Arts & Humanities Reviews, April 1, 2012

starred review star Hirst, Michael. Michelangelo: The Achievement of Fame, 1475‚ 1534. Yale Univ. 2012. 416p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780300118612. $40. FINE ARTS

Leading Michelangelo historian Hirst (art history, emeritus, Courtauld Inst. of Art, London) has penned the first of two volumes that will make up a major new biography of the artist (1475‚ 1564). The book covers Michelangelo’s early career and works from the time he was apprenticed in the workshop of Florentine painter Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449‚ 94) to his final move to Rome in 1534 at age 59. Hirst draws upon recent archival discoveries, restorations, and editions of the artist’s correspondence and contracts to sketch a more complete picture of his early career and works. Arranged chronologically, the book discusses Michelangelo’s artistic influences, his contracts and finances, his personality, his relationships with family and fellow artists, and his commissions for the Medici, the Church, and others. With the help of 70 black-and-white illustrations, Hirst situates many of Michelangelo’s masterpieces within their economic, political, and social contexts. VERDICT Sure to become definitive, this authoritative, informative, scholarly yet accessible biography, based on new findings about Michelangelo’s career and works, will interest students, scholars, museum professionals, and others. Highly recommended.‚ Cheryl Ann Lajos, Free Lib. of Philadelphia

starred review star Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. Against Wind and Tide: Letters and Journals, 1947‚ 1986. Pantheon. Apr. 2012. c.352p. ed. by Reeve Lindbergh. illus. index. ISBN 9780307378880. $27.95. LIT

These previously unpublished letters and diary entries composed by Lindbergh (1906‚ 2001; Gift from the Sea) between the ages of 40 and 80 make up the sixth volume of such writings. The collection is full of introspective, beautifully crafted accounts of joys and conflicts; a recurring theme is Lindbergh’s frustration at the confines of prescribed gender roles. Her youngest daughter, Reeve, edits this final volume (the previous ones were published by Anne Lindbergh in her lifetime). Lindbergh was an avid letter writer, corresponding during these years with well-known people such as Lady Bird Johnson and Leonard Bernstein. She wrote thoughtfully and encouragingly to her children, although she felt burdened at times as a wife and mother. She longed for the solitude needed for creativity, yet she also questioned her view of solitude as a higher state of being. Her husband, Charles Lindbergh, was often absent but plays a prominent role here as Anne frequently writes to or about him, including reflections following his death in 1974. VERDICT This is a rich and inviting book. Lindbergh’s fame and the popularity of memoir make it an enticing publication to be added to all collections that include the author’s works. [See Prepub Alert, 9/29/11.]‚ Stacy Russo, Santa Ana Coll. Lib., CA

starred review star Gutjahr, Paul C. The Book of Mormon: A Biography. Princeton Univ. (Lives of Great Religious Books). Apr. 2012. c.280p. illus. index. ISBN 9780691144801. $24.95. REL

This is a book that has been waiting to be written. There have been previous accounts of the Book of Mormon by believers and nonbelievers, but most have been too polemical for general readers. Gutjahr (English, Indiana Univ.; Charles Hodge: Guardian of American Orthodoxy) doesn’t ignore controversial issues of history and authenticity, as is the case with some other short introductions; rather, he provides several alternative interpretations of the book’s origins. But the uniqueness here is in his account of the book’s publication history and its path to becoming part of Mormon and more general culture in fiction, film, and theater. Trenchant illustrations accompany this part of the work. Most people are probably unaware that a number of early silent movies were based on the Book of Mormon and that many novels have adaptDd it. The well-known LDS pageant America’s Witness for Christ is discussed as well. VERDICT Needless to say, especially with the tremendous success of the Broadway show The Book of Mormon, there is a great need for a book like this. It should appeal to scholars and interested general readers alike.‚ David S. Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Libs., Philadelphia

The following titles are reviewed in the April 1 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.


Aslet, Clive. The Arts & Crafts Country House: From the Archives of Country Life. Aurum, dist. by Trafalgar Square. May 2012. 192p. photogs. ISBN 9781845136802. $75. ARCHITECTURE

Edwards, Elizabeth. The Camera as Historian: Amateur Photographers and Historical Imagination, 1885‚ 1918. Duke Univ. 2012. c.360p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780822350903. $99.95; pap. ISBN 9780822351047. $29.95. PHOTOG

Mark, Mary Ellen. Prom. Getty Museum. Apr. 2012. 164p. illus. ISBN 9781606061084. $49.95 with DVD. PHOTOG

Sykes, Christopher Simon. David Hockney: The Biography; 1937‚ 1975. Nan A. Talese: Doubleday. Apr. 2012. c.384p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780385531443. $35. FINE ARTS


Chambers, Roland. The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome. David R. Godine. 2012. c.400p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781567924176. $29.95. LIT

Conversations with David Foster Wallace. Univ. of Mississippi. (Literary Conversations). Apr. 2012. c.208p. ed. by Stephen J. Burn. index. ISBN 9781617032264. $65; pap. ISBN 9781617032271. $25. LIT

Performing Arts

Katz, Mark. Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ. Oxford Univ. May 2012. c.336p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780195331127. pap. $24.95. MUSIC

Pantoliano, Joe. Asylum: A Memoir About Hollywood, Mental Illness, Recovery, and Being My Mother’s Son. Weinstein. Apr. 2012. c.256p. ISBN 9781602861350. $25. FILM

Schoenfeld, Gerald. Mr. Broadway: The Inside Story of the Shuberts, the Shows, and the Stars. Applause: Hal Leonard. Apr. 2012. c.304p. photogs. ISBN 9781557838278. $27.99. THEATER


Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. Hill & Wang: Farrar. 2012. c.288p. tr. from French by Richard Howard. ISBN 9780374532345. $28. PHIL


Galassi, Jonathan. Left-Handed. Knopf. 2012. c.128p. ISBN 9780307957085. $26. POETRY

Hong, Cathy Park. Engine Empire. Norton. May 2012. c.96p. ISBN 9780393082845. $24.95. POETRY

Springer, Jane. Murder Ballad. Alice James. May 2012. c.80p. ISBN 9781882295937. pap. $15.95. POETRY


Gray, Patrick. Opening Paul’s Letters: A Reader’s Guide to Genre and Interpretation. Baker Academic: Baker Bk. House. 2012. c.192p. index. ISBN 9780801039225. pap. $19.99. REL