Biography Previews: Apr. 2023, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

Life stories: expect the unexpected. 

Click here for additional new Prepub Alert columns  

de Courcy, Anne. Magnificent Rebel: Nancy Cunard in Jazz Age Paris. St. Martin’s. Apr. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781250272560. $29.99. BIOGRAPHY

Draycott, Jane. Cleopatra's Daughter: From Prisoner to Egyptian Queen. Liveright: Norton. Apr. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781324092599. $32.50. BIOGRAPHY

Rohter, Larry. Into the Amazon: The Life of Cândido Rondon, Trailblazing Explorer, Scientist, Statesman, and Conservationist. Norton. Apr. 2023. 448p. ISBN 9781324021261. $38. BIOGRAPHY

Smith, Richard Norton. An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford. Harper. Apr. 2023. 848p. ISBN 9780062684165. $40. BIOGRAPHY

Wallace, Max. After the Miracle: The Political Crusades of Helen Keller. Grand Central. Apr. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9781538707685. $30. Downloadable. BIOGRAPHY

Williams, Chad L. The Wounded World: W.E.B. Du Bois and the First World War. Farrar. Apr. 2023. 544p. ISBN 9780374293154. $30. BIOGRAPHY

In Magnificent Rebel, prolific biographer de Courcy ( Chanel's Riviera) focuses on the 13 years celebrated English socialite, poet, and publisher Nancy Cunard spent in Paris and the five men (among many) with whom she had affairs: writers Ezra Pound, Aldous Huxley, Michael Arlen, and Louis Aragon and jazz pianist Henry Crowder (50,000-copy first printing). Archaeologist and University of Glasgow lecturer Draycott reconstructs the life of Cleopatra’s Daughter, born to Roman Triumvir Marc Antony and Egyptian Queen Cleopatra VII and eventually queen of Mauretania, an ancient African kingdom, which she ruled with King Juba II. A former Rio de Janeiro bureau chief for the New York Times, Rohter revisits the life of Indigenous Brazilian explorer, scientist, statesman, and conservationist Cândido Rondon,  who guided Theodore Roosevelt Into the Amazon, lay a 1,200-mile telegraph line through the region’s heart, and was thrice nominated for a Nobel Prize. A director of five presidential libraries and a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Thomas E. Dewey and His Times, Smith reassesses President Gerald Ford in An Ordinary Man, praising his basic decency and considered decision making as qualities needed in U.S. politics today (40,000-copy first printing). Wallace tells readers plenty they probably don’t know about Helen Keller in After the Miracle: among other things, she blasted Jim Crow laws, Hitler’s rise to power, and Joseph McCarthy; sided with the antifascists during the Spanish Civil War; and raised money to defend Nelson Mandela (50,000-copy first printing). In The Wounded World, Brandeis professor Williams (Torchbearers of Democracy) recounts W.E.B. Du Bois’s two-decade effort to write an account of Black soldiers during World War I; he was bitterly disappointed that supporting the war (which he had urged) did not win Black Americans full rights (50,000-copy first printing).

Click here for additional new Prepub Alert columns  

Author Image
Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing