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Also of interest ... in public lives

This Time Together by Carol Burnett; The Bridge by David Remnick; The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst; George, Nicholas and Wilhelm by Miranda Carter

This Time Together by Carol Burnett (Harmony, $25)A memoir that reveals as little as this one does usually “would leave us wanting to know more,” said David Wiegand in the San Francisco Chronicle. But television legend Carol Burnett has never been one to talk about career or personal battles, and it turns out to be a pleasure just to have another chance “to spend just a little time with a woman who still makes us laugh.” She’s filled this book with amusing show-business anecdotes, many of them “told at the teller’s own expense.”

The Bridge by David Remnick (Knopf, $30)David Remnick’s “superb” new biography of President Barack Obama “contains a lot of padding,” said The Economist. Maybe any 700-page book about a 48-year-old would have to. But Remnick’s is “padding of the highest quality”: The editor of The New Yorker excels at supplying detailed and “beautifully written” descriptions of the places and times that have shaped Obama’s bridge-building personality. His every step, from the Hawaiian childhood to his tenure as president of the Harvard Law Review, provides “tantalizing clues” about the sort of decisions he’s likely to make as president.

The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst (Citadel, $15)There’s not much baseball in the first 250 pages of Dirk Hayhurst’s insider’s look at life in the minor leagues, said Richard Tofel in The Wall Street Journal. The Toronto Blue Jays reliever tells us more about the crude behavior of his teammates than he does about how to develop a big-league change-up. But when he finally begins rolling out his “sage observations about the nature of celebrity and ambition, forgiveness, and family,” it’s obvious he has a bright future in writing.

George, Nicholas and Wilhelm by Miranda Carter (Knopf, $30)Backstabbing, Intrigue and Muddle” would have been a fitting alternative title for this sometimes impressive new history, said Dwight Garner in The New York Times. Miranda Carter “writes with vigor and parched wit” about three cousins—Britain’s George V, Germany’s Wilhelm II, and Russia’s Nicholas II—who provided pre–World War I Europe with quarrelsome, anachronistic monarchies when it desperately needed future-looking leadership. No drama ever really builds, though. “You turn this book’s pages with interest, but rarely with eagerness.”

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