I reviewed House of Exile, a collective biography of a group of artists and intellectuals who fled Nazi Germany during WWII, at NPR.
Leslie Brody, a scholar and professor at the University of Redlands, has written an incredibly detailed, well-researched biography of muckraking journalist Jessica Mitford. I reviewed it for bookforum.com's Daily Review - thanks for reading! Jessica was a member of the notorious Mitford clan, and while most of her family supported Hitler's rise to power, Jessica, or "Decca," a Communist, ran off and eventually settled in America. She wrote several books, including The American Way of Death, an exposé of the corrupt American funeral business. If you're interested in learning more about Decca's life, pick up Irrepressible.
I have long been fascinated by the marriage of Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, ever since I read Miller's "After the Fall," in high school. Jeffrey Meyers, an accomplished literary scholar and biographer, has written a book on the topic. Unfortunately, Meyers' obsession with Monroe's sexual and hygenic habits prevents him from saying much about the connection between Monroe and Miller - and in the end the book comes across as a sexist, biased account of Monroe's life. You'll find my thoughts in writing on The Rumpus. Thank you for reading!