Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

New Biography of Arturo Schomburg by Vanessa Valdés 

June 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Jack London: The Fiction Writer As Social Reformer

November 1, 2015 Leave a comment

Cecelia TichiIn Cecelia Tichi’s new book Jack London: A Writer’s Fight For A Better America, she argues that London used characters and plot in his novels such as Call of the Wild and the Sea Lord not only as entertainment, but also as a way to illuminate the oppression of workers in industrial America and other unfair social conditions in the early 1900s.  London, who was the best selling author in America from 1903 to his death in 1916, mined his experiences as a laborer often working in harsh conditions to bring social reality to his popular adventure novels.  Tune in Monday at 8 a.m. CST/9 a.m. EST to KAZI Book Review for my interview.

Book Description

Jack London (1876-1916) found fame with his wolf-dog tales and sagas of the frozen North, but Cecelia Tichi challenges the long-standing view of London as merely a mass-market producer of potboilers. A onetime child laborer, London led a life of poverty in the Gilded Age before rising to worldwide acclaim for stories, novels, and essays designed to hasten the social, economic, and political advance of America. In this major reinterpretation of London’s career, Tichi examines how the beloved writer leveraged his written words as a force for the future.
Tracing the arc of London’s work from the late 1800s through the 1910s, Tichi profiles the writer’s allies and adversaries in the cities, on the factory floor, inside prison walls, and in the farmlands. Thoroughly exploring London’s importance as an artist and as a political and public figure, Tichi brings to life a man who merits recognition as one of America’s foremost public intellectuals.

Author Bio

KAZI Host Moderating Texas Book Festival Panel on Racial Identity Sunday

October 16, 2015 Leave a comment
Allyson Hobbs

Allyson Hobbs

This Sunday at 12:15 p.m. come join Allyson Hobbs and James McGrath Morris at the Texas Book Festival as they share their investigations into the tumultuous history of racial identity in the U.S. in their respective works, A CHOSEN EXILE: A History of Racial Passing in American Life and EYE ON THE STRUGGLE: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press.  KAZI Book Review host Hopeton Hay will moderate the discussion.

Allyson Hobbs Bio

Allyson Hobbs is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Stanford University.  Allyson’s first book, A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life, published by Harvard University Press in October 2014, examines the phenomenon of racial passing in the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present.  A CHOSEN EXILE won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award for best first book in American History and the Lawrence Levine Award for best book in American cultural history.

James McGrath Morris

James McGrath Morris

James McGrath Morris Bio

James McGrath Morris is an author of biographies and narrative nonfiction.  His newest works are the New York Times Bestselling EYE ON THE STRUGGLE: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press and the SINGLE REVOLUTION BY MURDER: Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, and the Plot to Kill Henry Clay Frick. His works include Pulitzer: A LIFE IN POLITICS, PRINT, and POWER—which the Wall Street Journal deemed was one of the five best books on American and THE ROSE MAN OF SING SING: A True Tale of Life, Murder, and Redemption in the Age of Yellow Journalism—a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Morris spent a decade as a journalist, a decade working in the book and magazine business, and a decade as a high school teacher.

A Taste of Texas Book Festival Authors Featured on KAZI Book Review

October 10, 2015 Leave a comment
Attica Locke

Attica Locke

KAZI Book Review will feature excerpts from interviews with four authors appearing at the Texas Book Festival on the October 11 edition of KAZI Book Review on KAZI 88.7 FM:

James McGrath Morris photo by Patty Morris

James McGrath Morris

  • Attica Locke, author of the novel PLEASANTVILLE, a murder mystery set in 1996 revolving around a campaign to elect Houston’s first black mayor,
  • James McGrath Morris, author of EYE ON THE STRUGGLE, a biography of the Black newspaper white house correspondent Ethel Payne,
  • Laila Lalami, author of a historical novel about the first Black to explore America, THE MOORS ACCOUNT, and
  • Laila Lalami

    Laila Lalami

    Vu Tran, author of a mystery novel about the search for an enigmatic Vietnamese woman, DRAGONFISH.

    Vu Tran

    Vu Tran

The Texas Book Festival is October 17-18 and more information about all the authors appearing is available at

Be sure to tune in Monday, October 12, for the Monday edition of KAZI Book Review which will feature an interview with Wendell Pierce, author of a memoir about his efforts to rebuild the New Orleans neighborhood he grew up in after Hurricane Katrina, THE WIND IN THE REEDS: A Storm, A Play, and the City That Would Not Be Broken.

PODCAST: Shawn Leigh Alexander Interview on New Biography of W.E.B. Du Bois

September 8, 2015 Leave a comment

If you missed my interview with Shawn Alexander, author of W.E.B. DU BOIS: An American Intellectual and Activist, you can listen to the podcast:

Biography of W.E.B. Du Bois Focus of Today’s KAZI Book Review

September 7, 2015 Leave a comment
Shawn Leigh Alexander

Shawn Leigh Alexander

W. E. B. Du Bois was one of the most prolific African American authors, scholars, and leaders of the twentieth century.  Tune in at 8 a.m. CST to KAZI Book Review for my interview with Shawn Leigh Alexander, author of W.E.B. DU BOIS: An American Intellectual and Activist.

In Shawn Alexander’s concise biography, he explores Du Bois’s racial strategy, civil W.E.B. Du Bois Jacket Coverrights activity, journalistic career, and his role as an international spokesman. The book also captures Du Bois’s life as a historian, sociologist, artist, propagandist, and peace activist, while providing space for the voices of his chief critics: Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey, Walter White, the Young Turks of the NAACP—not to mention the federal government’s characterization of his ever-radicalizing beliefs, particularly after World War II.

Shawn Leigh Alexander is associate professor and graduate director of African and African American studies and director of the Langston Hughes Center at the University of Kansas, where he specializes in African American social and intellectual history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His books include An Army of Lions: The Struggle for Civil Rights before the NAACP (2012) and a collection on racial violence after the Civil War, Reconstruction Violence and the Ku Klux Klan Hearings(2015).

September Author Interviews Feature Biographies of Civil Rights Giant W.E.B. Du Bois and Legendary Black Journalist Ethel Payne

September 5, 2015 Leave a comment

W.E.B. Du Bois Jacket Cover

W.E.B. DU BOIS: An American Intellectual Activist and EYE ON THE STRUGGLE: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press are among the nonfiction books featured with author interviews this month on KAZI Book Review on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Highlights on the fiction side include interviews with Steph Cha discussing her latest Juniper Song mystery, DEAD SOON ENOUGH and Joe Meno discussing his new crime fiction/travel novel, MARVEL AND A WONDER.  Below is the schedule of interviews with short descriptions of the books.

September 6, 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. CST

John Burdett, THE BANGKOK ASSET (fiction)- Set in Bangkok, Thailand, this is the sixth novel by Burdett featuring Royal Thai Police Force detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep.

Reed Farrell Coleman, Robert B. Parker’s BLIND SPOT (fiction) – This is Coleman’s second Jesse Stone novel, a series started by the late legendary crime fiction writer Robert B. Parker in 1997.  Jesse Stone is a former baseball player that is police chief of the fictional small town of Paradise, Massachusetts.  In BLIND SPOT, Stone

September 7, 8 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. CST

Shawn Leigh Alexander, W.E.B. DU BOIS (nonfiction) – Alexander chronicles the long life and changes in philosophy of Du Bois, the legendary intellectual, scholar, activist, and cofounder of the NAACP who lived from 1867-1963.

September 13, 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. CST

Joe Meno, MARVEL AND A WONDER (fiction) – Set in 1995 primarily in southern Indiana, Meno explores the relationship between a biracial teenager and his 71 year-old grandfather, who grow closer thanks to the unexpected inheritance of a horse.

September 14, 8 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. CST

James McGrath Morris, EYE ON THE STRUGGLE (nonfiction) – Former journalist Morris has written a biography about the late black journalist, Ethel Payne, who wrote for the black owned Chicago Defender newspaper from 1951 to 1978. As the Chicago Defender’s White House correspondent from 1954 into the 1970s, Payne covered some of the most significant civil rights legislation of the era.

September 20, 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. CST

Steph Cha, DEAD SOON ENOUGH (fiction) – Steph Cha is back with her third mystery featuring millenial Korean American female detective Juniper Song, set in Los Angeles.

September 21, 8 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. CSTEthel Payne

Joe Feagin, HOW BLACKS BUILT AMERICA (nonfiction) – Texas A & M sociologist Joe Feagin writes in his introduction, “I show in much detail throughout this book that there is an extraordinarily important and positive black exceptionalism that is constantly revealed in the centuries long history of this society.”

September 27, 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. CST

Matthew Guinn, THE SCRIBE (fiction) – A historical mystery set in Atlanta in 1881, a white police detective is paired with a black detective to find a murderer killing prominent black citizens; Tananarive Due, GHOST SUMMER (fiction)- a collection of supernatural short stories

September 28, 8 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. CST

Victor Chen, CUT LOOSE – Sociology professor Victor Chen “offers a poignant look at how the long-term unemployed struggle in today’s unfair economy to support their families, rebuild their lives, and overcome the shame and self-blame they deal with on a daily basis.”