INHERITANCE, by Shapiro NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, August 10, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information.

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love By Dani Shapiro Cover Image

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love (Paperback)

$16.95


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
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January 2019 Indie Next List


“Who are we? Does who we think we are change when we learn a family secret that alters the source of our identity? Shapiro has explored issues of identity in her previous memoirs, but in her latest she applies her signature candor and heart to a riveting, provocative, and inspiring genealogical mystery and journey of discovery.”
— Roxanne Coady, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

An Instant NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A LOS ANGELES TIMES, BOSTON GLOBE, WALL STREET JOURNAL, and NATIONAL INDIE BESTSELLER

Named A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by *Elle * Vanity Fair * Wired * Real Simple * Kirkus Reviews * BookPage *


“Memoir gold: a profound and exquisitely rendered exploration of identity and the true meaning of family.” —People Magazine

“Beautifully written and deeply moving—it brought me to tears more than once.”—Ruth Franklin, The New York Times Book Review

From the acclaimed, best-selling memoirist, novelist and host of the hit podcast Family Secrets, comes a memoir about the staggering family secret uncovered by a genealogy test: an exploration of the urgent ethical questions surrounding fertility treatments and DNA testing, and a profound inquiry of paternity, identity, and love.

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had casually submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her beloved deceased father was not her biological father. Over the course of a single day, her entire history—the life she had lived—crumbled beneath her.
   Inheritance is a book about secrets. It is the story of a woman's urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that had been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in, a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.
     Dani Shapiro’s memoir unfolds at a breakneck pace—part mystery, part real-time investigation, part rumination on the ineffable combination of memory, history, biology, and experience that makes us who we are. Inheritance is a devastating and haunting interrogation of the meaning of kinship and identity, written with stunning intensity and precision.
DANI SHAPIRO is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Inheritance, as well as Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Also an essayist and a journalist, Shapiro's short fiction, essays, and journalistic pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, the op-ed pages of the New York Times, and many other publications. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, the New School, and Wesleyan University; she is cofounder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. Shapiro is the host of the hit podcast, Family Secrets. She lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut.
Product Details ISBN: 9780525434030
ISBN-10: 0525434038
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: January 28th, 2020
Pages: 272
Language: English
New York Times Editors' Choice
A Vanity Fair, New Yorker, Washington Post, Vulture, Bustle, Real Simple, PopSugar, and LitHub Most Anticipated Book of 2019

“[An] engrossing, compassionate memoir.... As in the best writing on the self, the point is the integrity of her search.” —Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker
 
“The writing is that of a true storyteller who will not stop until she has bored down to the bottom of where she came from, and in this she is at her narrative best.” —Oprah Magazine
 
“As compulsively readable as a mystery novel, while exploring the deeper mysteries of identity and family and truth itself... a story told with great insight and honesty and heart.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“A meditation on what it means to live in a time when secrecy, anonymity, and mystery are vanishing.” The New Yorker
 
“Shapiro is skilled at spinning her personal explorations into narrative gold.” —NPR
 
“[A] swift moving narrative of profound personal disorientation. Just as you think you’ve crested the big reveal, Shapiro builds more tension, chapter by short chapter; she keeps you close as she feels her way through unfamiliar terrain.” —Newsday
 
Inheritance zooms in on the blind spots that result when reproductive technology outpaces an understanding of its consequences. In viewing this important and timely topic through a highly personal lens, Inheritance succeeds admirably.” —The Seattle Times
 
Inheritance offers a thought-provoking look at the shifting landscape of identity.” —The Washington Post
 
“[Shapiro] has an intimate, ruminating style, leaping associatively through time, addressing the reader not as an audience, or voyeur, but more as an interlocutor, thoughtfully answering the questions she thinks someone might ask, if they lived in her head.” —Bookforum

“Inheritance is dedicated “to my father”. That [Shapiro] doesn’t say which one speaks volumes: those who like to insist that blood is always thicker than water should read her book, and let their own hearts slowly and gently expand.” The Guardian

“Shapiro [writes]... this spare, lyrical story shattering the polished portrait of her life and piecing the fragments carefully, gorgeously back together.”Vulture

Inheritance explores Shapiro’s identity in relationship to her memory, family history, biology, and experience. And it essentially asks the question: What makes us who we are? It’s brilliant.” —Goop
 
“Smart, psychologically astute, and not afraid to tell it like it is.” —USA Today
 
“A poignant examination of identity and what happens when one's wholeness and understanding of who they are is completely uprooted.” —Marie Claire
 
“It's a cautionary tale about a brave new world of technology that erases privacy, and a story about one of the oldest themes of human narrative: finding oneself.” —Miami Herald
 
“Written with generosity and honesty, Inheritance takes the modern phenomenon of casual DNA testing and builds a deeply personal narrative around it. The result is a vital, necessary read from a talented author.” —Paste Magazine
 
"A remarkable, dogged, emotional journey... Inheritance reads like a mystery, unfolding minute by minute and day by day.... Shapiro’s book is a wise and thorough examination of how this news affected her. She is a good guide for the bombshells that are yet to explode for so many families." Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Shapiro [writes] this spare, lyrical story shattering the polished portrait of her life and piecing the fragments carefully, gorgeously back together.” —Bitch Magazine
 
“A fascinating, pertinent look into the murky world of medical ethics, as well as the kind of profound, insightful look into the meaning of love and connection that we’ve come to expect from Shapiro.” —Nylon

“A remarkable, dogged, emotional journey as Shapiro digs into the past to find the truth.” —Boston Herald
 
Inheritance reads like an introspective mystery as Shapiro sorts facts from fiction.” —Elle
 
“In Inheritance, Shapiro movingly reckons with identity and family secrets.” —Real Simple

Inheritance adds significantly to Shapiro’s body of work while plugging into some of our culture’s most pressing concerns—identity, technology and medical ethics, among others. Although her story is unique to her, it offers a way of thinking about our changing, uncertain times.” —The Florida Times Union
 
Inheritance is both thrilling and fascinating—a nonfiction book that reads like a novel.” —Pop Sugar
 
“Shapiro unpacks a beautiful and heartbreaking narrative of paternity, genetics, and family.” —Lit Hub

"Fascinating... With thoughtful candor, [Shapiro] explores the ethical questions surrounding sperm donation, the consequences of DNA testing, and the emotional impact of having an uprooted religious and ethnic identity. This beautifully written, thought-provoking genealogical mystery will captivate readers from the very first pages." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"For all the trauma that the discovery put her through, Shapiro recognizes that what she had experienced was 'a great story'—one that has inspired her best book." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Page after page, Shapiro displays adisarming honesty and an acute desire to know the unknowable." —Booklist (starred review)
 
“As Shapiro deftly navigates the emotional story of her own origins, she also spins her grief, shock, and introspection into a compelling narrative that you won’t be able to put down.” —Book Riot“[Shapiro’s] magnificent journey of selfhood, arduous and awakening, makes our communal reflection in the mirror deeper and continually delving.” —Jamie Lee Curtis
 
Inheritance is Dani Shapiro at her best: a gripping genetic detective story, and a meditation on the meaning of parenthood and family.” —Jennifer Egan
 
“Reads like a beautiful, lived novel, moving and personal and true.” —Meg Wolitzer
 
“A compulsively-readable investigation into selfhood that burrows to the heart of what it means to accept, to love, and to belong.” —Anthony Doerr
 
“In her searing story, Dani Shapiro makes the most disquieting discovery: that everything, from her lineage, to her father, down to her very own sense of self is an astounding error.... The answer is not disquieting. It is beautiful.” —Andre Aciman
 
“An extraordinary memoir that speaks to themes as current as today’s headlines and as old as human history.... This beautifully crafted book is full of wisdom and heart, showing that what we don’t know about our parents may not be as important as what we do.” —Will Schwalbe

WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE, by Purnell NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, July 13, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for iinformation.

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II By Sonia Purnell Cover Image

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II (Paperback)

$18.00


In Stock—Click for Locations
Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
15 on hand, as of Oct 3 9:18am
Politics and Prose at 70 District Square SW
1 on hand, as of Oct 3 9:33am
Politics and Prose at Union Market
1 on hand, as of Oct 3 9:34am
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Chosen as a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by NPR, the New York Public Library, Amazon, the Seattle Times, the Washington Independent Review of Books, PopSugar, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, BookBrowse, the Spectator, and the Times of London

Winner of the Plutarch Award for Best Biography

“Excellent…This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down.” -- The New York Times Book Review

"A compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people -- and a little resistance." - NPR

"A meticiulous history that reads like a thriller." - Ben Macintyre


A never-before-told story of Virginia Hall, the American spy who changed the course of World War II, from the author of Clementine.


In 1942, the Gestapo sent out an urgent transmission: "She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies. We must find and destroy her."

The target in their sights was Virginia Hall, a Baltimore socialite who talked her way into Special Operations Executive, the spy organization dubbed Winston Churchill's "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare." She became the first Allied woman deployed behind enemy lines and--despite her prosthetic leg--helped to light the flame of the French Resistance, revolutionizing secret warfare as we know it.

Virginia established vast spy networks throughout France, called weapons and explosives down from the skies, and became a linchpin for the Resistance. Even as her face covered wanted posters and a bounty was placed on her head, Virginia refused order after order to evacuate. She finally escaped through a death-defying hike over the Pyrenees into Spain, her cover blown. But she plunged back in, adamant that she had more lives to save, and led a victorious guerilla campaign, liberating swathes of France from the Nazis after D-Day.

Based on new and extensive research, Sonia Purnell has for the first time uncovered the full secret life of Virginia Hall--an astounding and inspiring story of heroism, spycraft, resistance, and personal triumph over shocking adversity. A Woman of No Importance is the breathtaking story of how one woman's fierce persistence helped win the war.
Sonia Purnell is a biographer and journalist who has worked at The Economist, The Telegraph, and The Sunday Times. Her book Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill (published as First Lady in the UK) was chosen as a book of the year by The Telegraph and The Independent, and was a finalist for the Plutarch Award. Her first book, Just Boris, was longlisted for the Orwell prize.
Product Details ISBN: 9780735225312
ISBN-10: 0735225311
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: March 24th, 2020
Pages: 368
Language: English
Praise for A Woman of No Importance:

"[An] excellent biography... if Virginia Hall herself remains something of an enigma — a testament, perhaps, to the skills that allowed her to live in the shadows for so long — the extraordinary facts of her life are brought onto the page here with a well-judged balance of empathy and fine detail. This book is as riveting as any thriller, and as hard to put down" -- The New York Times Book Review

“[A] compelling saga of a remarkable woman whose persistence was honed early on by her battles against low gender expectations and later on by her disability.” – USA Today

"A gripping take… a compelling biography of a masterful spy, and a reminder of what can be done with a few brave people — and a little resistance.” -- NPR.org

“Never have I read anything like it. Every page is compelling and demands not just to be read, but absorbed. Every act reflects incredible bravery. This is what heroism looks like…Sonia Purnell has ensured Virginia Hall’s place in that great pantheon.” --FOX News

"Electrifying" —Smithsonian.com

“A fitting and moving tribute to an amazing woman.”The Economist

"
Reads like a detailed novel… Purnell’s fascinating book supports her description of Hall’s life as a ‘Homeric tale of adventure, action, and seemingly unfathomable courage." The Columbus Dispatch
 
"Sonia Purnell has written a riveting account of Hall’s work as a ferociously courageous American spy… [she] writes with compelling energy and fine detail." The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Purnell’s writing is as precise and engaging as her research, and this book restores overdue attention to one of the world’s great war heroes. It’s a joy to read, and it will swell readers' hearts with pride.” Booklist, Starred Review

“A groundbreaking biography that reads like a spy thriller…a suspenseful, heartbreaking and ultimately triumphant tale of heroism and sacrifice.” —BookPage, Starred Review

“Purnell vividly resurrects an underappreciated hero and delivers an enthralling story of wartime intrigue…fans of WWII history and women’s history will be riveted.” Publishers Weekly

“A remarkable chronicle...this lively examination…shows how, if Hall had been a man, dropping undercover in and out of occupied Vichy, Paris, and Lyon, setting up safe houses, and coordinating couriers for the Resistance, she would now be as famous as James Bond…Meticulous research results in a significant biography of a trailblazer who now has a CIA building named after her.”
–Kirkus

“Impressively researched and compellingly written, this brilliant biography puts Virginia Hall−and her prosthetic leg, Cuthbert−back where they belong : right in the heart of Resistance history.” —Clare Mulley, author of The Women Who Flew for Hitler: A True Story of Soaring Ambition and Searing Rivalry
 
“In this astonishing, intriguing book, Sonia Purnell presents one of the most breathtaking stories yet told of female courage behind enemy lines. Its strength lies not only in Purnell’s intimate and moving portrayal of Virginia’s secret work, but also in the new light shed on the betrayal, bravery, and bungling of Churchill’s Special Operations Executive for which Virginia worked.” —Sarah Helm, author of Ravensbrück: Life and Death in Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women
 
“What a fascinating story! Sonia Purnell skillfully takes you deep into the covert operations Virginia Hall led in Nazi-occupied France. Readers will find this tale of her cunning and courage riveting.” —Douglas Waller, author of Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage



DREAM CALLED HOME, by Grande NOTE: Meeting Online

Women's Biography
Monday, June 8, 7:30 pm

The Women's Biography Book Group is led by Doris Feinsilber and meets the 2nd Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The book group is meeting online. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information.

A Dream Called Home: A Memoir By Reyna Grande Cover Image

A Dream Called Home: A Memoir (Paperback)

$17.99


Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
“Here is a life story so unbelievable, it could only be true.” —Sandra Cisneros, bestselling author of The House on Mango Street

From bestselling author of the remarkable memoir The Distance Between Us comes an inspiring account of one woman’s quest to find her place in America as a first-generation Latina university student and aspiring writer determined to build a new life for her family one fearless word at a time.

As an immigrant in an unfamiliar country, with an indifferent mother and abusive father, Reyna had few resources at her disposal. Taking refuge in words, Reyna’s love of reading and writing propels her to rise above until she achieves the impossible and is accepted to the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Although her acceptance is a triumph, the actual experience of American college life is intimidating and unfamiliar for someone like Reyna, who is now estranged from her family and support system. Again, she finds solace in words, holding fast to her vision of becoming a writer, only to discover she knows nothing about what it takes to make a career out of a dream.

Through it all, Reyna is determined to make the impossible possible, going from undocumented immigrant of little means to “a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer” (Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild); a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist whose “power is growing with every book” (Luis Alberto Urrea, Pultizer Prize finalist); and a proud mother of two beautiful children who will never have to know the pain of poverty and neglect.

Told in Reyna’s exquisite, heartfelt prose, A Dream Called Home demonstrates how, by daring to pursue her dreams, Reyna was able to build the one thing she had always longed for: a home that would endure.
Reyna Grande is an award-winning author, motivational speaker, and writing teacher. As a young girl, she crossed the US–Mexico border to join her family in Los Angeles, a harrowing journey chronicled in The Distance Between Us, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Her other books include the novels A Ballad of Love and GloryAcross a Hundred Mountains, and Dancing with Butterflies, the memoirs The Distance Between Us: Young Readers Edition, and Dream Called Home, and the anthology Somewhere We Are Human: Authentic Voices on MigrationSurvival, and New Beginnings. She lives in Woodland, California, with her husband and two children. Visit ReynaGrande.com for more information.
Product Details ISBN: 9781501171437
ISBN-10: 1501171437
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2019
Pages: 336
Language: English
“Grande (The Distance Between Us) writes with strength and passion of her life’s journey….This uplifting story of fortitude and resilience looks deeply into the complexities of immigration and one woman’s struggle to adapt and thrive in America.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Candid and emotionally complex, Grande's book celebrates one woman's tenacity in the face of hardship and heartbreak while offering hope to other immigrants as they "fight to remain" and make their voices heard in a changing America. A heartfelt, inspiring, and relevant memoir."
— Kirkus Reviews

"Reyna Grande’s A Dream Called Home is a moving memoir about building a family, becoming a writer, and redefining America. Writers in need of inspiration should read this book."
— Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author of The Sympathizer

"Reyna Grande is a fearless writer and a tireless warrior for the unrepresented and silenced. Her power is growing with every book."
— Luis Alberto Urrea, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of The Devil's Highway

"Reyna Grande’s march towards her brilliant career astonishes me. She makes seemingly-disastrous choices, but bobs and floats through as buoyant as cork. Her mistakes are familiar, but her recovery is unique. Here is a life story so unbelievable, it could only be true."
— Sandra Cisneros, bestselling author of The House on Mango Street

“Grande's engaging and frank narrative flows painlessly, leaving no stones unturned…She carries off these scenes and the accompanying interior dialogues with humor and panache.”
— Booklist

"When the spark of a fierce intelligence touches a soul deep and true, an entire world is born. Writers like Reyna Grande give us more than a story, more than a book, more than just a slice of their experience or their imagination; they give us a world in which to dwell, a place we can always return to when we need to make sense of the chaos that surrounds us. A Dream Called Home is such a place."
— Valeria Luiselli, award-winning author of Tell Me How It Ends

"A Dream Called Home is a deeply moving, beautifully written portrait of a young woman's journey to her own best life against the odds. Reyna Grande is a national treasure; her vision is not only singular, but essential to our contemporary culture. This is a beacon of a book."
— Carolina De Robertis, award-winning author of The Gods of Tango

Praise for The Distance Between Us

“In this poignant memoir about her childhood in Mexico, Reyna Grande skillfully depicts another side of the immigrant experience—the hardships and heartbreaks of the children who are left behind. Through her brutally honest firsthand account of growing up in Mexico without her parents, Grande sheds light on the often overlooked consequence of immigration—the disintegration of a family.”
— Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of Enrique's Journey

Grande captivates and inspires in her memoir. She deftly evokes the searing sense of heartache and confusion. Tracing the complex and tattered relationships binding the family together, especially the bond she shared with her older sister, the author intimately probes her family’s history for clues to its disintegration. Recounting her story without self-pity, she gracefully chronicles the painful results of a family shattered by repeated separations and traumas.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A brutally honest book…akin to being the Angela’s Ashes of the modern Mexican immigrant experience.”
— LA Times

“Reyna Grande is a fierce, smart, shimmering light of a writer with an important story to tell.”
— Cheryl Strayed, New York Times bestselling author of Wild

“I’ve been waiting for this book for decades. The American story of the new millennium is the story of the Latino immigrant, yet how often has the story been told by the immigrant herself? What makes Grande’s beautiful memoir all the more extraordinary is that, through this hero’s journey, she speaks for millions of immigrants whose voices have gone unheard.”
— Sandra Cisneros, bestselling author of The House on Mango Street

“Grande consistently displays a fierce willingness to ask tough questions, accept startling answers, and candidly render emotional and physical violence.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“The poignant yet triumphant tale Grande tells of her childhood and eventual illegal immigration puts a face on issues that stir vehement debate.”
— Booklist

“Powerful, harrowing.”
— San Antonio Express News

“Eloquent, honest storytelling. This book would be fabulous required reading for college freshmen or, even better, for freshman members of Congress,”
— Washington Independent Review of Books

“An important piece of America’s immigrant history.”
— BookPage

“Grande never flinches in describing her surroundings and feelings, while her resilience and ability to empathize allow her to look back with a compassion that makes this story one that everyone should read.”
— School Library Journal

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