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. 751
    Tammi says:

    “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom.

  2. 752
    katie says:

    “Shadow of the Almighty” by Elisabeth Elliot

  3. 753
    Gwen T says:

    I really can’t choose just one! I love biographies because they give insight into great heroes of our faith – who were imperfect but worked to be faithful in serving our Savior. John & Betty Stam, Chet Bitterman, Gladys Aylward, Paul White (autobiographical). Can you tell we’re missions-minded at our house? 🙂

  4. 754
    Michelle says:

    I LOVE Biographies!!! One of my favorite is My Sergei because it is such a beautiful and tragic love story.

  5. 755
    Michelle Vaporis says:

    I am a HUGE biography enthusiast!! Two favorites – I read over and over and over…

    By Searching – Isobel Kuhn
    Created for Commitment – A. Weatherall Johnson

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. 756
    Jagette says:

    A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall.

    Am looking forward to our library getting the new
    Bonhoeffer bio. I have been wanting to learn more about him.

  7. 757
    Alice Ellerby says:

    I LOVED A Chance to Die and used to have a copy but leant it to a friend. I read it so many years ago now that I am thinking I should reread it. I work in a Christian Bookstore and so have access to all the new releases (it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it LOL). This past year I have read 2 biographies that once I started reading them couldn’t put them down. The first one is “Life: In Spite of Me” by Kristen Anderson. She wanted to die and tried to commit suicide but God spared her life. It is a remarkable story about overcoming depression. Just this past weekend I read “The Devil in Pew Number Seven” by Rebecca Alonzo. A tremendous story about faith and forgiveness. And a graphic reminder how important it is to pray for our pastors who are in the midst of the battle tearing down strongholds (sometimes in their own churches). Well, this is getting long but I can’t leave yet unless I mention “The Hiding Place” – the wonderful story of Corrie Ten Boom. I heard Corrie speak when I was 17 and being Dutch I identified with her. I gave my life wholeheartedly to Christ after hearing her speak. I thank God for people like Corrie and Amy who not only ‘talked the talk’ but ‘walked the walk’ We are so blessed to have these stories in print.

  8. 758
    Carrie Jones says:

    No compomise

    life story of Keith Green.

  9. 759
    Mary says:


    Secular, I would say JFK, Christian, Beth Moore! lol But sh doesn’t have a bio out, does she? 😉

  10. 760
    Mary says:

    I also forgot to say, I am not sure if this is considered “biographical”, but any of Dave Pelzers books

  11. 761
    Karin Kaufman says:

    A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken.

  12. 762
    Brenda Clark says:

    Corrie Ten Boom “The hiding Place”

  13. 763
    Liz says:

    “Amazing Grace” by Eric Metaxas (Story of William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery)

  14. 764
    Bev says:

    “Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China”

    The story of three generations in twentieth-century China, it is an engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love.
    She explains the practice of foot binding that her grandmother endured.

  15. 765
    Jamie F says:

    Thomas Jefferson: A Life by Willard Sterne Randall

  16. 766
    Carlene M. says:

    Bogie, and A Book by Desi Arnaz (’cause I love Lucy 🙂 )

  17. 767
    Sita says:

    I have several ‘faves’ but one of the earliest with a major impact was:
    Taylor, J. Hudson (1987). Hudson Taylor (Men of Faith). Bethany House.
    Wow, so much about faith, trust, obedience, sacrifice, single-mindedness…

  18. 768
    Cindy says:

    My favorite Bonhoeffer book is Letters and Papers from Prison. I loved reading Bonhoeffer’s own words written during his time in prison. I read a little every night and really savored the book. I then bought Bethge’s biography but have not read it.
    I recently read Left to Tell and Led by Faith by Immaculee Ilbagiza about her survival during and after the Rwanda genocide. I guess they are technically autobiographies but life-changing books, for sure.

  19. 769
    Kara says:

    My favorite biography is Corrie Ten Boones, In My Father’s House and Hiding Place.

  20. 770
    Caroline says:

    The Hiding Place is my favorite!

  21. 771
    carrie courtney says:

    one of the most touching, inspiring, interesting biogaphies i have read was “through the gates of spendor”. it included the lives of various couples (missionaries)who were drawn together thru them all following God’s Will to share the gospel with a group who had never been contacted before.

  22. 772
    Emily S. says:

    The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.

  23. 773
    Miller Dart says:

    I’ve read A Chance to Die and really enjoyed it, but my favorites are probably The Hiding Place and The Glass Castle (which is not Christian, but still very good).

  24. 774
    Amanda York says:

    Oh wow, for now it is “John Glenn-Young Astronaut-(Childhood Famous Americans”). Recently, my 9 year old son and I began reading this book together. He made a comment to me about how John Glenn was a “neat guy” for many reasons, and that he saw himself as having some similar characteristics as him. Among all his amazing accomplishments, (according to this biography) John had a relationship with Jesus Christ! Finding this out, really impressed my son! Many times God is speaking to us through our children in subtle ways. I thank my Lord that He can and will captivate our hearts even in the little things. I don’t know if my son will ever be become a famous astronaut, but I do know that God will be with Him whatever he choses to do, and that pleases this momma’s heart. Hugs to you and all the Ladies.

  25. 775
    Ada Wiisanen says:

    Haven’t read too many biographies, does the Diary of Anne Frank count? Funny you are reading this book, I was just talking w/my mother-in-law this week and she wants this book! She heard it discussed on a radio talk show recently. I was not familiar w/ the book, but am familiar w/Bonhoeffer because my husband did a report on him for a seminary class. Hope I win and can give it as a gift to my mother-in-law:)

  26. 776
    Mark Dandrea says:

    I wish I read more to give a best choice, but Herschel Walker’s autobiography, “Breaking Free”, explains not only about his conversion, but his dealings with dissociative identity disorder. This disintegration of the continuity of the emotions is more common than expected, particularly with those who have suffered some kind of childhood trauma or abuse.

  27. 777
    Ashley says:


    I think my favorite biography would have been that of Ruth Graham. I’ve read several things on her and I love them all.

    Would love to read a biography on Amy Carmichael though!


  28. 778
    Rebecca says:

    I love “A Chance to Die” and the biography of AW Tozer, “The Life of A.W. Tozer” by James Snyder.

    My husband bought “50 People Every Christian Should Know” by Warren Wiersbe since neither of us are from Christian families, and he reads a different bio. every few nights to our children. It has been so wonderful to learn about the spiritual heritage of brothers and sisters in Christ who’ve gone before us and been courageous for their Lord and Savior. Very encouraging reading and amazing to hear what our children remember from the bios!!

  29. 779
    Fiona York says:

    Hi! I’ve never posted a comment here before, but I love reading biographies and think that Dietrich Bonhoeffer is an inspirational Christian. Even though I am not a dedicated bike rider, I really enjoyed Lance Armstong’s “It’s not about the bike.” Although I guess that is an autobiography. And of course the biography/ autobiography of Anne Frank. I love reading!

  30. 780
    Sarah Wiehe says:

    Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey. A great glimpse at several people who influenced one of my favorite authors.

  31. 781
    Carla E. says:

    #1 The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

    #2 Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields – documenting her struggle with post-partum depression

  32. 782
    Angie DInardi says:

    Joni Erickson’s book I read as a teenager and I still remember it vividly.. I may go read it again! And I’ve really been wanting to read “Bonhoeffer”.

  33. 783
    Andy Niebs says:

    I may be too late but my favourite has to be Nelson Mandela’s ‘A Long Walk to Freedom’. It is a page turner, and I just love that man.

  34. 784
    Grace Brand says:

    “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom is my favorite.

  35. 785
    Sharon says:

    A Man Called Peter…..written by his wife Catherine Marshall…simply incredible!

    Sharon Brumfield 🙂

  36. 786
    Dawn says:

    You know, it is kind of sad to say that I had to struggle to think who I actually read about.
    I think it might have been a book about Joni Erikson Tada (read way back when).

    Such great value is in the reading of other’s stories.
    Oh, I’d love to “win” one!!

  37. 787
    Michelle H. says:

    I absolutely loved “The Heavenly Man” the remarkable true, modern day story of a Chinese house church leader, Brother Yun, who endured horrific, intense persecution and imprisonment for his love for Jesus. He counted it a joy to suffer for Jesus! “I didn’t suffer for Jesus in prison. No! I was with Jesus and I experienced his very real presence, joy, and peace every day. It’s not those in prison for the sake of the gospel who suffer. The person who suffers is he who never experiences God’s intimate presence.”
    Brother Yun recounts detailed stories of God’s miraculous provision and presence throughout his life. I don’t want to give away too much but it starts with God’s miraculous provision of Brother Yun receiving a Bible when Bibles were banned and extremely scarce in China.
    This book has changed my life!

  38. 788
    Kerri says:

    One of my favorites is an older book titled “A Foreign Devil in China”. It’s the biography of Dr. Nelson Bell, the father-in-law of the Rev. Billy Graham and father to Ruth Bell Graham. This book is amazing. There is so much to learn about faith and conviction in this book. I can’t say enough about it!!

  39. 789
    pam b says:

    No Compromise- The Life Story of Keith Green by Melody Green

  40. 790
    peg nichols says:

    “A Passion for the Impossible” by Miriam Huffman Rockness which is a biography on the life of Lilias Trotter…a missionary to Algiers in the early 1900’s…

  41. 791
    Michelle B says:

    “The Hiding Place” by John & Elizabeth Sherrill and Corrie ten Boom is a book that I could read and reread for the rest of my life. Corrie ten Boom’s story of indescribable torture and heartache and her eventual forgiveness toward her captors challenges, touches and amazes me everytime I read it.

  42. 792
    JoAnn D says:

    Hi Melissa! I agree with you. There is power in reading someone’s actual life story…particularly if it was a life lived in passionate surrender to our Lord. I enjoyed “Moody The Biography” by John Pollock. It’s published, of course, by Moody Press.
    I enjoyed seeing the progression of his Christian faith as he begins knowing nothing but the bare facts of the Gospel and then how different Christians impact his life for the better. The author say he had the amazing ability to take the best from each person or group he encountered and not be overly affected by the negative. I want to be like that!
    JoAnn D, Virginia

  43. 793
    Becky says:

    Being a huge biography fan, it’s tough to narrow down. I loved Billy Graham’s Just As I Am. But, the life story of Walt Disney is also a page turner!

  44. 794
    Kathleen Stewart says:

    I am not a biography person as much but I have read 2 I can remember,
    A royal Duty of Princess Diana’s butler,Paul ? and my most recent is Sarah Palin’s Going Rouge, I read that in 2 days and after reading it I would still vote for her….

  45. 795
    Judi says:

    My 2 favourites would be:
    “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom, and
    “Through Gates of Splendour” by Elisabeth Elliott, about the murder of her husband and 4 other missionaries by the Auca Indians. There is a movie that has been made about it by one of the missionary’s sons, called “The End of the Spear”
    Orillia, Ontario, Canada

  46. 796
    Katie Todd says:

    I’d have to go with Telling Secrets by Buechner, as well.

    I’d love to read the Bonhoeffer biography, especially since I’ve studied both Discipleship & Life Together in seminary. Bonhoeffer facinates me, so I’d love to read more about him. That’d be the one I’d pick if I was chosen as a winner.

    Very cool giveaway! Thanks!

  47. 797
    Michelle says:

    I have actually read the Amy Carmichael biography by Elizabeth Elliot, and really enjoyed it. However, I think my favorite biography is Jim Elliot’s written, I believe, by his wife Elizabeth. I haven’t read it in a few years – might just be time to pick it back up!

  48. 798
    Leslie says:

    I have always wanted to read more about Bonhoeffer!
    I love WWII bios, but my fave is “Brothers in Battle, Best of Freinds” by Bill Guarnere & Babe Heffron!

  49. 799
    Carolina Cheesehead says:

    So hard to pick a favorite as I love biographies but “A Chance to Die” (Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael) was so impactful in my life so I will choose it!

    Trudy Pierron

  50. 800

    Greetings Melissa, I’ve just now started reading biographies, and the lone one I’ve read is Amy Charmichael’s by Elisabeth Elliot:) I have wanted to start reading others…I thought of Lottie Moon, Hudson Taylor, Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, Martin Luther, Augustine, Spurgeon, Augustine, Mueller…I don;t know much about them, but I hear about them a bunch so throw my name in the drawing for Bonhoeffer:) Itsounds like a good read to me.

    Blessings to you today Melissa,

    katie grooms