Category Archives: GLBT memoir and/or biography

“Saint Unshamed: A Gay Mormon’s Life: Healing From the Shame of Religion, Rape, Conversion Therapy & Cancer” by Kerry Ashton— Becoming “Unshamed”

Ashton, Kerry. “Saint Unshamed: A Gay Mormon’s Life: Healing From the Shame of Religion, Rape, Conversion Therapy & Cancer”, Lynn Wolf Enterprises, 2019.

Becoming “Unshamed”

Amos Lassen

In the first paragraph of Kerry Ashton’s memoir, we learn a great deal and therefore am quoting it directly.

“I told this story once as fiction in the 1980s, but this time I tell the truth. I even tell the truth, in #MeToo fashion, about being violently raped by another man when I was 18, with a knife held to my throat–a secret I kept from everyone, including myself, for over 40 years. The rape, like other experiences I endured while a student at Brigham Young University, where I came out in the early 1970s, had a profound impact on my later life. But this story is not so much about my rape or my coming of age at BYU, as it is about the lifelong effects of shame itself, not only about how I internalized and inherited a wounding shame from my Mormon upbringing, but also how I eventually unshamed myself. It is about a lifetime journey of spiritual growth, self-discovery and healing, including many miraculous events along the way that pushed me forward through the darkness toward the light.”

Lately we have seen a great deal written about gay shame and I have often wondered why it took so long for it to surface. Then I read this and totally understood. We have all, to some degree, felt it but few of us have ever verbalized it or even wanted to do so. Kerry Ashton shares his experiences during his four years at Brigham Young University including the rape, falling in love for the first time, police surveillance, harassment and arrest, and going through three years of conversion therapy that included two years of electroshock treatments. He also writes of growing up Mormon in Pocatello, Idaho, and stories from his adulthood. His stories are poignant, some are quite graphic, some are dramatic and some are very, very funny. I was mesmerized by them all and found myself falling in love with Kerry as I read his stories.

Ashton has had a professional career as an actor and writer, both in Los Angeles and New York City and he describes his personal encounters with stars like Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis and Julie Harris, while sharing his experiences with writers Tennessee Williams, James Leo Herlihy, and John Rechy and his affair with Steven Sondheim. It was a long and arduous road he traveled— years in therapy, a battle with cancer, kinky sex,  S&M, the leather scene and finally the loving monogamous relationship that he is part of today. He also shares the shame that he has had to deal with all along the way and how he was able to deal with it and  “find a way out of a culture that would silence him.”

Ashton sees shame as “an insidious disease that threads through the body and the psyche, slowly destroying and devaluing everything it touches.” It came to him early–from his parents, from his Mormon faith, from his burgeoning understanding of his own sexuality and we soon understand that we are not only reading  Ashton’s story, but also the stories of many gay men who struggled with their sexual identity and health during the end of the twentieth century. It took Ashton a while to  understand a lot of what he had been through and now can speak about what he  spent many years trying to achieve. This included being shamed by his family for being effeminate and the hell he went through at Brigham Young University and the electroshock therapy that forever damaged his nervous system and a disturbing and violent rape.

Ashton also writes about friends who lost their lives, including gay men to suicide, to HIV/AIDS or who lost themselves in heterosexual marriages. He shares his opinions on cruising for sex, rest stops and their necessities and dangers they represented. Ashton also writes of his religious and family life. Strict Mormon laws regarding sex, from masturbation to intercourse to anything in between were responsible for much of Ashton’s suffering, but if he were to deny his religion, he would have lost his family, his faith, and, in many ways, his identity as a young man. The book introduces us to a generation of Mormon men who were hurt and sometimes destroyed by the church’s positions on their sexuality and to a man who grew up gay and Mormon in a small Idaho town. 

Religion and sexuality crash into each other and the painful result comes to us through Ashton’s beautiful and painful prose. I cannot say enough about this book aside from it must be both read and experienced.

“Rainbow Warrior: My Life in Color” by Gilbert Baker— Our Symbol

Baker, Gilbert. “Rainbow Warrior: My Life in Color”,  Chicago Press Review, 2019.

Our Symbol

Amos Lassen

In 1978, Harvey Milk asked Gilbert Baker to create a unifying symbol for the then growing gay rights movement, and on June 25 of that year, Baker’s Rainbow Flag debuted at San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day Parade. Of course, Baker had no idea his creation, his rainbow flag would become an international emblem of liberation and would make permanent his  role in helping to define the modern LGBTQ movement. “Rainbow Warrior” is Baker’s own passionate personal chronicle, from his repressive childhood in 1950s Kansas to a terrible time in the US Army, and finally his arrival in San Francisco, where he blossomed as both a visual artist and social justice activist. His fascinating story brings together the early years of the struggle for LGBTQ rights, when he worked closely with Milk, Cleve Jones, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and all seemed like a dream.

He continued his flag-making, street theater and activism through the Reagan years and the AIDS crisis. In 1994, Baker spearheaded the effort to fabricate a mile-long Rainbow Flag—at the time, the world’s longest—to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York City. Gilbert and parade organizers battled with Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the right to carry it up Fifth Avenue, past St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Today, the Rainbow Flag, Gilbert Baker’s flag, has become a worldwide symbol of LGBTQ diversity and inclusiveness, and its colors have illuminated landmarks from the White House to the Eiffel Tower to the Sydney Opera House and the Tel Aviv Government Office Building.

Gilbert Baker often called himself the “Gay Betsy Ross,” and readers of his colorful, irreverent, and In these pages are  Gilbert himself and his joys, visions, untamed spirit, flashes of  bitchiness, and all of the unvarnished truths of who he and his collaborators were and are. They share his moments of confidence and his times  of  doubt, his search for those to help realize his impossible dreams, and the small moments of success that made all the suffering worthwhile. This is the story of an artist and “an activist’s unyielding, lifelong dedication to a singular creative notion, and his courage to let that creation go, to let it be shared, to let it bend and find new forms in order for it to remain timeless, boundless, and ever inclusive of our growing LGBTQ family.” 

Gilbert Baker brings the history of the Rainbow Flag and of the LGBTQ movement together by making it part of his own story.  “If a sense of urgency and necessity, serendipity, intuition, and talent are the ingredients of great design, this is the autobiography of an accidental design superstar.” 

Baker paved the way for LGBTQ activists around the world and his grand visions as an artist and activist entertained all who knew him. He truly advanced the global LGBTQ movement. In creating the Rainbow Flag, he gave the world an iconic symbol and this was his final gift.

 

“Unconventional Candour” by George Smitherman— Successes and Failures

Smitherman, George. “Unconventional Candour”, Dundurn, 2019.

Successes and Failures

Amos Lassen

I must admit that since I am an American, I had no idea who George Smitherman is. I have since learned a great deal about him and his Canadian political career in Ontario’s legislature and in Toronto’s city hall. He also

Smitherman became one of the most powerful politicians in Ontario and then fell quickly when he was defeated by one of the most notorious Canadian politicians, Rob Ford. In this memoir, Smitherman takes us through his career and his personal life as a gay man. He offers candid insights into the  politics of city hall and the provincial legislature, as well as the Liberal government under Dalton McGuinty, including accomplishments like prescription drug reforms and the green energy plan, and the so-called eHealth, Ornge, and gas plant scandals. He reveals how he lost the mayoral race but managed to rebound from that defeat, as well from the suicide of his husband and he tells it like it is.

It is positively a fascinating read and if I knew more about Canadian politics it would have been that much more fascinating. It is honest and profoundly personal. story of George Smitherman – the man and the politician. We gain insight to his background and the extraordinary influence of his family and friends in his developing a strong sense of community. “He was instilled with a belief in the right to equality, the need to fight for justice, and a passion for progress while maintaining his independence.” (Sounds like the kind of politician that the United States could really use right now).

Smitherman tells us that hid political instincts, from an early age, led him on a path to become fiercely loyal to the Liberal Party. With blunt honesty and intimate insights, he shares the story of the dynamic political landscape of the 80’s and 90’s and that he delighted in highlighting unsung heroes and pride myself in my instinct to lift people and communities up.’ This is the strength of leadership that he became known for.

Five years ago, George’s husband Christopher committed suicide. George’s story is one of lived experience and his story is told through the lens of a bereaved spouse, as only someone who has survived their partner can truly understand. Smitherman has come a long way on his journey to create a blessing from the darkness of watching his partner suffer, and then experiencing tragic loss and infinite grief. The love of family and friends and his children helped him through his grief. He faced adversity, trauma and tragedy and his resilience alchemized his grief into a force to be reckoned with. He turned tragedy into transformation and loss into legacy and that is all here in this book.

“The Journalist of Castro Street : The Life of Randy Shilts” by Andrew Stoner— A New Biography


Stoner, Andrew. “The Journalist of Castro Street : The Life of Randy Shilts”, University of Illinois Press, 2019.

A New Biography

Amos Lassen

With the publication of his mega history “And the Band Played On”, Randy Shilts became the country’s most recognized voice of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. His success came to him from his relentless work ethic and strong belief in the power of journalism to help mainstream society understand both the rising tide of HIV/AIDS and

Andrew E. Stoner chronicles the life of the pioneering journalist. Shilts’s reporting on AIDS in San Francisco broke barriers even as other gay writers and activists laughed at and ridiculed his advances to the mainstream and called him a traitor to the movement. Shilts was able to answer these charges and maintain his place but  behind the scenes, Shilts had to deal with career-threatening struggles with alcohol and substance abuse. He managed to overcome them and to achieve the notoriety he had always sought. However, at the same time the HIV infection he had purposely kept hidden began to take his life. 

This new book reveals the historic work and passionate humanity of the legendary investigative reporter and author. This is a powerful story that is well-written, historically grounded, thoughtful, engaging, and important. As engrossing as the story is, so is it haunting. However, to understand the early years of AIDS, it is indispensable especially regarding the intersection of the epidemic and the news media. This is what brought  Shilts as the openly gay journalist to the media mainstream. This is a sympathetic and first-rate narrative of one of the most notable journalists of our age. Stoner has captured the passions and imperfections of “the fearless writer and the gay-rights crusader.”

“Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future” by Pete Buttigieg— An Inspirational Story from an Inspirational Man

Buttigieg, Pete. “Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model for America’s Future”, Liveright,  2019.

An Inspirational Story from an Inspirational Man

Amos Lassen

“Shortest Way Home” from Mayor Pete Buttigieg is his  inspirational story of his Midwest city of South Bend that has become nothing a blueprint for the future of American renewal. “The Washington Post” called Buttigieg,  “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of,” Pete Buttigieg and then the thirty-seven-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the American presidency and has now emerged as one of the nation’s most visionary politicians. He has charmed much of America with his straight forwardness and simple rhetoric. Many of us have found a new hero.

Shortest Way Home” is the story of the transformation of a “dying city” (“Newsweek) into a  model of urban reinvention. There are actually two interweaving narratives here―one of a young man coming of age and a town regaining its economic vitality. Buttigieg shares growing up in a Rust Belt city, amid decayed factory buildings and the steady soundtrack of rumbling freight trains passing through on their way to Chicago. Buttigieg first left northern Indiana for Harvard and then studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, before joining McKinsey, where he trained as a consultant and becoming an expert in grocery pricing. Then, Buttigieg chose to return home to Indiana and took on the challenge of how to revive a once-great industrial city and guide it into the twenty-first century.

At twenty-nine, he was the nation’s youngest mayor and he recognized that “great cities, and even great nations, are built through attention to the everyday.”  His challenges included confronting gun violence, renaming a street in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and attracting tech companies to a city that had appealed more to junk bond scavengers than serious investors. Buttigieg launched an audacious campaign to reclaim 1,000 houses, many of them abandoned in 1,000 days and then, even as a sitting mayor, deploying to serve in Afghanistan as a Navy officer. Then the most personal challenge was waiting for him. He came out as a gay man in a South Bend Tribune editorial, just before being reelected with 78 percent of the vote, and then finding Chasten Glezman, a middle-school teacher, who would become his partner for life.

“Shortest Way Home” is a challenge to our perception of the typical American politician. Buttigieg’s stories were once-unthinkable in this country— one of an Afghanistan veteran who came out and found love and acceptance while in office, and the other of a revitalized Rust Belt city that no longer regarded as “flyover country”. This is Buttigieg’s vision for America’s shortest way home.

His coming out story is quite moving and I believe that   it is difficult not to like Mayor Pete. We once thought that we would never see an African-American in the White House and now the idea that Buttigieg might be the nation’s first openly gay president doesn’t seem to be so far from the truth. This is a comeback story of a place that got hit hard, survived and then began thriving again and this is a pretty good case that city halls just might be better training schools for the presidency than Congress.

Buttigieg stands out from the other Democratic hopefuls. He’s a Navy veteran, born and raised in the city he governs and has real heartland credibility. He’s the first gay Presidential candidate with a real shot at the nomination and a millennial who graduated high school in the year 2000 and, if elected, would be the youngest President by far. I love his story about trying to get a date as a young, gay public figure. There is a great deal to love about Pete but no matter what he has changed the political climate of this country by simply being a gay male with the proper credentials to run for president and with a track record that allows him to be a serious candidate. He has given more to his community and country before his 40th birthday than most of us will do over the course of our lives.

Buttigieg’s story is one of perseverance and humility. He is very smart and communicates his ideas more clearly and effectively than any other candidate in the 2020 race so far After reading this book, I am more convinced than ever that Pete Buttigieg is the right man for the Presidency and is completely prepared to become the next President of this country.

“Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder” by John Waters— The Title Says It All

Waters, John. “Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder”, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019.

The Title Says It All

Amos Lassen

John Waters is one of my guilty pleasures and I love that he dares to push the envelope and go where others dare not. He certainly seems to know a lot about whatever especially when it is rude, offensive and therefore compelling. Let’s face it—his movies offend and we love them.

His movie classics “Pink Flamingos”, “Polyester”,  “Hairspray”, “Cry-Baby” and “A Dirty Shame” are loved and hated. Waters is a sophisticate and if you are unaware of that, you really need to read “Mr. Know-It-All” in which he proves it to us. In a sense this is something of a “how-to” manual; Waters explains “how to fail upward in Hollywood; how to develop musical taste from Nervous Norvus to Maria Callas; how to build a home so ugly and trendy that no one but you would dare live in it, how to tell someone you love them without emotional risk and how to cheat death itself”. The man who brought us Divine swears that “Whatever you might have heard, there is absolutely no downside to being famous. None at all.”

We have brief appearances from Waters’s stable of stars: from Divine and Mink Stole to Johnny Depp, Kathleen Turner, Patricia Hearst, and Tracey Ullman and the book is illustrated with unseen photos from Waters’s personal collection. I found myself unable to put the book down. Here is Waters as Waters in his book that will soon join his other classics. He shows us humanity at its most ridiculous and what might once have repelled us becomes funny when he talks about it.

I have long thought of the proper word to describe Waters and thanks to others, I have it now. He is “An exuberantly transgressive American filmmaker [who] gets down, dirty, and weird about life, art, and career . . . Comic and rude but always compulsively readable, Waters demonstrates that he is not only first among Filth Elders; he is also a keen observer of American culture. Wickedly smart and consistently laugh-out-loud funny.”

 Waters is outrageous and his imagination is outrageous. Above all, he is entertaining and delightful, a man filled with insights about everything and is ready with a comment on it all.

“It Never Goes Away: Gender Transition at a Mature Age” by Anne Lauren Koch— The Gender Journey

Koch, Anne Lauren. “It Never Goes Away: Gender Transition at a Mature Age”, Rutgers university Press.

The Gender Journey

Amos Lassen

It seems to me that every day we learn something new about the transgender experience. On a personal level, I read whatever I can so that I can better understand my nephew who has recently transitioned from female to male. I understand that a transgender person lives with the feeling of wanting the body to match the sex that feels and that this feeling never goes away. For some, though, especially those who grew up before trans people were widely out and advocating for equality, these feelings were often compartmentalized and rarely acted upon. Now that gender reassignment has become much more commonplace, many transgendered individuals may feel increasing pressure to finally undergo the procedures they have always secretly wanted.
 
Ken Koch is one of those people. He had married twice, was a veteran, and a world traveler. Suffering a health scare when he was sixty-three pushed him to acknowledge the feelings that had plagued him since he was a small child. He underwent many procedures that radically changed his appearance and he became Anne Koch. However, during the transition, Anne lost everything that Ken had accomplished. She had to completely remake herself from the ground up. Hoping to help other people in her age bracket who may be considering transitioning, Anne describes the step by step procedures that she underwent and shares the cost to her personal life. She does this in order to show seniors that although it is never too late to become the person they always knew they were, it is better to go into that new life prepared for serious challenges.  This is both a fascinating memoir of a well-educated man growing up trans yet repressed in the mid-twentieth century, and a guidebook to navigating gender reassignment as a senior and it shares what is needed to be known. 

This is a must-read that is filled with both words of wisdom and lots of practical information for a journey  that until recently was a thought that  many times remained unfulfilled. Dr. Koch is a role model and humanitarian and provides us with an important example for families and friends who support their loved ones on their gender affirmation journey. Not only is this filled with information, it is authentic and a compelling personal narrative that is written with passion. It is written from the heart, revealing and inspirational. Here are experiences from a personal life merged with experiences from a professional life, something we rarely get. Dr. Anne Koch is a leading practitioner and educator in dental medicine who unmasks “the stigma faced so long by transgender people” and she does so by looking at “one of the biggest problems in transgender medicine—that there is no continuity of care by many healthcare providers, with an exception of a few large gender centers and institutions.”

“No Walls and the Recurring Dream: A Memoir” by Ani DeFranco— From the Beginning

DiFranco, Ani. “No Walls and the Recurring Dream: A Memoir”, Viking Books, 2019.

From the Beginning

Amos Lassen

In her new memoir, No Walls and the Recurring Dream, Ani DiFranco recounts her early life from a place of hard-won wisdom, combining personal expression, the power of music, feminism, political activism, storytelling, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, and much more into an inspiring whole. In these frank, honest, passionate, and often funny pages is the tale of one woman’s eventful and radical journey to the age of thirty. Ani’s coming of age story is defined by her ethos of fierce independence–from being an emancipated minor sleeping in a Buffalo bus station, to unwaveringly building a career through appearances at small clubs and festivals, to releasing her first album at the age of 18, to consciously rejecting the mainstream recording industry and creating her own label, Righteous Babe Records.

In these pages, as in life, she never hesitates to question established rules and expectations, maintaining a level of artistic integrity that has inspired and challenged more than a few. Ani continues to be a major touring and recording artist as well as a celebrated activist and feminist, standing as living proof that you can overcome all personal and societal obstacles to be who you are and to follow your dreams. The film also makes it very clear that Ani’s choices may not be for everyone but “they’re part and parcel of her integrity and creative path.”

 DiFranco sharea her rise to fame with candor. She had to fend for herself and by age 15, she had already survived each unusual day through her ingenuity and perseverance. She is a natural storyteller and includes anecdotes, unusual characters,  wit, perspective and humor. DiFranco seemingly has always defied convention while remaining true to herself. Here is her life as a musician, activist and as a political feminist.  She knew everyone in the folk world including Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan. Her book  celebrates both independent music and her unconventional life.

“Everything in Its Place: First Loves and Last Tales” by Oliver Sacks— The Final Volume

Sacks, Oliver. “Everything in Its Place: First Loves and Last Tales”, Knopf, 2019.

The Final Volume

Amos Lassen

It was not until I received “Everything in Its Place” that I really realized that this was the last book from Oliver Sacks. His books  were important to me not only for reviewing purposes but also because I was able to see Sacks, the man behind the words and he became a friend of mine. I did not have to meet him or know him face-to-face— it was his prose that took me into his life and now that is gone forever. There always seemed to be something by Sacks to read but this was the end, a final volume of essays that showcase Sacks’s broad range of interests–from his passion for ferns, swimming, and horsetails, to his final case histories exploring schizophrenia, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.

Oliver Sacks was a scientist and storyteller and he was beloved by readers for his neurological case histories and his fascination and familiarity with human behavior at its most unexpected and unfamiliar. This book celebrates Sacks’s many interests and told with his characteristic compassion and erudition and in his glorious prose.

Sacks writes with his characteristic compassion and attention to detail as he gives us one last peek into his “generous, curious, and brilliant mind.” While cancer may have claimed his body, his voice continues to be strong and this is a fitting end to an exemplary literary and medical career,. It features “the essential humanity and spaciousness of mind that his readers have long come to expect . . . with a voice, breadth of curiosity and kinship with life all his own . . . passionate . . . [and] engrossing.”

Sacks will be missed, “not only for the elegance and potency of his writing, but for his critically important championing of science in an age of science denial . . . Warm, edifying, highly personal essays.”  Up until the end he remained full of curiosity and awe whether he was discussing botany or the intricacies of the brain. He wrote with natural candor and wisdom and he taught us all so much. Sacks was my friend even though I never met him. He was a man who happened to be gay and his self-acceptance was a model for so many. He was a celebrated author and neurologist who had thoughts about everything and he willingly shared them. Sacks has already been gone four years and it took that long before we had the opportunity to read everything he wrote. Sacks has written so much about so many different topics that his voice will continue to speak to us in spirit if not in person.

The essays in this collection span a range of diverse interests. They are divided into three parts – the first part deals with childhood and family, the second deals with neuroscience and the kinds of fascinating case studies which made him famous, and the last contain miscellaneous thoughts about his interests and family.

In the first section he shares his lifelong love of swimming  and childhood experiments, his love of museums of geology and natural history, a marvelous paean to the chemist-poet Humphrey Davy, and a somewhat bittersweet contemplation of libraries in which he has something to say about the replacement of so many great paper books by impoverished online versions.

In the second section he writes about patients with neurological challenges. In doing this he goes beyond simple descriptions of disorders like Alzheimer’s diseases and depression. He describes how Alzheimer’s is increasingly seen as a reorganization of the brain rather than a simple degeneration where patients connect with areas of the brain which have been previously enveloped by layers of complexity. Under the right circumstances, Alzheimer’s patients can be every bit as alert and responsive to specific stimuli as anyone else. There is also  a fascinating chapter on the history of mental asylums which shows just how far we have come in treating the mentally ill with dignity.

The third and last section speaks of many of Sacks’s personal loves and these include gardens, gefilte fish, the periodic table and the discovery of super heavy elements, a trip to Colorado Springs and a mesmerizing interaction through a glass panel with an orangutan. The final chapter which was published in the New Yorker recently is poignant and leaves one feeling sad. “It laments the lack of human connection engendered by our obsession with devices, and Sacks talks about how depressed he feels when he sees everyone who was previously nodding, smiling and talking on the streets of New York lost in their devices and screens, seduced by pieces of fleeting information.” Sacks questions the coming of technology that seems to sap us of our human and emotional juices. He also sees science as a saving grace for us, and a final note of hope that humanity will continue to endure: “As I face my own impending departure from the world, I have to believe this – that mankind and our planet will survive, that life will continue, and that this will not be out final hour.” Even as he bids us goodbye in this final essay collection, Sacks’s  writings live and will continue “to inform, stimulate and inspire as long as men and women read, listen to music, care for loved ones and revel in the excitement of science.” I guess I will continue to reread them until I join Sacks at that great library somewhere else.

“Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level” by Leander Kahney— The Leader

Kahney, Leander. “Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level”, Portfolio, 2019.

The Leader

Amos Lassen

The death of Steve Jobs left a tremendous void at Apple, one of the most innovative companies of all time. Jobs wasn’t merely Apple’s iconic founder and CEO; he was Apple, the living embodiment of his brand. It was hard to imagine if anyone could fill his shoes; especially not Tim Cook, the intensely private executive who many thought of as Apple’s “operations drone.”

Now seven years later, things at Apple are at a high and couldn’t be better. Its stock has nearly tripled, making it the world’s first trillion dollar company. Under Cook’s leadership, Apple is pushing hard into renewable energy, labor and environmentally-friendly supply chains, user privacy, and highly-recyclable products. From the massive growth of the iPhone to lesser-known victories like the Apple Watch, Cook is leading Apple to a new era of success. And Cook has done so as he remains a private man.

Through access with several Apple insiders, we learn about the private Cook and hear the inspiring story of how one man attempted to replace someone irreplaceable and how through strong, humane leadership, understanding of the supply chain, and a commitment to his values–succeeded more than anyone had ever thought possible.

Here is the kind of book and kind of life story that is easy to become lost it. It is a finely researched illuminating portrait of a mover and shaker of our time. This is “an adulating biography of Apple’s left-brained wunderkind, whose work continues to revolutionize modern technology.”