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. 701
    denise toy says:

    Elizbeth Elliott by far!

  2. 702

    I just finished reading Gracia Burnham’s biography about her and her husband’s hostage situation in the Philippines. It was an incredible reminder of God’s provision and protection of them throughout their ordeal.

  3. 703

    Favorite Biography:
    “Ruth, A Portrait, the story of Ruth Bell Graham by Patricia Cornwell.

    I read this book outloud to my husband as we made the long journey by u-haul from Alaska to Oregon!!!! It humbles you to see her faith in action!

  4. 704
    Lana says:

    I, Rigoberta Menchu
    This book really helped me understand some of the cultural history of Guatemala

  5. 705
    Carri Wilkins says:

    Carri Wilkins
    If a memoir counts. My favorite is Turning Stones: My Days and Nights with Children at Risk: A Caseworker’s Story.

    Read it in college and had the honor of hearing the author Marc Parent speak on his time and sign my copy. It is a very moving story.

  6. 706
    Angela H says:

    I just ordered the Focus on the Family Radio theater version of Boenhoeffer(sp) for his B-day! A WWII enthusiast. Now I want to know more!

    My favorite right now- John Newton by AnneSandburg. Easy reading, but so inspiring. Talk about reversal of destinies!

  7. 707
    Susan S says:

    Amazing Grace by none other than Eric Metaxas!

  8. 708
    Danielle says:

    How ironic is it that you posted Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s biography?! My husband and I just named our baby boy Dietrich. We heard from a ton of people about the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and now I so want his book Discipleship! Wow!

  9. 709
    Shirley says:

    John Adams by David McCullough

  10. 710

    Ok….WELL… One of my recent favorites is, “Rees Howells: Intercessor” by Norman Percy Grubb. Also “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom (although I know that is technically a auto-bio) Also I love this bio called “Brando” about Marlon Brando…but I forget who wrote it. Very well written.

  11. 711
    Adele says:

    Girl Mwwts God by Lauren Winner or Ruth: A portrait of Ruth Bell Graham by Patrcia Cornwell

  12. 712
    Hulaheart says:

    Thanks for the suggestions!
    I tend to lean more toward autobiographies, so I may be disqualified. That’s okay if I am. I still like to share good books. 🙂

    My very favorite is Out of Africa by Karen Blixen (Isaac Dinesen).

    I have noticed a tendency lately to be drawn to autobiographies, but you got me to thinking, and I’ve read a fairly long list. And I’ve enjoyed them all, so here are some ideas. 🙂

    The Freedom Writers Diary (various)
    Zlata’s Diary (Zlata Filipovic)
    Three Cups of Tea (Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin)
    My Live with Martin Luther King, Jr. (Coretta Scott King)
    West with the Night (Beryl Markham)
    Cheaper by the Dozen (Frank Gilbreth, Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey) and others about the Gilbreth family
    Van Trapp Family Singers, More Adventures, and Maria (Maria Augusta Trapp)
    Papa’s Wife, Papa’s Daugher, Mama’s Way (T.F. Bjorn)
    Eleanor Roosevelt
    Barbara Bush
    Rosemary Kennedy
    Anne Morrow Lindbergh (all including meeting and marrying Charles and the tragic loss of their son, Gift from the Sea is an annual read for me)
    Helen Keller
    Anne Sullivan

  13. 713
    Tara says:

    My most recent favorite is Dixie Carter’s. She was a true Southern lady and shares so much of her upbringing that you feel like you know her. She also gives her opinion and advice about lots of things. It is rich and inspiring.

  14. 714
    Tara says:

    I have to add Corrie ten Boom’s also. Couldn’t put it down.

  15. 715
    Krista Pedersen says:

    I love Joni Erickson Tada’s book “The God I Love” it’s technically her autobiography I guess but it’s so good.

  16. 716
    Adele says:

    Here are three of mine;

    Ruth: A Portrait of Ruth Bell Graham by Patricia Cornwell

    Telling Secrets by Frederick Buechner

    Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner

  17. 717
    Shalom says:

    You should not talk about how many pages are in the book you read, it is like talking about how much money you make, pretentious.

  18. 718
    Rachel Boyer says:

    Well, since Bethge’s Bonhoeffer biography is the most recent one I’ve read, I’ll go with that as my favorite. It is dense and often requires a level of understanding of the times which I don’t possess, but still I enjoyed it immensely.

  19. 719
    Ann Cates says:

    Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger is amazing! Thanks for all the great ideas for reading. I have a list after this blog!

  20. 720
    Diana says:

    This is such a blast Melissa! I have an entire list of biographies I want to read now….
    I don’t read too many but Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place was certainly excellent!
    Also love The Greatest Generation

  21. 721
    Jean says:

    I really liked “A Chance to Die” too. The Winston Churchill Vols I and II by Manchester changed my (reading) life. Will definitely take your recommendation on Bonhoffer. Thanks!

  22. 722
    Robin B. says:

    I love to read biographies on the British Royal Family….especially the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

  23. 723
    Margie says:

    One of the MOST impactful ones I’ve read is The Wounded Spirit by Frank Peretti.

    Tells the story of his childhood filled with the impact of bullying. Excellent source of healing for those of us who’ve walked that path and could be a good read for anyone!

  24. 724
    amy migura says:

    “A Man Called Peter” by Catherine Marshall. A really remarkable love story about a woman for her husband and the husband for his Lord. I’ve read and re-read it many times…

  25. 725
    Rosie says:

    I loved “Into the Deep” by Robert Rogers- a story of how he survived the loss of his family in an accident; Also- “A Message from God”- by Retha McPherson- powerful story of her son’s miraculous survival of a terrible auto accident and how God made himself known through it to their entire family.

  26. 726
    Rosie says:

    “Heavenly Man” was awesome- very convicting, and another of my favorites; “In the Presence of My Enemies” by Gracia Burnham.

  27. 727
    Amber T. says:

    The Hiding Place by Cori Ten Boom is an amazing testimony! Definitely a favorite.

  28. 728
    cindy says:

    the hiding place …corrie ten boom

  29. 729
    Becky says:

    I am a biography “junkie.” Corrie ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place” is my favorite, but “A Man Called Peter” by his wife Catherine is also dear to my heart. I am almost through with Metaxas’ on Bonhoeffer. I am inspired and heartened when I learn of how other people have withstood the difficulties and persecutions of human life and yet have clung to God faithfully. However, I am frequently reminded that every Christian has a testimony and my neighbor down the street may have a life experience just as remarkable as Corrie ten Boom or Peter Marshall and so I pray: “Dear Father, let me never miss Your miracles or take them forgranted. Help me see them everyday no matter if they are face-to-face with me or on the written page. Open my eyes Lord so I can see You.”

  30. 730
    T_Marie says:

    Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is the memoir of Harriet Jacobs’s life and how slavery was far more terrible for a woman. She hid in an attic crawl space for about 7 years, watching her children grow up through cracks in the wood. She made many heart-wrenching sacrifices in order to ensure that her children would not live their entire lives in slavery. The book was published under another name, “Linda Brent,” due to be ing published as part of the abolitionist movement in the 1860s.

  31. 731
    Ashley U. says:

    I loved Barbara Bush’s memoir…

  32. 732
    Katherine says:

    Oh my goodness! Hope I’m not too late to get in on this. I love and have Amy Carmichaels “A Chance to Die.” But so many things have been coming up lately to me about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. My dad was born in Holland at the start of World War II and has been an amateur historian for me. Corrie ten Boom is my “hero,” and I have read and continue to read over and over her “Hiding Place” and “Tramp for the Lord.” I don’t know why I’m writing a resume of sorts. It sounds kind of pitiful reading this back to myself. But, I just want to let you know as earnestly as I can how much I would love to read the book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Even if I don’t win it, I’m so grateful for the info so that I can go out and look for this book.

    Okay, I’m kind of feeling guilty. I’m sure I can find this at my church library. But thank you for bringing up this subject. So many wonderful people have amazing testimonies of their own sacrifices and the sacrifices of others during World War II. I hope this spawns interest in others to dig up the history of that time and inspire us to live just as daringly for the Lord.

  33. 733
    Barb A. says:

    Two of my favorites are “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls and “Freedombound”, the story of Harriet Tubman by Janet and Geoff Benge.

  34. 734
    Janice says:

    Rebel with a Cause by Franklin Graham.

  35. 735
    Gen says:

    The Hiding Place…Corrie ten Boom

  36. 736
    Amber D says:

    I love the autobiography of George Muller. Also “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom.

  37. 737
    Kathleen says:

    Meeting God at Every Turn–an autobiography of Catherine Marshall is my recent favorite.

  38. 738
    Nicole says:

    My favorite biography is “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light”

    Nicole Ens

  39. 739
    Crissy says:

    I love biographies! The Hiding Place is my favorite. I am also in love with Laura Bush’s new book.

    P.S. There isn’t anything wrong with telling us how many pages are in a book! Don’t worry about it!

    Love ya,

  40. 740
    Rebecca says:

    Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

  41. 741
    Susan Knowles says:

    I love, love love to read biographies. When I read your post I had total mind blank so reading other comments helped spark my memory. Like so many others The Hiding Place and “Tramp for the Lord” as well as “My Father’s House” by Corrie Ten Boom are definitely some favorites. I read Hiding Place in College (1974) and loved it but in 1994 I read it probably 4 times that year because I was trying to figure out how she still knew Go9d loved her under such hardship. I finally realized that I didn’t trust God and it was and epiphany. I’ve read everything from Katherine Hepburn bios to Marley and Me to most recently Paul McCartney. I also loved Glass Castles. Years ago I read The Agony and the Ecstasy about Michaelangelo. Also loved Telling Secrets by Fredeich Buechner and Out of Africa. A Memoir by Annie Dillard called An American Childhood plus plus her essays Teaching a Stone to Talk and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. George Balanchine and Tamara Kharsavina (a n autobio) about a Russian ballet dancerfrom the Diagalev Ballet), Bubbles about Beverly Sills, Andre Agassi, etc., etc… I love them!
    Susan Knowles

  42. 742
    Stephanie says:

    My first and favorite is “To the Golden Shore” about the life of Adoniram Judson. So inspiring, moving – makes you realize what some people were willing to sacrifice to take the gospel to all nations. Totally exemplifies Phillipians 3:7-8

  43. 743
    Michelle says:

    I love anything having to do with the British royal family, particularly Princess Diana.

  44. 744
    Linda says:

    All time favorite book is Corrie Ten Boom’s, The Hiding Place. Such an amazing story!!!! I have read it so many times, her story inspires such hope.

    I really enjoy Biographies, although, autobiographies are my favorite. I will check out your recommendation.

  45. 745
    Mom of 2 says:

    The Hidden Life: Revalations from a Holy Journey by Crenshaw and Snapp

    An interesting biography of Betty Skinner, a believer who struggled with clinical depression, and her journey to wholeness in Christ.

  46. 746
    Deborah says:

    Does Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place” count? I guess it’s more of an autobiography. Great book, though – I named my daughter Corrie after reading about her.

  47. 747
    Tammy Wright says:

    My favorite biographies have always been political ones – don’t know why because I am not politically minded. When I was younger I probably read all the Kennedy biographies, Reagan’s biography and will probably read the Bush’s one day. One of my favorites in high school was Lee Iacocca’s biography – yes I was the only in the room with that one on my desk. The most recent ones I have read was maybe not a complete biography but Sandi Patty’s “Falling Forward”, and Elizabeth Edwards “Resilience” (that one I was disappointed in) and I really enjoyed Carol Cymbala “He’s been Faithful” which is sort of a biography too. These days I read any good book that crosses my path. I love books.

  48. 748
    Shirlea says:

    Precious Melissa, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the world of reading you are opening up to us who love to read and who want to know more! You have helped add hundreds of books to my “must read” list and I’m quite sure I’m right in saying that should be paying you commission. Just kidding! I was not familiar AT ALL with G.K. Chesterton’s writings until you introduced them to me. Two of his books now grace my reading stack. I am SO thankful for the UPS service here in the mountains of Virginia!!! I’ve got my pen and paper ready to take notes of all of the hundreds of biographies that I now must read.


    Shirlea (Mountain Mama still enjoying the cool mountain air before returning to Florida).

  49. 749
    Penny Walsh says:

    Hiding Place, Corrie …This gave me a great perspective on how God protects us in the most unusual ways and how He takes bad situations and turns them into good. I’m referring to the lice Corrie & her sister had that protected them from being rape…..God is so good.

  50. 750
    Kate says:

    Great giveaway!

    In 8th grade I read a biography on Michael Jackson. I was super into all things dance and MJ during those days.

    Atleast I learned how to moonwalk from the whole thing 🙂

    Have a great day!

    – Kate 🙂