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. 551
    teresa says:

    I am currently reading Bonhoeffer. It is amazing to see America in the 1930’s through his eyes. A favorite, Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place.

    Love this post about favorite reads! Thanks, Melissa!

  2. 552
    Colleen says:

    Good Morning
    This is my first time writing in. I have loved this blog for about a year.
    I also love Bio reading. My favs are Rees Howell,John Adams,Let’s Roll,Barbara Bush,Christy,In th presence of My Enemies(Gracia Bunham),A Charge to Keep(George Bush),Hand of Providence(Ronald Reagan),and more!!:)
    Thanks for the opportunity to win another!!
    Blessings to all of you.

  3. 553
    Jen Dale says:

    I don’t have as much time to read as I would like with homeschooling little ones but just recently I was discussing Bonhoeffer with a friend who told me about Metaxas’ biography and I’ve been curious ever since. I have read Elisabeth Elliot’s biography on Amy Carmichael and it is inspiring. Also read a biography recently on Newton (Amazing Grace – author) and another one on Hudson Taylor. Biographies inspire me to contentment. I get so easily trapped in my “wannas” and need to be reminded that this earth is not my final home and not what it’s all ultimately about. Biographies show me the lives of people who chose to follow God over the life of ease. They knew their final resting place was with Jesus and worth any amount of suffering or self-denial as long as God got the glory. I need to be reminded of that truth over and over again. And I hope that one day my children will be able to say the same about their Mamma.

  4. 554
    Betsy Crawford says:

    “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali is without a doubt the BEST book and bio I’ve read in the past few years. I knew nothing about Islam or the typical upbringing until reading her biography. Since telling her personal story, the cost has been extraordinary! This forty-something Somalian now resides in the USA, due largely because of safety issues.

  5. 555
    Tanya says:

    It is actually an autobiography but I loved Laura Bush’s book.

  6. 556
    Beth Tipps says:

    I love biographies too — they are so insightful… I’ve enjoyed most every one I’ve read, but a recent winner was the autobiography of Billy Graham: Just As I Am. In EVERYTHING, he turned to the Lord in prayer. And time, and time again, God provided in incredible ways. What an encouragement and testament of His faithfulness.

    Thanks for your suggestions — added them to my list!

  7. 557
    Sandy Corbin says:

    I’ve not read a biography in several years. Thank you all for your input. I’ve written down several of your choices because they’ve inspired me to read biographies. There are some fascinating people who’ve lived in this world. Everyone has a story.
    The Diary of Anne Frank was one that I read in high school. That was an eye opener and opened my world outside of my comfort zone.
    Melissa, thank you so much for being you. A lady who thinks and delves into, and ponders many subjects that I find fascinating. It makes me think too. And what did God give us brains for if not to use them?

  8. 558
    Chelsea says:

    I have two fav’s….#1 Jim Elliot-Shadow of the Almighty/The Journals of JNim Elliot(currently reading-4th time over) #2. A Severe Mercy-Sheldon Vanauken (3x’s Read) Both are extroadinary books about vessels used by the Lord. I pray that the Lord will open my heart to be used as he did to these gentlemen. Chels

  9. 559
    Julie dk says:

    Growing up in Nebraska around the “Husker Nation” one of my all time favorite biographies is “On Solid Ground” by Tom Osborne. Also a good read with some great inspiration is “Standing Tall” by C. Vivian Stringer.

  10. 560
    Nancy says:

    Without a doubt, Heavenly Man – Brother Yun
    What an amazing testimony of humility and sacrifice for the sake of Christ. AND a story of miracle after miracle! That’s a repeat reader for me.

  11. 561
    Jill says:

    The most recent Biography I read was ” LOok me in the eyes” by John Robison. About his experience growing up with Aspergers syndrom. I loved it.

  12. 562
    Lynsie Armstrong says:

    CHRISTIAN HEROES: THEN & NOW Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime

    LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Lynsie Armstrong
    Jackson, MS

  13. 563
    Becca says:

    Eric Liddell, Something Greater Than Gold, is a family favorite. My two boys and I love stories about simple people doing extraordinary things by following God.

  14. 564
    Bobbi says:

    It’s an autobiography – sort of. Winston Churchill’s history of WWII. It is chilling/heartbreaking to read how wretched war really is, from the perspective of the ultimate insider.

  15. 565
    Barbara says:

    I love reading a good biography such as “As Chance to Die,” or a good historical fiction such as “Christy” by Catherine Marshall (my all time favorite book) or anything by Brock and Bodie Thoene. I also love a solid non-fiction book to help me in my Christian walk.

    A great fiction series I just read for any who love all things French pastry-wise is by Sandra Byrd. The great thing is any public library can get these for you from any other library if they don’t have it.

  16. 566
    Kim Garrett says:

    Unfortunately, I do not have a favorite as I tend to not read biographies, but the titles mentioned in your blog post have me intrigued to start.

  17. 567
    Lisa says:

    Melissa — What a small world! Eric Metaxas is coming to our school in Boerne, Texas in January to discuss his book on William Wilberforce (Amazing Grace) and Bonhoeffer! I am reading Wilberforce right now and it is an amazing book . . . Wilberforce is definitely one of my heroes and to see how the Lord surrounded him with people that knew Jesus Christ, one of which led him to his Savior, is just beautiful! I will be reading Bonhoeffer next! One of my other favorite biographies is “The Hiding Place.” Corrie Ten Boom is another hero! If you have never read William Wilberforce’s Real Christianity, put it on your reading list . . . I have given that book to everyone I know. It gives a much deeper insight into Wilberforce’s faith. Enjoy!

  18. 568
    Judy Rowland says:

    This was also one that changed my life forever…

  19. 569
    Robin says:

    I was just talking about wanting to read Metaxas’ book the other day! But so far, my absolute favorite biography has got to be “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It helps that I’m a Political Scientist, but it is an amazing account of how intelligent and deliberate President Lincoln truly was. I think we have this particular notion that Lincoln was this melancholy backwoods boy who stumbled his way into the presidency. So not true! He was a master at understanding human behavior and an expert “people person”. The book also delves into the lives of some of the key political figures of that time and displays how Lincoln used his skills of diplomacy to turns enemies into allies, and sometimes even friends. I just can’t say enough good things about it! Can you tell I liked the book??? Don’t let the volume of the pages scare you, though. You will not be able to put it down!

    Robin =)

  20. 570
    Aunt Rhody says:

    Corrie ten Boom’s Hiding Place.

  21. 571
    Gloria Hurst says:

    I like Nora Lam’s book ‘For those tears”

  22. 572
    Julie says:

    The Diary of Anne Frank and from my grade school days…Terry Bradshaw. Sad isn’t it??!!

  23. 573
    Jen Potter says:

    I forgot to include my last name. Its jen Potter. I said Peices of Glass and Hiding place.

  24. 574
    Joybreaks says:

    No contest – Tramp for the Lord. Corrie ten Boom.

  25. 575
    Gloria Hurst says:

    I don’t have a web site. sorry

  26. 576
    Gloria Hurst says:

    i like Nora Lam’s book “For Those Tears”.

  27. 577
    Anna McCullough says:

    Metaxas’ bio of William Wilberforce, Amazing Grace, is also excellent.

  28. 578
    Wylene Kelley says:

    My favorite probably is “Bonhoeffer Letters & Papers from prison. I have also read “Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship”, “Anxious Souls will ask”, “The Bonhoeffer: Portait of a family”, but I much confess that I did not make it through Bethge’s book. I would love to read Eric Metaxas’ book.

  29. 579
    susan klaus says:

    favorite bio: Boss Ket – A Life of Charles F. Kettering – by Rosamond McPherson Young

  30. 580
    Sharen says:

    Oh, am I a big lover of biographies! I have read so many that it is hard to choose my just one as a favorite. But, some of my favorites are: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (this is more an autobiography but it talks alot about Elizabeth, too.), The End of the Spear by Steve Saint, and John Adams by David McCullough.

  31. 581
    Stephanie Barnes says:

    “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom is WONDERFUL! Oh to have that kind of courage under those kind of circumstances! Proof positive that our God never leaves us nor forsakes us! Whew! I’m tearing up just recalling some of the words from the book.

  32. 582
    Kay Wammack says:

    Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham
    by Patricia Cornwell

  33. 583
    Wonder Woman says:

    I love to read a biography. They inspire me to be a good mom…you never know what they will write about you some day!

    I loved Corrie Ten Boom. We so admire her, but she admired her sister who hid Jews, but committed to never lie about it. Their were times her house was raided, but God always protected her family and her guests.

    Also loved the biography of Miss Johnson who founded BSF. Wonderful lesson on how God has a plan for you that you can’t see.

  34. 584
    Holly Sutton says:

    I love reading about Charles Spurgeon. There is a great biography about him called “Charles Haddon Spurgeon: A Biography” by W.Y. Fullerton.

  35. 585
    Kay Wammack says:

    Also, God’s Smuggler, Brother Andrew. Very good.

  36. 586
    Ann Ludeke says:

    One biography?!!!! Oh my, that’s all I read.

    All time favorite is Amazing Grace, William Wilberforce & the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas

    (skip the movie; it did not give the book justice)

    Also…We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese by Elizabeth M. Norman
    ANY of the Orphan Train books~ about the 200,000 abandoned children in New York City from 1854-1929 who were sent out on trains to be adopted by families out West. heartwrenching (I taught this when I taught 5th grade).
    I could go on & on…..
    Telling me to pick one biography is like telling sweet Beth to have one Starbuck’s. 🙂
    I’m just saying…
    love you Mooreses all!!

  37. 587
    whimzie says:

    I’ve always loved Tuesdays With Morrie by MItch Albom.

  38. 588
    Texas in the Mountains says:

    Rebel with a Cause: Finally Comfortable being a Graham.

    This is the early-to-mid life account of a man (Franklin Graham) growing up under the shadow of his world renown father; Billy Graham. Can you imagine?!? Although his story isn’t complete yet; it is such an inspiring journey of a young man finding his calling and purpose in life.

    Jillian Racchini

  39. 589
    Mishababy says:

    My favorite biography by far has been Child Star by Shirley Temple Black. I loved watching her movies when I was a young girl. It was very intriguing reading about the background of what went on in her life during her childhood years being in the movie industry.

  40. 590
    Diane Willson says:

    I love biographies and last read Amy Carmichael’s. As always, the most recently read book is my favorite. I would love to read a new one! Do women love biographies because we are being nosy and its OK? 🙂

  41. 591
    Nicole Hume says:

    My favorite Biography is Helen Keller’s! My daughter read it for a book report. I often read the same material that my children read so we can share in the experience. I highly recommend it!

    Thanks for asking :),
    Nicole Hume

  42. 592
    Jincy Gibson says:

    Name: Jincy Gibson

    Well, I am currently reading “So Long, Insecurity: You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us.” Beth DOES say in the intro that it is the closest thing we’ll ever read to her autobiography. 🙂

    But since that probably doesn’t count, I would have to nominate Dave Pelzer’s “A Child Called It.”

    This book did wonders to shed light on the raw reality of child abuse. It’s a fast read and there is an entire series that leaves you wishing there were more pages.

  43. 593
    Sandi says:

    Corrie Ten Boom’s “Tramp for the Lord” is my all time favorite , she’s may hero! I think I’ve read all her books. I’ve also loved The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun, truly modern day miracles there. George Mueller’s story of serving God and running his orphanage only by God’s provision through prayer, had me in tears. I started “A Chance to Die” years ago but never finished it. We’ve read a bunch of biographies from Youth With a Mission press to our kids, they’re written at the fifth grade level and amazing stories of fellow brother and sisters and their lives as they followed God. I just finished “Marriage-A Two Part Invention” by Madeleine L’Engle. It had me in tears and is an amazing story of her marriage to her husband Hugh.

    I love biographies, I think we have so much to learn from those who went before us!

  44. 594
    Margie Campbell says:

    Hudson Taylor’s life is the best bio I’ve read lately. Margie Campbell

  45. 595
    Heather says:

    My favorite biography is My Heart in His Hands by, Ann Junson. A must read! 🙂

  46. 596
    Sharon O says:

    Loved “John Adams” by David McCullough because it was so clear that the problems Adams tackled are the same we face today. They way he handled life wasn’t perfect but his character always shone through. Would LOVE to read Mataxas’ book!

  47. 597
    Suse says:

    “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken. I still can not make it through the book without bawling.
    Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place”.
    “Shadow of the Almighty” by Elisabeth Elliot

    I am currently reading Gayle Haggard’s “Why I stayed, The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour.” Has anybody read this book?!?! Good heavens, this book has dredged up every emotion in me: violence, judgement, compassion, and hope. It has really challenged and convicted me…

  48. 598
    Mindy says:

    My favorite thus far is Pure Gold by David McCasland, on Eric Liddell…so very good!

  49. 599
    Jan says:

    Sorry to say that I haven’t read any biographies in years unless you count FOXE’S “CHRISTIAN MARTYRS OF THE WORLD”.

    As a VERY YOUNG CHILD, my mother bought biographies of missionaries for me – Lottie Moon, David Livingstone, etc. My favorites were biographies of missionaries in Africa. *I told my family that I was going to be a school teacher and a missionary. (I taught school.)

    Africa still has a part of my heart, but “OPERATION WORLD” has helped me expand my love for the “peoples” of the world.

    I’ve not gone as a “missionary” to another country; GOD HAS BROUGHT THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD HERE. I am blessed to work with peoples from all over the world through the International Ministry of my church. I teach ESL – English as a Second Language.

    “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16b (NIV)

    P.S. My wonderful kindergarten TEACHER was a retired MISSIONARY. I had forgotten this until my sister recently told me.

    • 599.1
      Jan says:

      Looking over the replys, my mind was “updated”! I recently read “The Secret Holocaust Diaries” the untold story of Nonna Bannister.

  50. 600
    tngirl says:

    I love to read, but haven’t read a biography in several years.

    Among my favorites would be Joni by Joni Eareckson Tada and The Hiding Place – Cori Ten Boom

    Pam Callahan