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. 601

    I love “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon VanAuken.

  2. 602
    Ann Flores says:

    I love biographies! One of my favorites was “The Shorter Life of D.L. Moody” by A. P. Fitt. The Bonhoeffer biography sounds fascinating!

  3. 603
    Barbara says:

    Helen Keller

  4. 604
    Linda Dill says:

    My favorites are “A Chance to Die” and “Through Gates of Splendor” – both written by Elisabeth Elliot. I LOVE reading missionary biographies!!

  5. 605
    Mary H. says:

    I read the book Let’s Roll!: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage by Lisa Beamer about her late husband…Todd who was on the Flight 93. Most amazing book ever…Life changing.

  6. 606
    Marcella says:

    Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place”!!!!

  7. 607
  8. 608
    Marcella says:

    Oops I forgot to include my last name!

    Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place”!!!

    Marcella Alldredge

  9. 609
    Michele says:

    My favorite biography is “A Man Called Peter”, written by Peter Marshall’s wife, Catherine. Peter was a Scottish immigrant who became the Chaplain for the U.S. Senate before dying fairly young.

    This book led me to Catherine’s other inspirational writings and the realization that she was the author of the novel “Christy”, which I adore.

  10. 610
    Toni says:

    Trailblazer – Breaking Through in Kenya

    It’s my favorite because it was written by my father-in-law, and there are so many things I learned about him and my family through the book. It’s also fascinating to see “shared” history through another person’s eyes.

  11. 611
    Sara McNutt says:

    Wow, this couldn’t be a better post for comments, I’m always looking for new recommendations for good biographies/autobiographies!
    With that said, I have to cheat because one of my favorite books is actually an autobiography: Heavenly Man by Brother Yun. I don’t know if that counts but it’s a must read.
    I can’t wait to go through these comments with pen and paper and then head to the bookstore!

  12. 612
    Kim says:

    I don’t know if it qualifies as a biography but “Into the Deep” by Robert Rogers is amazing. It is the heartwrenching story of when he lost his entire family in a flood in Kansas and how God brought him through his grief to joy. Through the entire book he praises God. As a sidenote, he is married again with two children!

  13. 613
    Hannah says:

    I love political biographies/autobiographies, and the new one by Laura Bush “Spoken From the Heart” is great. A lot of history (which I love)and a great deal of behind the scenes conversations. I think it really shows a bit more of her personality than we ever saw while she was in the White House.

    • 613.1
      Juanita Pryor says:

      Sarah Palin’s biography was really good too! Very well written and gave me such a respect for our public servants!

  14. 614
    Rachel in Arizona says:

    I’m not a big reader, but I guess my favorite is The Hiding Place. I made my husband, who reads more than me, read it too. He started out grudgingly, but ended up loving it too.

  15. 615
    Nancy Dempsey says:

    Corrie Ten Boom – A Tramp for the Lord.

  16. 616
    Sharon in Frederick says:

    I have ead a few biographies but one I remember clearly was George Washington Carver, I did a book report on him in 7th grade, I am 58 yrs old, it was impactful enough for me to remember. Blessings,
    Sharon Weldon

    • 616.1

      Sharon – I recognize you – you go to MVC, right? Or you used to? My husband and I used to go there until we moved up to Hagerstown a few years ago. We still come down and visit occasionally 🙂

      • Sharon in Frederick says:

        Yes, it is me. We are still at MVC. Imagine that you would find me via this blog! Frederick Christian Fellowship is hosting Beths simulcast on 9/18 if you are interested.

  17. 617
    jenny says:

    The Hiding Place…Corrie Ten Boom

  18. 618
    Razmataz says:

    Wow, I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I don’t remember having read many biographies. One that comes to mind is, Girl Singer: An Autobiography by Rosemary Clooney and Joan Barthel. The one on Bonhoeffer sounds amazing!

    Rachel Sharpe

  19. 619
    Linda Eggert says:

    Linda Eggert

    Billy Graham’s “Just As I Am” bio.

    I was saved at one of his crusades, so his story was very interesting to me.

  20. 620

    The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot

  21. 621
    Mandy Harber says:

    Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back by Josh Hamilton, Tim Keown

  22. 622
    Denise says:

    I love biographies. My favorite is The Diary of Anne Frank. I read that when I was starting my teenage years and it really impacted me. I also like Foxes Book of Martyrs. What some of those people suffered for loving our God.

  23. 623
    Kirsten says:

    Biographies are incredibly interesting! My favorite is called “A Piece of Cake” by Cupcake Brown. It’s an incredible storry of a young woman who battles trial after trial after trial, makes deals with God and by GRACE alone survives and attends a rehab facility where she accepts Jesus Christ.
    It’s one of those stories that if it were fiction I would have dismissed it after the second chapter because so much stuff cannot happen to one character. However this is all very true, raw, heartbrekaing and amazing!

  24. 624
    Tiina Mitchell says:

    I read Amy Carmichael’s biography when I first became a believer and it changed my life! I have read a few since then, but that one still resonates with me 10 years later. Definately worth reading!

  25. 625
    Mary Watkins says:

    The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

  26. 626
    Denna Gordon says:

    One of favorite is Corrie ten Boom.

  27. 627
    Anne says:

    One of my favorite biographies is Corrie Ten Boom’s, The Hiding Place. She is faithful to God despite her life as she knew it shattering and being placed in horrendous and frightening captivity. Yet, she praises God for where she sees Him working.

  28. 628
    Sue Schwendemann says:

    Okay Ms. Beth are you ready for this one/maybe two.
    The first one was Hemingway The Final Years by Michael Reynolds, and the second one was Me: Stories of my Life by
    Katherine Hepburn ( which I read out loud to a patient who was dying), we finished it also. Thanks for the memories, and
    good reading. Have a wonderful day. Blessing to all of you.

  29. 629
    Deana Dupler says:

    I LOVE biographies! My son had to read God’s Smuggler for school. He kept telling me “You have to read it, Mom!”
    It is the wonderful story about Brother Andrew. I got so much out of Scott Hamilton’s (the figure skater) autobigoraphy. I can not wait to read the other posts to get some ideas for good biographies to read.

  30. 630
    Sandi Hester says:

    That’s a hard one because I LOVE biographies. I have to list 3 because I just can’t decide between them:
    1. The Hiding Place
    2. And The Word Came With Power by Joanne Shetler
    3. Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper (this one is great because it covers 5 amazing women).
    Sandi Hester <

  31. 631
    Becca says:

    “God’s Smuggler” the story of Brother Andrew. It will impress upon you to dig a little deeper, if not to borrow a back-hoe, and re-up your faith’s stamina.

  32. 632
    Andrea says:

    I love to read biographies and have read many! I would have to say my most favorite would be: The Warburgs by Ron Chernow. It is about one of the most powerful Jewish families from Germany, their rise and what they did during the wwII. The other one I love is Nicolas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie. It is about the last royal family of Russia and why they ‘failed’ and what happened to their lives. I go nuts over historical bio’s and just soak them up!!

  33. 633
    Kari says:

    Can’t remember if it was a bio or autobio, but loved reading a book about the life of Minnie Pearl.

  34. 634
    TraciG says:

    One of the best of all time has to be Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. I also recently read one about Harper Lee called Mockingbird by Charles Shields which was interesting. Did you know she was a research assistant on Capote’s In Cold Blood? A current one I enjoyed was Laura Bush’s. She is such a gracious woman!

    I’m not a huge biography fan usually, but for our bookclub this year, we are to pick biographies or autobiographies. Should be interesting!

    (P.S. How in the world does one italicize or underline in a comment? Being unable to do so is killing the former English teacher in me!)

  35. 635
    Dawn Corrie says:

    Cannot believe this!! Just arrived via Amazon as I heard Metaxas interviewed Sunday morning on my way worship on Ravi’s show “Let My People Think”!! I don’t have a favorite bio —I have read a bunch and right now cannot think of one that was better than the rest….years ago I read on bio on Wilma Rudolph — I can’t even remember the name…and it was GREAT!! Good luck to the winners and on to the Amy Carmichael next! Thank you Melissa….isn’t God too cool — his timing is incredible!

  36. 636
    Linda says:

    The Hiding Place and Tramp for the Lord by Corrie ten Boom. What an amazing woman …

  37. 637
    Amanda says:

    The Hiding Place
    In My Father’s House
    Tramp for the Lord
    all by Corrie ten Boom

    Each time I re-read these,it is like it is the first time, I cry, I get goose-bumps and always leave with my faith strengthened by this amazing woman and her love of the Master.

  38. 638
    jodi clair says:

    A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken

  39. 639
    NancyS says:

    It’s hard to choose a favorite. I love “A Man Called Peter.” by Catherine Marshall as well as “To Live Again” which I devoured after my husband died. I also loved “the Hiding Place” and “Through Gates of Splendor.”
    Nancy Stewart

  40. 640
    Charlie says:

    I don’t read many biographies, but I did really enjoy reading “Jungle Pilot” by Stephen Saint, which is about his dad Nate Saint, the MAF pilot who died with other missionaries (including Jim Elliot) in Ecuador.

  41. 641
    Yanna says:

    Wow over 700 comments! I’m trying to write all of the great suggestions down, it’s going to take awhile. I thought of another The End of the Spear (I think it’s called) I can’t recall the author but it’s about the missionary men who went into the jungle and lost their lives. Wonderful story. I have to say I really like Beth’s Voices of the Faithful as well. So many biographies of those serving the Lord to encourage me. I’ve already commented more than one time, so no last name on this one. Good luck Siesta’s and prayers for Melissa if she is trying to copy and paste our names for the drawing…maybe whoever is drawing out of the hat….just close your eyes use the cursor to scroll down comments, stop scrolling and that’s the winner. ha ha ha

  42. 642
    Debbie says:

    I am also reading Metaxas’s book on Bonhoeffer!! Just put it down…
    My favorite biography is Elizabeth Elliot’s “Through Gates of Splendor.” It is a regular re-read every few years. But also am taking note of Noel Piper’s book that so many have mentioned, and would love to read about Amy Carmichael. Biographies are a favorite of mine….

  43. 643
    Allyaggie says:

    I love biographies too!
    I’m currently re-reading A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. It is SO good! Also The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom is an all-time favorite. Melissa, you would appreciate Malcom Muggeridge A Life by Ian Hunter.


  44. 644
    Katie Pro says:

    Well, I guess I can only have one favorite biography because I’ve only read one! I’m addicted to fiction and really need to broaden my horizons. I was actually about to move on to the exact same Bonhoeffer biography because my husband has been reading it. It is really uncanny that you brought that up in this post because he just finished it and loved it. He could barely talk yesterday at lunch because the night before, in his reading, Bonhoeffer died. He cried. Very amazing how these lives affect us decades later. Anyway, I read “Through the Gates of Splendor” By Elisabeth Elliot. Is that even a biography? I guess it’s more like a true story. Maybe that doesn’t count, but it is a must read for every Christian.

  45. 645

    No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green

    A truly inspirational man who sadly died so young. But God had a purpose for his life, and it is amazing to see how influential Keith still is today thru his music, journals, etc.!

  46. 646
    Juanita Pryor says:

    My favorite biography is John Adams by David McCullough! I read it years ago and it turned me into a Revolution lover!

  47. 647
    Beth Stembridge says:

    I love biographies. I love to learn more about people and see what makes them tick. I am in the process of reading the Metaxas’biography on Bonhoeffer too & it is really good!! I am facinated by Bonhoeffer. I am a History buff, particularly about WWII (Europe side)so I am always reading biographies and other books on this topic. I belive Histroy is really God’s (His) story. So when we read biographies and books aobut other times in History, even when about non-Christians, we are really reading about how God is working out things in His Story. Would recommend: The Hiding Place & Born Again (Chuck Colson)

  48. 648
    Pamela sheldon says:

    Without a doubt “God’s Smuggler” by John sherrill on the life of Brother Andrew.

  49. 649
    Bee Happy says:

    Florence Nightengale. she knew the call of God on her life and lived out the LOVE and MERCY of Jesus!

  50. 650
    Shirley says:

    SPURGEON by Arnold Dallimore
    I just finished reading this one and couldn’t
    put it down. What a mighty man of God and one
    of the greatest preachers ever known!