Calling all Biography Lovers.


Happy Tuesday, friends!

We are going to do a fun little giveaway today!

For the last several evenings I’ve been reading Eric Metaxas’ biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer until the wee hours of the night. I was going back and forth between reading Metaxas’ biography (Thomas Nelson, 2010) and Eberhard Bethge’s (Revised Ed. Augsburg Fortress Press, 2000). Bethge’s book obviously has the advantage insofar as he was Bonhoeffer’s close friend and he also married Bonhoeffer’s niece, Renate. In the end, I decided to go with Metaxas’ biography because I heard great things about it from a good friend, and, well, it is 591 pages and not 1049. Seemed like reason enough to me.

For those of you who are not familiar, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Christian theologian who was executed for his involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Among his writings are well-known books such as The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together.  He was murdered on April 9, 1945, evidently under Hitler’s direct command. I thought that I knew quite a bit about Bonhoeffer since I have studied some of his theology in the past, but now I realize that I knew so very little about this extraordinary man. Did you know that his older brother worked on splitting the atom with Albert Einstein? At age 23? Crazy, huh? Metaxas, in my opinion, is a particularly meaningful person to have written this Bonhoeffer biography as he is half-German. His grandfather was one of many unwilling soldiers who nevertheless lost his life in the war. Metaxas’ own background plays a poignant role in the intimacy with which he tells his subject’s story.

I’m not typically a biography reader, but this one may convert me. Since I am a little over halfway through with this book, I’m already thinking about the next one I may want to read. I asked my Mom, the biography enthusiast, what her favorite one is and she said one of her “many favorites” is A Chance to Die, Elisabeth Elliot’s biography about the life and legacy of Amy Carmichael.

So, what about you?!

Are you a biography reader?

Tell us what your favorite biography is, along with your first and last name and you will have a chance to win your choice of either Eric Metaxas’ book, Bonhoeffer: Pastor Martyr, Prophet, Spy:

OR,  Elisabeth Elliot’s book, A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael:

We’ll do a random drawing and report *ten* winners on Thursday afternoon, along with further instructions.

Now, talk to me.

What is your favorite biography?


920 Responses to “Calling all Biography Lovers.”

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  1. 501
    Nancy Fraze says:

    My favorite bio is Terry Anderson’s In the Den of Lions. He was the journalist who was held captive for seven years by extremists. His girlfriend was pregnant with their daughter. Having nothing to do each day, he asked for a Bible and began to read it. His life was transformed and he became a Christian. After many years, he was released and re-entered normal society. It was a tough transition.

    this book shows the power of the Word to transform someone, and how in his “think tank” world he could mull over his entire life and all his regrets and missed expectations via the Word and come to a peaceful conclusion, even praying for his captors. Best of all, it’s a true, relevant story.

  2. 502
    deborahc says:

    I checked out the DVD “A Man Called Peter” from our local library. Now I’m going in search of the book. What a great story. I so enjoy your blog posts.

  3. 503
    Lynn Vaughn says:

    My favorite biography is that of George Muller. It is extremely convicting! His unwavering, childlike dependence upon God truly inspired me to trust God for every need I have. He never once asked anyone for anything and watched God respond to his prayer of faith to supply everything. How many things God must want for us, if only we ask and not try to take things into our own hands!

  4. 504
    Kim says:

    Evidence Not Seen, A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of WWII, Darlene Deibler Rose, She was the first American woman to enter Baliem Valley of New Guinea. A biography which will leave a mark on your life…

  5. 505
    Ada - Lovin Him says:

    I love glimpses I’ve seen from biographies of many people of faith – Mueller, Moody, Wesley and many others but I confess that I haven’t made the time to read them. A couple that I did read many years ago that had a lasting impact on me where Corrie Ten Boom’s biography “The Hiding Place” and Catherine Marshall’s, “Christy”.
    Thanks for the inspiring post!

  6. 506
    Yanna says:

    Oh for me, Corrie Ten Booms The Hiding Place. Then as I typed it I thought of Christy by Catherine Marshall. Corrie Ten Booms is without question a moment in time when all things worked for good for someone who loved the Lord. I pray that if ever faced with unspeakable human suffering I would be as strong and steadfast in my faith.
    I first read Christy when I was around 11 (I’m 52 now) and I had lived in Tennessee and could relate to the people Catherine Marshall taught, so as a young girl I dreamed of one day becoming a teacher and sharing God’s Word in the hills of Tennessee. It’s a very sweet story. Even if I don’t win the random drawing, I’m going to look into the books listed, thankyou Melissa for sharing. And, out comes the notebook (having to go to a notebook) to write down all of the Siesta’s favorite biographies in a new section right behind recommended Bible studies. Thank You Father for that. I just wonder Melissa, how do you have the time to read! Especially with your translation of James in the works…ha ha ha. Good luck to all my Siesta’s I hope you win. hee hee Isn’t it fun entering a contest when you are just as happy and pray the other person wins!

  7. 507
    Kendra says:

    My Life by Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson (I know, I need help…it’s the only one I’ve ever read and it was years ago).
    Kendra Thompson

    • 507.1
      Kendra says:

      Okay, ignore the above – I was thinking only in terms of autobiography – it’s the only autobiography I’ve read… doh!

  8. 508
    Kathy Land says:

    My favorite is A Foreign Devil in China by John C. Pollock. It is the story of Dr. L. Nelson Bell.

  9. 509
    Yanna says:

    oops…Yanna Westmoreland….not many Yanna’s out there. Siesta’s remember to add your first and last name to story. I want you to win, so follow the directions and not be disqualified. hee hee As if LPM could disqualify anyone.

  10. 510
    aussie monica says:

    Lots of my faves have already been mentioned. I’ll add, “Me myself and Bob” by Phil Vischer , creator of Veggie Tales. Very insightful.

    Monica Roche

  11. 511
    Yanna says:

    ha ha I just looked back and most of the Siesta’s have forgotten to include their last names! I would be okay with my name but there might be more than one Janice, Denise, Gretchen, Cristi, Tina….I’m laughing out loud not many times has my unusual name been an advantage in a contest. ha ha ha

  12. 512
    Susan Gray says:

    My favorite is The Hiding Place (Corrie Ten Boom)
    Susan Gray

  13. 513
    Janice Pitchford says:

    I think my favorite is “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom. Her faith and the power of God’s love to allow her to forgive her captors amazes me.
    Janice Pitchford

  14. 514
    ryan zwicky says:

    I really enjoyed reading Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Most people were required to read it in high school. When i read it I was touched by her bravery and her struggles. A few weekends ago we went the the Holocaust Museum in Houston. Have you been? Its mind blowing, humbling, horrific, but most of all it is important to remember what happened so that it does not happen again. After leaving, my husband and I both reflected on the horrible things that are going on in Darfur, and wondered, is this how the whole world felt? Like they couldn’t do anything from where they were? They knew horrible things were happening but felt helpless to make a change? When is it that one person makes a big difference?

  15. 515
    Brittany Kimlingen says:

    High Adventure in Tibet – the biography of missionary Victor Plymire.

  16. 516
    Becky Bell says:

    This is so neat because I just finished reading “Abandoned to God” by David McCasland about Oswald Chambers and it/he was incredible. Reading about one of these wonderful saints feels like reading a devotional book. The biography that has influenced my life the most prior to this was “Through Gates of Splendor” about Jim Elliott. It was neat because both of these giants of the faith also had a great sense of humor and were fun to be around – such a needed combination!

  17. 517
    Vanessa says:

    I am a biography lover as well. Like many of the other bloggers here, I am really encouraged in my faith when I read what trials were going on in great men/women of faith’s lives (and minds and hearts) during periods of time that would surprise people who are inspired by their writings, songs, and ministries.
    About 15 years ago, I read No Compromise by Keith Green. I think it’s still my favorite biography because of its authenticity. It taught me that my story would have value, too, in spite of my many trials, doubts, fears, and failures!

  18. 518
    Sharon Gowen says:

    I have not read many biographies either, but I did read Corrie ten Boom’s story, and, while I was horrified at the tragedies they endured, enjoyed reading about her life. I also read The Diary of Anne Frank. I think I would enjoy reading the book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It sounds fascinating. Thanks for the post.


  19. 519
    Jamie says:

    I love biographies and autobiographies! Don’t have a favorite but the most recent that I just finished was called “Amarcord~Marcella Remembers” by the godmother of Italian cooking, Marcella Hazan.

  20. 520
    Chris Floyd says:

    I think I usually like autobiographies better, but I do remember loving Anne Frank and Helen Keller when I was younger.

    My favorite autobiography is the massive three-volume story of author M M Kaye: The Sun in the Morning, Golden Afternoon, and Enchanted Evening.

    She had made me yearn for a more cultured society…and she taught me to love India.

  21. 521
    Katie says:

    “The Hiding Place”
    by Corrie Ten Boom

    A must read!

  22. 522
    Lindsay McFarland says:

    All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein

    “Gerda Weissmann Klein moves you, and not just because the story she can tell is so horrific. It is the passion with which she looked through the horror and found a heart-felt and basic goodness in humanity . . . All But My Life is filled with wonderful acts of decency and normalcy, even as she describes three years in labor camps and three months of a forced winter march from Germany to Czechoslovakia.”–Royal Ford, The Boston Globe
    — Review

  23. 523
    Amy says:

    I love Corrie Ten Boom’s story and I recently finished “Mozart’s Sister”. That was interesting.

  24. 524
    Connie Tritle says:

    I enjoyed “An Arrow Pointing To Heaven” about Rich Mullins.

  25. 525
    Sarah says:

    I love the Diary of Anne Frank too! But is that technically in the autobiography category?
    My favorite biography is by Elisabeth Elliot about her husband, Jim: “In the Shadow of the Almighty.” I would love to read another biography that she has written!

  26. 526
    Nicole McCallister says:

    I really like Paula Deen’s biography. The poor woman was abandoned by her husband with two small boys. She raised them by making lunches for the corporate building down the road. The boys and herself prepared them and delivered them everyday. What work ethic to pass on to her boys, and what strength to pick yourself up and dust off while supporting them alone! Now look at her! Great story. Not up there with some of the others, but a good one. 🙂

  27. 527

    I do like a good life story! I am continually awed by George Washington Carver. He was an inventor, biologist, scientist and wonderful Christian black man. You would be so amazed to know how many products we use that this man had a hand in. And all because he believed that since God made everything, He would show us the best way to use it.
    Makes perfect sense to me. (i’m a science buff, btw)

    I have read “A chance to die” – good reading but not the other one. I would love to own either one.

  28. 528
    Heather says:

    I love biographies and auto biographies!! The only movies I care about are the “based on a true story” ones! I love knowing “this” happened and how the people went through it!!

    My 2 favorites are “Joni” by Joni Eareckson Tada- to see her accept the plan God had for her life and all it involved is a testament to my favorite saying ” God promises to get you THROUGH the storm, not deliver you FROM the storm”. The other is “My Sergei” by Ekaterina Gordeeva. I really don’t care for romantic type books because I think romance is a imaginative thiing, but listening to her describe her “hero” and the love she had for him and how thankful she was to have him for that short time speaks to my personal life motto – “find the joy…laugh ore than I cry”.

    I admit I had to google both the people you mentioned but seeing what I did about Amy Carmichael sounds so amazing. A life of service and love!

  29. 529
    Vallee Hicks says:

    When I was in college and freshly called of God into His service, “Evidence Not Seen” by Darlene Deibler Rose was a book that changed the way I saw Christian service. It opened my eyes to the wonderous works of God during the horrible days of World War II prison camps, but also served as a roadmap of how to handle extreme adversity, relying on a faithful God who always remembers His people.

  30. 530
    Jen says:

    No sure either of these count as official “biographys” maybe “autobiographys” but I loved both. They have both inspired me and drawn me closer to God. There is so much to learn from others lives. I LOVE reading biographys. Problem is though that they are hard to find at libraries especially the older ones but I keep telling the library to buy them 🙂

    Pieces of Glass: A Moment of Tragedy, a Lifetime of Faith
    by Sarah Kay

    Hiding Place
    Corrie Ten Boom

  31. 531
    Bethany says:

    So funny, because I am not a biography reader typically, but I just finished Mary Beth Chapman’s Choosing to SEE. Powerful. Amazing. Sad. and so much more.

  32. 532
    Tammy Wascomb says:

    I Dared To Call Him Father – Bilquis Sheikh
    Darlene Deibler Rose: “Evidence Not Seen”

    Two books I could not put down!

  33. 533
    Terri Pilson says:

    Anything about the Wadoni tribe in Ecuador. Elisabeth Elliot’s “Through Gates of Splendor”, “Dayuma’s Story”, Steve Saint’s “The End of the Spear” Jim Elliot’s “The Shadow of the Almighty” which is a collection of journal entries and letters between Elisabeth and Jim. A suggestion I would have is to get the biography on audio. Sometimes it is so nice to be able to listen to someone tell you the story while you are driving or doing housework.

  34. 534
    Sue in Grapevine says:

    While not strictly a biography, “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life” by Amy Kraus Rosenthal is a favorite. She tells her story in little vignettes, indexed & cross-indexed in alphabetical order – like an encyclopedia. Some of her entries are a bit risque, but her concept & format is helping me to tell MY story.

  35. 535
    Karen Stark says:

    I have read Madeleine L’Engle’s Circle of Quiet and Summer of the Great-Grandmother many, many times. I’m currently reading A Severe Mercy. However, one of the most moving biographies that I’ve read is Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. My father was a prison of war during WWII. He was captured in the Philippines and survived the Bataan death march. I often avoid biographies directly related to my father’s experience. Darlene Deibler Rose’s story is a glimpse into my father’s experience and a tremendous demonstration of faith.

  36. 536
    Kristi says:

    Dolly Parton’s autobiography. It’s surprisingly un-cheesy, hilarious and gives insight into the real person behind this famous persona. She really is more than just a figure, a face and some rhinestones!

  37. 537

    My favorite is “A Walk with Jane Austen” by Lori Smith. I also love biographies on C.S. Lewis – several good authors there.

  38. 538
    Sherrie Watson says:

    I’m afraid I’m not as deep as you are Melissa but my favorite biography would have to be Beyond Belief about Josh Hamilton the baseball player for the Texas Rangers. I think I loved that book so much because I saw what God did for him when it seemed his life was over and because I feel it is something that my children can relate to because my son plays baseball and we enjoy that sport. I’m in the mom mode of trying to relate as much as I can to my children’s life to direct them on the right paths with gentle nudges.

    Sherrie Watson
    Oak Ridge NC

  39. 539
    Kristi Walker says:

    I’m interested in science (primarily physics) and politics, so all my bios start there. Right now I’m reading “Von Braun: Dreamer of Space/Engineer of War”. It’s a biography about Wernher Von Braun. He is, essentially, the father of the modern space program, as well as, somewhat reluctantly, the father of modern jets/tanks. He was a physicist in Hitler’s employ, who hated him and the war he brought to them. He eventually came to the US and NASA, for the most part, became what it was because of him. He was brilliant.

    I also enjoyed “A New Deal or A Raw Deal”, about FDR. It’s not really a biography in the strictest sense, but more a rundown of the New Deal and exactly where each of those political programs are today. There is quite a bit of info from his college years, though.

    I know…I’m a total nerd. LOL 🙂


  40. 540
    Amy Hammons says:

    Helen’s Eyes: A Photobiography of Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller’s Teacher, by Marfe Ferguson Delano

  41. 541
    Crystie Rhyner says:

    The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom…love, love, love it!!!

  42. 542
    Peggy Smith says:

    I love biographies! Oswald Chambers “Abandoned to God” was wonderful, but one that really changed me was “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret”. Love to see real life people give their lives to follow Jesus, so makes me want to fully give mine!

  43. 543
    Virginia says:

    Oh boy! To pick just one???

    I love Mimosa, written by Amy Carmichael. Mimosa’s story is just amazing. I come away from that book with a wonderment. I am amazed by the God I serve.

    (there is another one I really like, but I can’t remember the name. It’s about Amy Carmichael…but the title and author escapes me. It’s not easy to get old. 🙂 )

  44. 544
    Judy Cook says:

    I love anything about early President’s or their wife’s. George Washington is my favorite. I would love to read Bonhoeffer’s bio. I hope I not to late to get in the drawing.

  45. 545
    Jean says:

    I have to admit that since I’ve become a Christian, I have not read any autobiographies or biographies. But before I read the autobio of Lana Turner. My mother loved old black and white movies so I had seen a few of her movies. This was back when there were four TV stations to choose. No I’m not that old, just 43…which means I’m blessed to know old school and new school. I am writing on this blog am I not.

  46. 546
    Jen Niemann says:

    How fun! Does Jesus’ story in the Bible count?? Haha! How about Billy Graham’s story, I’ve read a couple about his life (e.g., “Billy Graham, God’s Ambassador”), and how he came into ministry, and have always loved and respected his work and Christian walk. Even got to see him once as a teenager up here in Cleveland. 🙂

  47. 547
    Kim says:

    I don’t know if autobiographies count, but I loved reading Walking from East to West by Ravi Zacharias about his life.

    Kim Feighner

  48. 548
    KaraLinaFan says:

    I would say this is an easy answer for me…there are 2, and just to be technical, one is an autobiography and one is a biography.

    For the autobiography, it would be Sandi Patty’s “Broken on the Back Row”. I was reading her story of her sexual abuse at the hands of a babysitter and was crying @ the end of the chapter, but didn’t know why. Shortly after, God began the process of nudging me to lovingly deal with the abuse in my background. It has been a heart-churning several years, but I was honored to be able to share my story with Sandi and thank her for her honesty; for making her test her testimony.

    For the biography, it was the book “A Arrow Pointing to Heaven”, by James Bryan Smith, about the late Rich Mullins. If anyone has yet to read this book, I would HIGHLY recommend it. It’s on my Top Ten List of all-time favorites, and I’m a voracious reader! It combines stories of Rich’s life, his own words, his lyrics, stories behind his most famous songs, and his thoughts on life. He shares his struggles in his faith, the trials and temptations in life Rich faced….it’s just an amazingly real look at the life of a modern-day poet who left us far to soon.

    So those are my votes!! Thanks for the opportunity to share my favorites!!

  49. 549
    Suzy says:

    Severallllll – Life & Diary of David Brainerd; Hudson Taylor; C.S. Lewis; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Mary Todd Lincoln, etc. etc.

    But I have to say my fave was John Adams by David McCullough. I love early American history, especially when, as here, the man was highly-principled and loved God – and he knew his times and affected his world for good. (Also enjoyed a very old biography of his wife, Abigail Adams, who was equally fervant in devotion.)

  50. 550
    Judy Rowland says:

    My favorite Biography is called “Totally Surrounded” by Christina Di Stefano Davis
    It is the story of what God can do with one person who is obediently in tune with His Spirit. She was only nineteen years old and on her own in the dangerous jungles of the Philippines. Her three month mission trip grew into a six-year labor of love. I could not put this book down not only because it was a page turner, but because this was someone whom I thought was just an ordinary young mother from my church!