What is your favorite biography? Why?
Chernow’s Hamilton – seemed so relevant and relatable. I want to read all his biographies.
Marie Antoniete by Stephen Zweig
Stephen Zweig is a very good biographer.
Swimming Across, I had to read it for a Strategic Management class and really enjoyed the story.
Loved John Adams
The Autobiography of Henry VII: With Notes by His Fool Will Somers: A Novel by Margaret George. Excellent book that makes you almost understand a bizarre king.
One of my top ten books. LOVE it. And Cleopatra and Mary, Queen of Scots. Her other books yes, but not as much.
Lisa: I have the one about Elizabeth I on my Kindle but haven’t gotten to it yet.
That sounds really interesting. It’s going on my list.
Michelle SO GOOD. And it’s the book that the show The Tudors was based on.
I loved Mornings on Horseback a biography of Theodore Roosevelt’s early life.
Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East. A great look at T. E. Lawrence and the machinations that created the current Middle Eastern states.
Ooh. I need to read this
The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir…excellent work
I loved the one by Antonia Frayser about him.
Cathy that one was good but it was about him not them this focuses on the women which is kind of interesting I’ve always been fascinated with them since I heard the rhyme when I was a kid to remember who they were- divorced beheaded died divorced beheaded survived made me want to learn more about them and this is an excellent book to do that
Mornings on Horseback, by McCollough. I loved it so much that I plan on reading it again some day
It is an autobiography, but Me: Stories of my Life by Katherine Hepburn
The trilogy about Eleanor Roosevelt.
d you read the one about the two Mrs. Roosevelts? Such a complicated relationship. MIL did everything to be mean to her but Eleanor’s sense of devotion and confidence that came surely from within her spirit. We could use a little of her right and wrong right now.
She was such an amazing, strong, intelligent woman. My hero!
The books I read are by Blanche Wiesen Cook.
John Addams. Coz David McCullough is brilliant. And I liked all the first account communications he uses. Also this book allowed me to greatly understand Abigail who was admirable in her own right.
Agree. John Adams by McCullough.
“Give “Em Heck, Harry” and one based on quotations of the Prairie Philosopher from Oklahoma …because neither are pretentious but matter of fact.
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. At this time. There are others of course.
That’s in my bio pile!
Bill Nick’s Secretariat Great one too. His words. Yummy.
Loved it! Went on YouTube to watch all the races!
Madeleine Albright is one of the best I’ve read
One on Booker T. Washington. He was a true educator believing everyone needed and had the right to an education.
The serpent and the moon. Biography of Diane de Poitiers by one of her descendants Princess Michael of Kent
Joan of Arc by Samuel Clemons
Leonardo DaVinci by Walter Isaacson. Amazingly good biography!
This one is on my pile. ?
Just started reading this and enjoying it so far 🙂
The Wright Brothers
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard. The life of President Garfield. It reads almost like a novel. I knew little about Garfield before this book!
Yes! This is an amazing book and so well written.
It’s the next book for our Book Club (not until September, though…)
Terry Waite, Taken On Trust. He was a hostage in Beirut for years. His story of hope and faith was very moving.
I met Terry Waite, two month before he was kidnapped. Very nice man.
I have read most of these and loved them but would add William Manchester’s biography of Winston Churchill. It is a trilogy.
Hemingway, many of his . . . Just liked the thirst for living he had. . .but like very few of his books
Interesting. I feel the same way about Agatha Christie. She was so interesting, and I loved her memoir so much, but I don’t like her actual books. (I don’t read mysteries in general.)
I enjoyed Victoria by Daisy Goodwin and then watched the series on Masterpiece Theatre. Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye (JFK) by Kenneth O’Donnell. Flag of Our Fathers by John McCain. Natural Woman by Carole King. And the 3 books by Carol Burnett.
“Those Who Love” by Irving Stone about John & Abigail Adams … I read it when I was a teenager and am 68 now & it has stayed with me all these years
I read most of his books – all biographical novels.
I remember reading other but would have to look up the titles but all were good !!
Katherine Graham. She was a strong female when that wasn’t in style. Enjoyed it a lot.
I read that, too and enjoyed it so much. Was it called “A Personal History”?
I think so. She was on the cover. I cried at one point when she was older, lonesome and feeling no self worth. She was such a strong person in her time.
Linda She might have felt alone because she had no peers. She had to fight and struggle for everything she did. A Courageous Woman. ⭐️
I was really saddened by her death; I felt as if I knew her.
yes- david mccullough is a masterful storyteller, and this book made me love the old oak so much. also the sad ending on july 4th.
He’s such a great speaker. My daughter loved hearing him at the National Book Festival. And she’s 11!
I thought you meant Adams, not McCullough! ?
ary of a Crackhead by Bill Clegg
The three-volume biography of Teddy Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. Also Truman by David McCullough.
Love, love, love Anais!
Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt, by the brilliant Doris Kearns Goodwin. ?
I think I read that. I have a horrible memory but I seriously think I read it.
No Ordinary Times, Kennedy’s and Fitzgeralds and Team of Rivals. Doris Kearns Goodwin so good
The Bronte Sisters: A Life in Letters
The First American by H.W. Brands. About Ben Franklin. I’ve read scores of biographies, and none caught me the way this one did. I got it for Christmas and could not put it down. I learned a huge amount about someone I thought I knew, but I was wrong. Franklin May be the most interesting character in American history. I’d put John Adams, by David McCullough in second place on this, and I loved it as well.
Zelda…about Zelda Fitzgerald.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
I read “The Agony and the Ecstasy” then went to Italy. I soaked up everything I saw. ❤️
Zelda by Nancy Milford. I thought the author balanced the book well in terms of pacing and details. More importantly, the author did not seem to have an agenda; to me at least.
Doris Day… Because she is awesome!
I was surprised how well written Hillary Clinton’s Living History “was, read only recently got from a used bookstore I volunteer at. Right now I am reading another book from there about Balzac, written by Stefan Zweig. Never heard of author, never read Balzac but it is really, really interesting.
Vivien Leigh …she’s such a beautiful gem.
I agree…also my favorite !
I loved Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon by Larry Tye. It’s an interesting and well thought out (in my opinion) look at the evolution of Kennedy and how he was different from his father and brother.
The biography on Queen when I went to the blind school there were 2 friends and always saying a particular Queen song and they played it so much you eat a loved it or hated hence the loving of the value of Queen and no I don’t remember the small
Paper Garden by Molly Peacock. It is about Mary Delaney, a woman of 18th century England. In her 70’s, she began creating paper collages of the flowers of England that are now stored in the British museum.
Mary Todd Lincoln. She was fascinating. Intelligent, gregarious, witty, but kind of nuts.
That is an interesting, great biography.
Roots and Malcolm X both blew me away.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a great book.
Gandhi. The idea that is fed to u about him isn’t half the story
Rosemary…about Rosemary Kennedy, it was interesting to see a different side of an important family, also heartbreaking
What is the title & author?
Rosemary by Kate Clifford Larson
That book is on my tbr shelf! My friend gave it to me and said it was the best biography she’s read (and she was an English & History double major so she read a number of them)
Lost World of James Smithson, about how we came to have the Smithsonian Institution.
I’ll have to look that one up!
I am reading A Mothers Reckoning Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold right now. She is the mom of one of the boys that killed in Columbine. Fascinating read.
Doc by Mary Doria Russell
The story about al Rocker.
I, Tina (Tina Turner)….no fluff, just real
The new biography, “Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life” (written by Laura Thompson) is very interesting and well written.
Thank you, I’ll have to check that one out.
Laurie heard abiut this ine, havent read it yet!
Paul Revere. He was way more important in the American Revolution than just riding a horse. I was amazed to find out.
Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley. I admired him as a newscaster but I didn’t know much about his background. I will never forget his broadcasts when President John F Kennedy was assassinated. Later, I was in college and actively protested against the Viet Nam War. I remember Cronkite’s reports from Viet Nam. This biography goes into a lot more detail and explains all that Cronkite knew about the war, which he included in his reports. The American people were being lied to. It was Cronkite and other journalists in Viet Nam who finally blew the top off of things and reported the truth about the Viet Nam War to the American people.
Truman by David McCullough. Impeccably researched and written with his usual perfection. Outstanding in every way and certainly deserving of the Pulitzer.
Love his work. 1776 was one of my favorites!
Oh, mine too and I just loved The Wright Brothers. What an inspiring story and beautifully written by the master American storyteller.
My favorites of his are The Greater Journey; Americans in Paris and Mornings on Horseback.
I read one about Georgia Okeefe that was marvelous. Don’t remember the name. She was so avant-garde and creative. I loved it. Loaned it out once too many times.
Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life by Roxana Robinson? An excellent biography.
Running with Scissors by Augustine Burroughs. It’s a great statement about dysfunctional families and how far it can go.
The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls is really good too.
I love that one too!
It made me really sad though!
Both of those made me sad but I couldn’t tear myself away!
Yes, I felt the same way. It made me feel better about my own family! Lol!
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah is my most recent favorite
A recent favorite for me, too.
I loved his book also!
<3 this one!!!
Yes, it is my favorite of 2017.
Queen Noor: Leap Of Faith, Memoirs Of An Unexpected Life is a great book. I picked mine up at the Goodwill in Tillamook,OR when I spent some time on the Oregon Coast with my daughter and her family, two months after my husband passed away unexpectedly.
Sandburg’s Abraham Lincoln. I have a strong sense that this presidency was perhaps at least as essential and critical to the continuance of the United States of America. Souls such as these remain after an era and into the ages and for good reasons.
Forgot to say..as George Washinton’s presidency.
Have read all the First Ladies auto biographies.
Also loved Julie Andrews, Alan Cummings and Diane Von Ferstenberg.
I’m calling Boys in the Boat a somewhat biography. Others…anything by Laura Hillenbrand: Seabiscuit and Unbroken
I love all three of those books!
Agree! Boys in the Boat had great message besides illustrating true grit. Rowing in harmony is the great message for being winners!
Eleanor and Hick : The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady
Elenor of Aquitaine
Lisa are you referring to the book by Marion Meade? My favorite!
It’s Always Something, Gilda Radner. My first bio and favorite still. I read this before I knew about cancer. And now I live in a community that uses her story to motivate fighters, survivors, and helpers.
Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox…perfect book to read on a hot day! Also loved Half-Broke Horses, the amazing life story of Jeannette Walls’s grandmother (for those who enjoyed The Glass Castle).
Katherine Graham’s memoir Personal History
I loved this book, too, Michael Casberg.
The Sisters: Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary Lovell. I loved this book for the fascinating characters (Nancy Mitford’s novels are still in publication, Love in a Warm Climate). Also, the history of the period combined with the old houses they occupied. Debo Mitford married the Earl of Devonshire which brought her to Chatsworth House. This book and others involving the decline of the aristocracy in England are great companions to a Bill Bryson book. At Home. It is a fabulous read about the history of houses. Quite an education in itself.
The Sisters is on my to-be-read list.
Yes! I loved it!
Open: An Autobiography. Great book. I bought it at my local library’s book sale for 25 cents!
More memoirs then biographies I loved ‘Truth & Beauty’ and ‘Autobiography of a Face’ about the friendship & lives of Anne Patchett and Lucy Grealy.
Also ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith
I’ve read both of those. In fact, I have a personally signed copy of “Truth & Beauty.”
the Queen, AMAZING!
Anything about Diana, Princess of Wales.
Oh, I forgot the why…b/c she was Diana, Princess of Wales.
Check this one out!
I love memoirs and biographies and have many favorites but the latest one that still haunts me is Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Bret Witter and Luis Carlos Montalvan
Truman by David McCullough
I also love this biography. So very well researched and written.
Certainly at the top of my list. Impeccably researched and written to perfection. Pulitzer worthy for sure.
Anything by McCullough is good. I liked The Wright Brothers.
He is such an excellent biographer.
I agree about McCullough. I also agree about The Wright Brothers. I read it one rainy wintry Sunday last year. Read it cover-to-cover that day and just couldn’t put it down.
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.
Wrong answer. This is what happens when I can’t keep my eyes open.
I love biographies about Henry the VIII and any of his 6 wives.
Also Marie Antoinette. Her biographies are so interesting.
I’m so glad someone saw the humor in this. I thought I was answering someone about a good book club book. And I kept falling asleep.
Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt
Seabiscuit by Laura Hildebrandt, yeah I know it’s about a horse but also the time and his connections. And, more traditionally, John Adams by David McCullough is so rich and detailed, it gives real feel and life to our founding fathers, especially oir cover boy John Adams.
Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan – Fascinating history!
West with the Night actually an Autobiography by Beryl Markham. An amazing woman.
Autobiography/Memoir Rob Lowe’s books Stories I Only Tell My Friends and Love Life are my favorites!
I liked that but was disappointed in the lack of hookers and blow stories 🙂
But my love of Chris Traeger triumphs over all!
Lauralyn Actually got to see him talk about the books live after reading them so that made the experiences that much cooler.
Lauralyn That is LITER-ALLY the truth!
Does Marley and Me count?
Yes and Amazing Gracie
Ron Chernow’s biography of George Washington
His recent book about Grant was surprisingly interesting and a good read.
I recently read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and thought it was very well written and insightful.
by Ron Chernow…beautifully written, important history of a period I knew little about.
I loved his Hamilton biography!!
Chernow’s meticulous research is astounding! Well be reading these books for a century!
Julie Andrews…written with grace, class, and finesse
Rag Pickers Son, Kirk Douglas is a good one.
My favorite is Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. I read a good deal of biographies, autobiographies memoirs etc and I find that excellent biographers are ones that write a non biased bio like Chernow, McCullough, Caro, Isaacson and their are others.
Diana I loved this. Chernow is an extraordinary historian.
Boone by Morgan.
So good. Read it a few years ago. I love most everything about that time in American history and I especially loved this.
I have heard Trevor Noah’s autobiography, Born a Crime is really good.
Loved the book. I found more to admire about him and his mother.
The audio version is great
Georgia O’keeffe and Frida – can you guess who I want to grow up to be?
Destiny of the Republic, the life of President Garfield
I also recently read Hero of the Empire by her, Candace Millard, and really liked it as well.
She is an excellent author
Memoir/autobiography: Just Kids and M Train, by Patti Smith. Also, I Celebrate Myself, by Bill Morgan. I was never very into Kerouac, but these books began a long love affair with the Beats.
Me too on Kerouac (except On the Road) but yes on love of Ginsberg and Bowles in particular
Seabiscuit, I love horses and this one had such a wonderful story to tell.
The Romans the final chapter. This family has always fascinated me and this was well written and researched. I also had not realized how much mental illness ran in some royal famalies.
I loved both Hillenbrand’s books, Seabiscuit and Unbroken. I hope she come out with another soon.
Deborah me too. Seems I am always waiting on my favorite authors to put out a new book.
Sheryl Wally Lamb is another of my favorite authors whose books are few and far between.
Deborah I am not familiar with that author, I will have to check them out.
Deborah Thanks for sharing.
You look wonderful tonight by Patti Boyd who was married to George Harrison and Eric Clapton. Good read and very open.
Thank you for reminding me of this one. I really enjoyed it. I need to follow up with “I, Me, Mine ” by George Harrison.
Oh I need to read that too!
Frank Lloyd Wright (Loving Frank)
That was a good book. I really enjoyed it.
Anything about Eleanor Roosevelt. She was smart, compassionate and ahead of her time. I find her inspiring!
She also encouraged her husband, Franklin, to act on many social issues. No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Roosevelt: The Home Front In World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin is an excellent book. Have you read it? The author won the Pulitzer Prize in History for this book.
Not a biography exactly but the picture book Amelia and Elenor go for a ride is fantastic! It’s about the day Amelia Earhart and Elenor met.
Donna Great suggestions. I admire Eleanor Roosevelt’s activism.
Mariana I have not heard of that one. I will have to look for it!
Karen she was certainly ahead of her time.
Donna, I will read this for sure! Thanks for the recommendation!
Cori Doris Kearns Goidwin is one of my favorite historians. I really enjoyed The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys, Lyndon Johnson and Team of Rivals. She wrote a memoir, Wait Til Next Year, about growing up in New York and the love she and her father had of baseball and the Brooklyn Dodgers. My favorite books by her are No Ordinary Time and the Fitzgerald and the Kennedys. She has a PhD in government from Harvard. She was a White House fellow during the Johnson Administration but because she vocally opposed the Viet Nam War and Johnson’s involvement in it, she was reassigned to the Dept of Labor. She later taught government for 10 years at Harvard.
Donna, she sounds like a lady who knows her stuff!
Cori i hope you like it. I learned a lot by reading the book.
Born a Crime Trevor Noah.
Linda outstanding book!
I already in my head had formed an opinion, not a good one, on Mary Todd Lincoln.
I’m still not sure why I impulsively even choose this for a read BUT ever so glad I did!! This book grabbed me from page one & certainly explained her behavior during her lifetime!!
She is now one of my most beloved historical people, I feel like we are now literary friends.
She is fascinating isn’t she? Insecure, materialistic, mean, shy, charming, smart, cunning. She is just fascinating to me and the fact that he loved her no matter what.
Well, I’m sold! I’ll read this next. Saw her gown in DC.
Just reading Martin short bio. Clever and heartwarming.
Mary’s, Mary Todd Lincoln, manic depression defined, son put her in mental institution, fought for pension for herself after President’s death and I mean fought and Mary Tyler Moore, did you know she helped her sick brother commit suicide by feeding him drugs in ice cream, was an alcoholic, lost her only child a son to self inflicted gunshot wound. Still she turned the world on with her smile. Oh one more Neil Simon he can be as funny about his life as his plays.
The Suspect by Jeffrey Womack and John Hollins. It is Jeffreys book ,but is about all of us. Also another book about us is S season of darkness by Douglas Jones. The story is wrong. But it is about all of us and Marcia Trimble.Both books are.
The House of Mondavi. The beginnings of the biggest vineyards in California and the battle between the two sons. A great read.
This sounds good. I usually stick to politics, current events and world affairs but this piques my interest. Might give it a try. Thanks.
. I learnt so much. Very readable
My brother told me this was a great read too.
Becky it really was the best book I have read all year
The Girl from Yamhill
Trevor Noah’s autobiography Born a Crime. Loved it!!!! You must listen to it!!
I second the recommendation for the audio version!
I am currently listening to this since so many recommended it. Had to get a card at a neighboring county since ours didn’t have it. Really good so far!
This is great biography
It was really good
I recently read
“Peter the Great” by Robert Massie. It’s a great story about interesting times and a man who influenced events.
This was the most interesting book because it tells things we’ve never heard of.
Soundscapes: a Musician’s journey through life and death, Paul Robertson. A violinists memoir of his survival from a rupture aorta, but with frightening dreams; and frequent flashbacks to his coming of age as a musician and the Medici Quartet.
The “fictional” biography of St Francis called the Passionate Troubador by Edward M Hays. Classified as a novel but very interesting. Currently reading man of the century life and times of Pope John Paul II written in 1997
Marion Meade’s Eleanor of Aquitaine:A Biography. She has been treated badly by historians over the centuries. The only woman to have been Queen of both France and England. A queen who participated in the First Crusade. IMHO, she’s been given short shrift by men who didn’t know how to deal with an “Uppity” Woman.
Born a Crime
Isn’t that technically an autobiography. That the only reason I didn’t put it down for my favorite. I❤️ Trevor’s mom.
Mariana it is, but I thought autobiographies and memoirs were included. Those are always best to me.
One that hasn’t been mentioned: Steve Jobs by Isaac Walterson.
Actually, you could include all of Isaacson’s works; Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein
Make that by Walter Isaacson! LOL!
I am also looking forward to reading Leonardo daVin Io.
Up From Slavery:Booker T Washington
I love this book.
Was a good read. Had to read in college. Guess where I went?
Donna Tuskegee the school he founded
I liked Anthony Bordain’s Kitchen Confidential and Raw. Both as read by him. More memoir than biography I suppose. As to why, his books are an irreverent and blisteringly honest look at the people who work in the food industry.
It’s an autobiography, but mine has to be Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. It is simultaneously informative, interesting, engaging, emotional and poetic. Beautifully written. Wonderful. Reads more like a novel than like a biography. Raw and simply gorgeous.
The Disaster Artist, the funniest book i have read in my life
Notorious RBG, The life and times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I loved it because it made me realize that she was behind all the laws that have given so many rights to women.
This one is on my list.
Hamilton very long but Good.
Notorious RBG – such a powerful woman!
Melville: His World and Work by Andrew Delbanco
Trials of the Earth: The True Story of a Pioneer Woman by Mary Mann Hamilton
It’s not a biography or autobiography, but more like her memoir. Wonderful read. NPR did a story about her with photos. Link below.
Ernest Hemingway: A Life Story by Carlos Baker. It satisfied my interest in both the writer and the man.
Too many! “The Last Lion” by William Manchester. “Truman” by David McCullough. “Queen Mary” by James Pope-Hennessy. “Harpo Talks” by Harpo Marx. “Swanson on Swanson” by Gloria Swanson.
Cleopatra. Frida. John Adams. Diana. Natalie Wood.
Johnny Cash, that dude really had major drug issues & overcame them with the help & love of his wife June Carter.
Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. The authors did 10 years of research on this almost 1,000 page biography. Van Gogh is my favorite artist and this book read almost like a novel and I could not put it down! I loved it!
The Secret life of Harry Houdini: the making of America’s first super hero. It’s Fantastic! Probably becase Houdini lead a remarkable life, and was a decent man.
Also Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Why? Becase it inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write “Like your ruining out of time”
Any books by Christopher Andersen! His biographies are so readable, just really about the person. “Somewhere In Heaven” about Christopher Reeve, “The Day John Died” about John F Kennedy, Jr., “Madonna Unauthorized” and more. All great reads!!
Autobiographies/ Memoirs “West with the Night” by Beryl Markham, “The Road to Coorain” by Jill Kerr Conway, “Madam Secretary” by Madeleine Albright, “Woman of the Boundary Waters” by Justine Kerfoot.
Oh, I forgot the “Why?’ Loved these because they are all strong women who led exceptional interesting lives, beautifully told.
Just finished Kris Jenner’s book and love her!
A remarkable mother by Jimmy Carter. His love for is mother is remarkable, and well deserved.
Beryl Markham’s West With The Night.
“A House in the sky” by Amanda Lindhout. It still haunts me, years later. Not sure that makes it a “favorite” but for sure a lasting impression!
Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War 1937-1948 by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. She was born in Czechoslovakia but later emigrated to Britain and then to the US. She was raised Catholic but when Madeleine was an adult she discovered that she and her family were Jewish. Three of her grandparents had died in the Holocaust. This really is an extraordinary story that I was not aware of until I read this book.
I read a YA biography called Albert Einstein, Citizen of the World, when I was in seventh grade. It made a great impression on me. I also read a biography of Louisa May Alcott that I loved when I was about 11 or 12 years old.
i think from off the top of my eah ere but RON POWERS take on Twain….
Angela’s Ashes, because it’s amazingly written, and it should be required reading for anyone who thinks their life is tough.
That was so good!
The one that I’m currently reading is quickly becoming my favorite biography! “The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered” by Laura Auricchio.
A nickels worth of skim milk
Haywire by Brooke Hayward. I don’t know why exactly, except that it mostly takes place during the golden age of Hollywood and gives glimpse of some of the people from that era. It’s a very tragic story, really.
Lillian Hellman’s three memoirs: “Pentimento,” “Scoundrel Time,” and “An Unfinished Woman” because they show her struggles, choices, triumphs, mistakes, and so many lessons. She knew historic people, stood up to McCathyism, and had extraordinary relationships (or perhaps extraordinary insights.) They’re all masterfully written, too (go figure). * * * * * “Old paint on a canvas, as it ages, sometimes becomes transparent. When that happens it is possible, in some pictures, to see the original lines: a tree will show through a woman’s dress, a child makes way for a dog, a large boat is no longer on an open sea. That is called pentimento because the painter “repented,” changed his mind. Perhaps it would be as well to say that the old conception, replaced by a later choice, is a way of seeing and then seeing again. That is all I mean about the people in this book. The paint has aged and I wanted to see what was there for me once, what is there for me now.”
― Lillian Hellman, Pentimento
_”Autobiography of Malcolm X” by Arthur Hailey (i.e. “Roots”), because it provided me a new avenue to view this historical figure in the civil rights context.
Malcolm X is of my favorites. I came of age during the Civil Rights injustices and I protested against the Viet Nam War when I was in college. I have recommended this book to many people so that they can read a a real slice of history from that time in our country.
Citizen Cohn by Nicholas von Hoffmann. What a horrific person Roy Cohn was. I read this when published in 1988 and it stays with me.
“Alec Guinness: The Authorised Biography” by Piers Paul Read. Guinness is one of my favorite actors and Read did a fabulous job of bringing him to life, along with his life-long struggles with his illegitimacy, his homosexual leanings, and his Roman Catholic faith. I get it out periodically and re-read parts. A consumate biography, imho.
I Me Mine by George Harrison. Spiritual.
The Magnolia Story- Joanna and Chip Gaines
Thank you for all the great suggestions. Added at least 8 more books to my TBR list ?
Out of Line by Barbara Lynch – unapologetic yet fragile telling of how she became not only a headlining female chef but also a successful restauranteur from basically nothing.
The Kid Stays In The Picture by Robert Evans. Not only did it go behind the scenes of many classic movies made during the 70’s but I found it very profound.
Untamed by Will Harlan and Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman are some of my favorites.
The three volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, by Blanche Weisen Cook, is wonderful. I also recently enjoyed Grant, by Ron Chernow.
Added to my list!
The. Very human look into the life of a young person living during a turbulent violent time. Reading this, Anne resonated with me and reminded me of the cousins I love, she became the sister I often wished to have. Gave me hope for the future, a reminder to cherish life’s blessings and that everyone has a voice.
Love this book! What a beautiful soul this young girl had. I recommend it all the time.
Anything by David McCullough
Yes! Trevor Noah was brilliant in his humor and truth????????????
The Life You Save May Be Your Own by Paul Elie. Short biographies of Catholics but relevant to everyone who searches for meaning in life.
I’ve never heard of this book, hut I’m intrigued. I’ve added to my “to read” list. Thank for sharing!
It was good. It also gave me more authors to read! 🙂
The Miracle Worker. Dramatized, but still…
The Tender Bar. It taught me that men can be soft and romantic.
Gerda Weissman Klein’s All But My Life – it was powerfully written. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom – gratitude in (not for) all things. Both of these are set during the WWII, and both are excellent reads!
Me by Katharine Hepburn. She’s just so New England, down to Earth, say it like it is, yet doesn’t take herself too seriously fabulousness! Even better, if you can find it on audio, to hear her tell it herself in her unique delivery- just priceless. Though, it’s an autobiography, not a biography.
I read that one. Very good. She had a hard life in some ways. Fascinating family.
Omg, I read this so long ago and completely forgot about it. Her audio would be priceless.
Lauralyn Hard to find now. It was on audiotape.
Meredith I’m going on a mission. I’ll burn you a copy and mail it when I am successful.
Lauralyn I thought I had one, but then remembered I used to check it out from the library. I tried to find it on iTunes, but no luck. I have a copy of the book.
Fierce Patriot and On A Farther Shore the Life of Rachel Carson.
Fierce Patriot was so good!!
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
Autobiography of Mark Twain…based on all his letters, notes, etc. Two huge volumes and well worth reading.
What is the exact title of the book? I searched but there were many.
It’s by Mark Twain and Harriet E. Smith…
Glass Castles and Half Broke Horses Horses by Jeanette Walls.
When I was a kid in school, I devoured the 921 section of the library! Biographies were my favorite! I tended to lean towards strong women in history…Helen Keller, Clara Barton, Anne Frank, Jenny Lind, Queen Elizabeth I, etc. I haven’t read as many as an adult, but still seem to lean towards strong female characters in my fiction choices as well.
I did the same thing!
Truman by D. McColough
This is my vote as well.
John Adams by David McCullough.
Truman by McColluogh
John Adams, too.
Robert Caro L.B Johnson.
I’m thinking any of David McCullough’s book would be a great read.
Donna Deverona was an Olympic Diver. competed in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. She tells how she got started in diving by giving up swimming. Her story was my first Biography, and it made an impression. Women could compete and win! Bigtime!
Alexander Hamilton Chernow. Great read and lots of parallels to Today.
Next on my listen to list. Waiting in the car.
Angela’s Ashes. I guess its more memoir but it is amazing. When you read T’is and Teacher Man, you can truly envision McCourt’s epic journey for a better life.
Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion and redemption of Stonewall Jackson.
I’ve been reading the letters of Vincent Van Gogh. It’s a massive three book set, but it’s so wonderful. Van Gogh was such a beautiful and eloquent writer.
Dear Theo by Irving Stone, Vincent’s letters to his brother Theo, a large book but not three volumes. Read it and also Lust for Life also by Stone years ago. Both are good books.
Judith I’ll have to check those out. 🙂
Alexander Hamilton by Chernow. GREAT study in the origins of our country, lots of parallels to today. So much infighting amongs the founding fathers! Reads like a suspense novel some of the time. I highly recommend it.
Read the biography of Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas. Bonhoeffer is shining example of a person who maintains his moral integrity under very adverse circumstances.
Karen yes I’ve read that one too…great read
Lust for Life by Irving Stone, Just Kids by Patti Smith, My Left Foot by Christy Brown, Night by Ellie Wiesel
I was going to say my favorite is Night by Ellie Wiesel.
Peggy A heart breaking book
Judith yes indeed it is. History is not always nice.
Peggy Sadly so. Hopefully we learn from history and don’t repeat our mistakes. Everyone should read Night.
Marmee and Me by Eve LaPlante
The Sound of Wings, the Life of Amelia Earhart, by Mary S. Lovell, Earhart’s life has always fascinated me. The way she wanted to do something that most said a woman couldn’t do; and the mystery of what really happened to her. It seems we keep getting closer and closer to a final end of the story.
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen because it not only gives many details about his life, it makes the time from the 50’s- 90’s come to life using music as a backdrop.
I just found a copy of Born to Run but have not read it yet. Glad to to hear it’s good, so many of these rock bios do not love up to expections. Of course, I would expect good things from Springsteen.
Judith , I listened to it rather than read it because Bruce reads it. I can tell his Broadway show would be excellent just by listening to him tell his story.
Julie A friend of mine listened to it too and said that hearing Bruce read it added a lot. Maybe I’ll check with the library and see if they have the audio CDs available.
I highly recommend “Born to Run” also. Please listen to the audio book version, it is so good. I borrowed it from my library so hopefully it will be available at yours.
In the Hands of Providence. About Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Just a really great book. Informative and eloquently written.
I just finished Hold the Roses, by Rose Marie, really liked it. I read a lot of bios I like them, was disappointed by some people, but that’s why you read them to find out about them
I enjoyed “Lust for Life” by Irving Stone.
Ola Winslow, “Jonathan Edwards”
Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane.
Also an autobiography.
Alisa I read it while in high school. Powerful stuff.
An excellent book.
The Story of My Life – Helen Keller
I just re-read this one last month after many years (30?). I first read it in 8th grade almost 60 years ago.
I do not like biographies
I didn’t think I did either until I read a few. Now I’m hooked. People are fascinating.
Marsha People are fascinating. I love history (it was my major) but I find that fiction captures people’s personality and motivations better than biographers.
Well, that makes sense!
You might try Fierce Patriot about General Sherman. I thought it was interesting.
Shoot Like A Girl by MJ Hegar!!!!
It’s an autobiography, but it’s my fav. Walking with the Wind by John Lewis.
More a memoir than a biography…H is for Hawk. Beautifully raw writing. I also really loved An Infinity of Little Hours about a handful of Carthusian monks.
Anything by Irving Stone. Can’t pick one.
Books by Jon Meacham or David McCullough
There are so many biographies to chose from!
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Amazing testimonial to an amazing man, Louie Zamperini. Left me speechless and stayed with me for days.
I liked this one too!
It made me cry.
Outstanding! I hope she is working on another book.
I love the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I have learned so many lessons from it about life and business. It is also available on Librivox for free.
I reread this every couple of years.
I do too. I always seem to pick up something different from it that I didn’t need before.
recently Born a Crime, Trevor Noah. It was entertaining, and emotional, and easy to read. Plus I am interested in him and his life. I get much of my daily news from him.
I listened to this one as an audio book, read by the author, purely to hear his wonderful ability with accents. It was delightful!
Helen Keller. First read it at about age 12, have read it several times since. Her inner strength is the reason why.
Two autobiographies I really liked are I. Asimov by Isaac Asimov and My Life by Golda Meir. Both were very interesting people.
A Mass For the Dead by William Gibson. Beautifully account story of Gibson’s boyhood and the death of his father and mother. Cry my eyes out every time I read it.
Mornings on Horseback by David McCallah (sp) TR’s early Life
That’s what I was going to post. Love David McCullough.
LEONARDO DAVINCI by Walter Isaacson. Stellar book!
TEAM OF RIVALS by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Another amazingly well written biography.
TOR is also my only signed book.
I also enjoyed Team of Rivals. Great inspiration book.
The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A Caro…well researched, well written, and it really has stayed with me. There was an incredible description of what it was like to be a a farm wife in West Texas before electricity. I was 10 when LBJ became president so it was fascinating to learn so much more about him than I knew growing up.
I’ve heard so many good things about this book. Time to order it. But, hey, you all are making me crazy with all of these unheard of titles. I cannot buy/read them all.
Florence Nightingale: A Life Inspired. She was a strong woman who persevered and wouldn’t take no for an answer, in an age when women were submissive with no rights.
All the First Ladies. So much insight to their unique experiences.
Julie Andrews, Diane VonFurstenberg and Alan Cummings
The Thread that Runs So True by Jesse Stuart
More of a memoir than biography- In The Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White was a great read.
Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner, because it makes you think outside the box and not about labels (incl denominations).
Just looked this up on ThriftBooks- added to my wishlist!
In the last few years, I really enjoyed Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Both long, but interesting.
m of Rivals is a great book, so well written.
Jobs is sitting in my pile waiting to be read!
Notes of a Native Son, James Baldwin, and everything else he wrote.
So sad that his writing has become so relevant today.
Yes! David McCullough’s bio on Truman was fantastic.
Scott Hamilton’s Landing It
The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton. Emotional, powerful. Speaks to injustice and the power of faith. So unthinkable and yet so, so real.
Peter the Great. I just found the things that he accomplished fascinating.
So many great books!!!
I loved Hamilton.
Too many to recount. Spent summers when. I WAS UNDERGRADreading biographies. Some people you would probably not know because I am getting very, very old.
I like to read biographies of Ben Franlyn.
John Adams by David Mc Cullough. Really good read and he is really the designer of our Constitution. Abigail Adams was an amazing woman too.
I will have to check this one out.
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson is one of my favorites because first, Franklin is just a great subject; he was so multi-faceted. But Isaacson does a superb job of showing us his life and not just his contributions to science and politics (although those are important).
I read The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr last year and really enjoyed it. I’m not generally a fan of biographies, but am related to him so I checked it out.
This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection – the autobiography of Carol Burnett. read it last year for the PopSugar Reading Challenge.
Einstein his life and universe by Walter Isaacson, great read
Loves the motorcycle diary. Che Guevara
No One Here Gets Out Alive.
I Just finished Born a Crime Stories from a South African Childhood By Trevor Noah and I loved it.
Out of all the Warren Buffett books I like Buffett The Making of an American Capitalist By Roger Lowenstein the most.
I Just bought Hetty The Genius and Madness of America’s First Female Tycoon by Charles Slack I’m Looking forward to reading about the Witch Of Wall Street!
Born a Crime was fantastic
“Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva.” by Doug Moe. She escaped the Soviet Union & lived in Wisconsin.
Malala’s book….Hilary Clinton’s book..Trevor Noah’s book and Bruce Sprinstein’s book was really super…
I do want to read I am Malala. And Hillary’s too. Loved Born A Crime!
Rhonda The new book about Trump was a good read too…
A Place Called Waco by David Thibodeau. An excellent read about what went on inside Mount Carmel during the Branch Davidian seige in 1993.
Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds
Book by Lyndall Gordon
Oh I just remembered. The Immortal life of Henrietta Lack. Not my favorite biography, but definitely worthy of an honorable mention.
Absolutely! Through most of this book my mouth was wide open in surprise and awe!
I can’t wait to read it this month.
Confessions Of A Prairie Bitch by Allison Ingram was great! She was Nellie on Little House on the Prairie. Was one of the best I ever read
I gave it five stars on Goodreads. The girl can write!
Glass Castle by Rebecca Wells …….
Excellent true story,
I love Walter Isaacson’s (sp) book about Einstein.
Harry Truman …took me 3 months to read it was so rich
The Hiding Place – Corrie Ten Boom. Also John Adams- David McCullough
Hamilton. I read it after seeing the musical. I wanted to see what had initially inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda.
I think some are confusing biography, autobiography, and historical fiction. I love all three categories, but they are different.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess). Actually, either of her books. She’s laugh out loud funny at times but also very real about depression/mental illness.
My favorite biographies are those I read when I was young. Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale, Theodore Roosevelt. They were inspirational and helped shape me.
I read a biography of Clara Barton when I was a child too.
John Adams. Loved the history and reading how difficult life was during this time,
That was one of my favorites, too, as I hardly ever read about that era and learning a lot.
Boone by Robert Morgan. Love American history, especially about Kentucky.
Lindberg by Scott Berg
Anne Frank – Diary of a Young Girl
Anne Frank Remembered – Miep Gies
My initial reading was when I was about 12, (late 60’s) it deeply affected me as a teenager, that a girl my age was going through the troubles she faced, yet was going through all the normal teenage angst that all girls face even if it was only 25 years earlier. Boys, sisters, privacy, love, dating, parents.
A.F. Remembered I read in the 90’s when it first came out.
I love history, and Miep who hid the Franks, and by the way, was running her family’s business, told the story from her side on the outside of the secret annex. The things she did & suffering endured during those years & even after the war was a real eye opener. I never truly understood the how the lives of those was so devastated. She writes so descriptively & with such heart you feel your with her.
She & her husband were also part of the Dutch Underground Resistance.
Truly a magnificent book!!
Quite a few. John Adams and Mornings on Horseback by McCullough, Personal History by Katharine Graham, Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng, Eleni by Nicholas Gage, Zelda by Nancy Milford, Having Our Say by the Delaney sisters, and more recent memoirs Born a Crime bt Trevor Noah, Educated by Tara Westover, and The Tender Bar by Moehringer. Also The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
Loved the Delaney sisters’ book❤️
John Adams. Rich writing, remarkable man.
Personal History by Katherine Graham. Fascinating recollections of Graham as owner of the Washington Post during Pentagon Papers and Watergate, as well as her interesting and sometimes sad life. A real role model for women. (And THE POST was a fantastic movie as well).
Forgot to see that film. And to read the book. On the list.
Kathy Yes, both are very good. She was a real witness to political history.
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Michelangelo-because…
What’s it Like Out There….Mario Andretti, my favorite sports hero! And mine is signed by the author himself! Read it 20+ times between 10-13 yrs old. It is a great book about a neat man, an amazing driver and loyal friend/ brother!
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