Authoritative and thorough fare for royal watchers.

PRINCE PHILIP REVEALED

The longtime editor of Majesty magazine presents a refreshingly nonhagiographic biography of Prince Philip (b. 1921).

In her latest book on the royal family, Seward, a leading expert on the subject, paints a picture of a complex figure: a man of intelligence and energy with a wide array of achievements who has also been a bad father and a difficult, cantankerous boor. Born a prince in Greece, Philip's links to British, Danish, German, and Russian royal bloodlines were so impeccable that the fact that he came into his marriage with two suitcases of possessions to his name—plus a disgraced father, a schizophrenic mother, and four sisters married to Germans—was no obstacle. Third cousins, Elizabeth and Philip met when they were very young; the princess was utterly smitten at age 13. Philip's way with the ladies is well known—Daphne du Maurier is just one of many alleged lovers—but Seward downplays that element of his life. "What remains,” she writes, “is a combination of speculation, innuendo, and pure invention.” Ever the sportsman, Philip is "a very good cricketer, a world-class polo player, a race-winning yachtsman, and a world-champion carriage driver, and…has flown thousands of hours in many types of aircraft." He's also a passionate conservationist, a talented interior decorator, and co-author of a philosophy book that explores such questions as "What are we doing here? What is the point of existence?” Seward's all-seeing gaze follows the man into his rural retirement, by which time "the divorces of three out of four of his children, the divorce of his first grandson, and the problems with his grandson Prince Harry and, more poignantly, his own son Prince Andrew make a depressing appraisal." In 2019, at age 97, he was involved in a car accident that injured civilians, and he gave up his keys. Thereafter, he "pounced on the idea of resurrecting the late Queen Mother’s golf buggy." We leave him with his memories, tooling around the farm.

Authoritative and thorough fare for royal watchers.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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