for the Hollywood suits to draw up a contract for the hit comedy series The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air—is telling, for hidden within this memoir lies a powerful self-help book. For Smith, all of life is a challenge in which one’s feelings are largely immaterial. “I watched my father’s negative emotions seize control of his ample intellect and cause him over and over again to destroy beautiful parts of our family,” he writes, good reason for him to sublimate negativity in the drive to get what he wanted—money, at first, and lots of it, which got him in trouble with the IRS in the early 1990s. Smith, having developed a self-image that cast him as a coward, opines that one’s best life is lived by facing up to the things that hold us back. “I’ve been making a conscious effort to attack all the things that I’m scared of,” he writes, adding, “And this is scary.” It’s a good lesson for any aspiring creative to ponder—though it helps to have Smith’s abundant talent, too.

A refreshing celebrity memoir focused not strictly on the self but on a much larger horizon.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984877-92-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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