From Chief Justice Marshall to Renoir’s Dancer | Biography Previews, Feb. 2018

Heminway, John. In Full Flight: A Story of Africa and Atonement. Knopf. Feb. 2018. 336p. ISBN 9781524732974. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524732981. Downloadable: Random Audio. BIOGRAPHY
“She probably saved more lives than any other individual in east Africa—if not the whole continent,” said Richard Leakey of Dr. Anne Spoerry, who settled in Kenya after World War II and joined the Flying Doctors Service, eventually earning the nickname Mama Daktari, or Mother Doctor. But her noble efforts hid her dark past as a collaborator with Nazi high-ups when she was interned at Ravensbrück concentration camp during the war. From an author (No Man’s Land: A Personal Journey into Africa) and award-winning filmmaker.

Hewitt, Catherine. Renoir’s Dancer: The Secret Life of Suzanne Valadon. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2018. 480p. ISBN 9781250157652. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250157645. BIOGRAPHY
If you think you don’t know Suzanne Valadon, you’re wrong; she was the model who figured in beloved paintings by Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, Puvis de Chavannes, and others. She was also a painter in her own right, presenting less idealized visions of women than her confreres and becoming the first woman painter admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts. Author of the well-received The Mistress of Paris, Hewitt here paints a remarkable life.

Morton, Andrew. Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy. Grand Central. Feb. 2018. 400p. ISBN 9781455566976. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781455566969. CD/downloadable: Hachette Audio. BIOGRAPHY
Noted for popular celebrity biographies whose subjects range from Angelina Jolie to Princess Diana, Morton draws on diaries, letters, and other previously unseen or little-known sources to paint a new portrait of the woman for whom Edward VIII gave up the throne. With sources ranging from Wallis’s friend Constance Coolidge to ambassadors William Bullitt and Robert Worth Bingham to Laura Corrigan, a Cleveland society hostess, this should be intriguing. With a 60,000-copy first printing.

Paul, Joel Richard. Without Precedent: Chief Justice John Marshall and His Times. Riverhead. Feb. 2018. 512p. ISBN 9781594488238. $30; ebk. ISBN 9780525533276. Downloadable: Penguin Audio. BIOGRAPHY
A soldier with George Washington at Valley Forge, a Federalist as influential as his cousin Thomas Jefferson, secretary of state under John Adams, and our longest-serving chief justice, Founding Father John Marshall gets a big biography from Paul, professor of constitutional and international law at the University of California Hastings Law School. So, yes, readers will learn important things about the country’s nascent justice system, but Paul also dives into the personal, from Marshall’s staring-daggers relationship with Jefferson to his love for a wife who wished he would spend more time at home.

Unger Miles J. Picasso and the Painting That Shocked the World. S. & S. Feb. 2018 480p. ISBN 9781476794211. $32.50; ebk. ISBN 9781476794235. BIOGRAPHY
In 1900, 18-year-old Pablo Picasso arrived in the City of Light, fell in with a group painters, sculptors, and poets determined to change the world, and slowly emerged as one of the greatest world changers of them all, veritably defining modernity with his masterly Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. How Picasso became Picasso, as reported by Unger (Michelangelo), who writes on art, books, and culture for the Economist.

Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

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