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Hampl, author of three memoirs (e.g., The Florist's Daughter), and May (history & American studies, Univ. of Minnesota; Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era) present this collection of essays by 14 talented writers who also happen to be memoirists, from André Aciman to D.J. Waldie. While histories (public narratives of record) are viewed as reliable and trusted sources, memoirs (intimate, personal accounts) are often viewed with some suspicion; yet, as Hampl and May point out, memoirs can be powerful testimonies to larger historical events. They devote each chapter to one author and include an extract from one of his or her memoirs followed by an essay by the author. The essays recount the contributors' experiences formulating and writing a memoir as well as their views on memoirs and how they fit into the world of nonfiction. The extracts and essays are equally fascinating, providing an inward look at the authors in addition to a small sampling of their work. Recommended for all public and academic libraries.
—Mark Alan Williams