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. 151
    Catherine Nelson says:

    My most recent read was about genocide survivor Eric Irivuzumugabe called “My Father, Maker of the Trees” by Tracey D. Lawrence. He and 3 family members survived the Tutsi genocide in 1994 by hiding in cypress trees.

  2. 152
    Darla Baerg says:

    uhm … I think I need to read some biographies to pick a favorite. I’ll get working on that one. 🙂

  3. 153
    Mary Ann says:

    I Would Die For You by Brent and Deanna Higgins about their Son BJ Higgins
    Mary Ann Randall

  4. 154
    Leslie says:

    This is a stretch of the “biography” genre, more of historical fiction, but she does include as much “fact” as she can…..Francine Rivers Novellas on Mary, Ruth, Bathsheba, Tamar, Rahab, now combined under the title “Lineage of Grace.” These are wonderful women with lives that certainly merit pondering. Rivers does a beautiful job allowing us to see these women as real people with real lives as opposed to Bible characters that had a cameo appearance in scripture……fun post, I’m off to the library tonight and perhaps a biography is in order for my summer reading wrap up!

  5. 155

    I just read George Washington’s Sacred Fire by Peter Lillback. It was quite illuminating! As a history major, I had always been taught that all of the founding fathers were deists, but this book cites a HUGE number of sources to the contrary, at least about Washington. It was wonderful to gain a new level of respect for our first president.

  6. 156

    Does Ron Hall & Denver Moore ‘ Same Kind of Different As Me qualify as a biography? That book blew me away. Thanks for the chance to win one of the great books you mentioned!

    Cheryl Barker

  7. 157
    Pam Erselius says:

    My favorite biography is All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot, and all the sequels to it. His writing takes you to a gentler era and a calmer place with amusing situations and quaint descriptions. I can read these stories over and over again. Simply put,they make me feel GOOD.

    • 157.1
      JR says:

      Hooray!!! I forgot about those -those books are awesome!!! Would you believe the entire Houston library system has only ONE book of James Herriot’s?? And it’s a collection of short stories…I was very sad! I read them over and over too…just finished rereading them a few months ago 🙂

    • 157.2
      Marie Pruitt says:

      I so agree with you about James Herriot

  8. 158
    Kristin Hall says:

    I’ve always loved biographies, though I haven’t had much time to read them lately. I have 2 favorites. First, “Rise & Walk: The Trial & Triumph of Dennis Byrd” by Dennis Byrd & Michael D’Orso…Dennis was paralyzed during a game while playing for the New York Jets & this book details his ordeal & how he & his family made it through with their faith & the miracles God had in store for them. I read this book when I was in high school & it’s one hat I will never forget…it had a huge impact on me & my faith walk.

    My other favorite is “Let’s Roll!: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage” by Lisa Beamer & Ken Abraham…it’s the story of Todd Beamer & the other heroes of Flight 93 on 9/11. I’m hugely patriotic & particularly interested in learning the stories of 9/11…it’s so hopeful to see God’s hand at work amidst so much tragedy.

    Thanks, Melissa for your recommendations & your ministry! 🙂

  9. 159
    FloridaLizzie says:

    I thought of “A Chance to Die” right off the bat! Us Elizabeths must think alike. I love biographies and truly loved “The Story of My Life” by Helen Keller, which is really an autobiography. I also loved “The Radium Woman” about Marie Curie, by Eleanor Doorly. I don’t think Marie was a believer, but she was an amazing woman scientist, wife and mother, and we can thank her for X-rays. I could think of zillions; to me there is no more interesting way to learn about history than to read a biography of a famous person like Alexander the Great or Robert E. Lee. When you finish, you know about the person and their time period.

  10. 160
    CJ says:

    As strange as it may seem, a recent autobiography I have read is “Insecurity…” by Beth Moore. Yes, you read right. I remember the stories of the book before it was released and I could have sworn Beth said this book came closest to being an autobiography for her life.

    I have done several of Beth’s bible studies and feel like she has basically laid out her life before us as an autobiography……in bible studies.

    I am an admirer of Barbara Bush….read her memoir. I have enjoyed reading about Ruth Bell Graham. I read George W. Bush’s biography and respected the man more than I did before. I read Beth Moore’s “version” of David and was captivated by her perspective. Grady Nutt (Hee Haw’s Prime Minister of Humor) wrote an autobiography that was interesting. Laura Ingalls Wilder….


  11. 161
    Melissa says:

    I can’t remember which one it was but I read a biography of J. Hudson Taylor and it continues to challenge me. His approach to his impending missionary status and how he would prove himself faithful makes me realize how much I rely on myself instead of the Lord to provide many things for me. On a fun note, I have a nephew named Hudson Jay who is named after this early missionary to China!

  12. 162

    I own a signed copy of A Chance to Die! It *is* a great biography.
    I also have really enjoyed the biographies of George Mueller and Susannah Wesley (can’t recall who authored either of them, though).

  13. 163
    Cheryl Foltz says:

    I’ve read both. Enjoyed Amy Carmichael’s bio more.

  14. 164
    Kim Safina says:

    The Journey Continues ~

    Melissa, What a great question!


    So many books have touched my life.

    I have found that World War II has touched me the most in my lifelong reading.

    Our family celebrates Christmas &,Hanukkah (Sabbath with Challah,latkes) with a family who have two members that were at Auschwitz and marched in the death march. They are the most amazing individuals I have ever met. They are in their 90’s and I have learned so much about tolerance from them!!!

    “The Hiding Place, by, Corrie Ten Boom is one book that touched my heart as a young girl. I will never forget this story.
    Infact, my husband & I are renovating our home and added a “Secret Hiding Place” room in Corrie Ten Booms memory. 🙂

    “Night” by, Elie Wiesel touched me with his transparent testimony.

    “The Story Of My Life”, by Helen Keller was one of learning and being able to conquer our deepest challenges in life.

    However, the book that has touched me most is,

    “Escape From Sobibor”, by Richard Rashke.
    “Almost everyone knows of Auschwitz and Dachau. But few people have ever heard of Sobibor,although the biggest prisoner escape of World War II took place there, on October 14, 1943.”
    There was a revolt of Jews in the SS camp Sobibor. Approximately 300 Jews escaped.
    It was a book a fear,hope,strength,faith,and finally the inner ability to be STRONG.

    I am looking forward to reading Eric Mataxas’ book Bonhoeffer: Pastor,Martyr,Prophet,Spy:

    Thank you Melissa!!!

    PICK ME, PICK ME!!!! 🙂

    I need a new book to read!

    Your faithful prayer encourager,book,mascara & recipe friend,
    Kim “CaliKim”

  15. 165
    jill_in_AL says:

    I should probably have a more up-to-date biography to say but my favorite is and will probably always be The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.

    It warms my heart and makes me learn to be thankful and to love His word and see His hand in the worst of things and love His people. Love that book.

  16. 166
    kristin says:

    “All Over But the Shoutin'” by Rick Bragg. Technically, that would be an autobiography. 🙂

  17. 167
    Deanna Pfeffer says:

    I’m sure I’ve read some biographies through the years, but none stick out in my mind as favorites. I’m usually more of a fiction, or historically based fiction person. Although this biography sounds good, and I’d love the chance to read it!

  18. 168

    These are some of my favorites…

    The Bronte Myth by Lucasta Miller…Love those Bronte sisters!

    Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen).. I don’t know if this counts but I love this book.

    Letters Of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart

    Woman in the Mists, The story of Dian Fossey by Farley Mowat

    Letters of Dorothy Wordsworth edited by Alan G. Hill…

    Loved reading through all the responses…oh so much I still want to read and not enough time!

    michelle in VT

    Michelle in VT

  19. 169

    One of my favorites is Oswald Chambers: Abandoned To God. Thanks for the chance to win! Y’all are so cool!

  20. 170

    I recently read a book called “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. It is more of a Memoir but I highly recommend it! Awesome book! Denise Untersee

  21. 171
    shannon says:

    Stormie Omartian, frederick douglas, loretta lynn

  22. 172
    Terri says:

    I read John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace by Jonathan Aitken just last year. I could hardly lay it down!

  23. 173

    Confession time… I have never read a biography! I know, it’s embarassing. I’m either reading to learn or reading to let my mind go blank. But I’ve pondered biographies a lot lately, as I so enjoy biographical movies! So, count me in, please! 🙂

  24. 174
    Nikki B says:

    Definitely Corrie ten Boom’s, “The Hiding Place” but a close second is…don’t laugh…Richard Simmons’ “Still Hungry After All These Years”. I just love his heart for people. 🙂

  25. 175
    Meg Ebba says:

    I love an autobiography of someone who’s got some dirt to dish. So help me!! I recently gobbled up Melissa Gilbert’s “Prairie Tale,” so hilarious. I like someone who can poke fun at themselves. Biographies are notoriously dull in my mind, but Dietrich B. did have some exciting things going on, so who knows, maybe I would be pleasantly surprised…

  26. 176
    KaRetha says:

    One of my favorite biographies would be Billy Graham’s “Just As I Am”. I would love to read both of these! Thanks for the chance to win one.

  27. 177
    texatheart says:

    This is kind of a biography: The Kite Runner by Kahled Hosseini. Excellent book about the beginning of the Taliban in Iraq and how it affected his life. I literally could not put it down as there were so many parallels of the sacrifice his friend made for him and sacrifice Christ made for us.
    On a lighter side Bill Bates book Shoot for the Star is also really good with great pictures of his adorable triplets. Jan Witt

  28. 178
    Taylor says:

    I’m dont remember one at the moment (if I read one, it was in Middle School)… my devotion this morning was on “Releasing Guilt,” so I’m not going to bear any! I would love to win though and I will read it! Have a blessed day.


  29. 179
    Cathy Kramer says:

    Not Good If Detached, by Corrie Ten Boom. It inspired me in her simple, complete trust in God to provide for her. It also helped me to hear her talk about wrestling with feeling discouraged, depressed, overwhelmed — but choosing to trust. If Corrie Ten Boom doesn’t “do it” perfectly, then I’m okay! God is sooo full of grace and love and power!!

  30. 180
    Megan says:

    “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom. I mean I have read it so many times and it still makes me bawl like a child. It just has so much like that.

  31. 181
    Jennifer says:

    I read A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White and felt as though I peeked into the growth of faith Lincoln experienced while he was in office. He became convinced of God’s sovereignty and timing during the Civil War and wrote about it in his diaries and personal letters. Fascinating.

  32. 182
    Steph H. says:

    Melissa, your post caught my attention immediately because last spring I heard Eric Metaxas being interviewed on a radio program about this very book and I said to my husband, “That right there is my summer reading!” I called our local librarian, who said she’d order it in for me, but unfortunately it’s still not here and the summer has flown by so fast I didn’t take the time to just buy it for myself! I am, however, still planning to get my hands on that book!
    One of my favourite biographies is a little paperback called, “To a Different Drum.” It’s the story of Dr. Pauline Hamilton, a missionary to the Chinese youth and university students. So inspiring and a great challenge to my own faith.
    Thanks for the contest!

  33. 183
    Joy Sherman says:

    Both Brian Sibley’s “Through the Shadowlands” (a biography of CS Lewis life with wife Joy Davidman) and Lewis’ own autobiography “Surprised by Joy”

  34. 184
    Deb Owen says:

    Do autobiographies count? Because ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ by Nelson Mandela gave me a perspective on a whole different world……

    And while this may not technically qualify either (ha)….I love love love “Will in the World” by Stephen Greenblatt. It’s the biography of William Shakespeare, if one could ever be written. (Greenblatt was the Harvard professor who consulted on the movie “Shakespeare in Love” regarding the details of Shakespeare’s life.)

    I could list a ton more. 😉

  35. 185
    Jennifer says:

    I have never heard of Bonhoeffer before, but I think I might need to go and buy that book now!

  36. 186
    jean dean says:

    I love reading the Biography of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible. Could literally eat the Book up!!!! Never want to put it down, either. Jer 15:16a “Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart!”

    jean dean <

  37. 187
    Ellen Beckham says:

    I love biographies more than fiction! The fact that no one has made it up but that it actually happened makes the plot so much more intense and inspiring.

    I don’t think I could ever narrow it down to one favorite but A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken is one that stands out from the rest. Sooo good!

  38. 188
    Jan says:

    Pat Boone’s A New Song, David Wilkerson’s The Sword and the Switchblade, and Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place (all autobiographical) have had a lasting effect on the way I think about God and how He interacts with us.

  39. 189
    Lori says:

    I just LOVE biographies! And narrowing it down to one is simply impossible for me. But one of my all time favorites is Bruchko (Bruce Olson). Wow, it’s so good! I’ve read it twice and will most definitely read it again.

    Lori Gardner

  40. 190
    JJen says:

    I love biographies so this is hard to pick. One of the most interesting is The Preacher and the Presidents about Billy Graham and his involvement in politics
    Jennifer Gregory

  41. 191
    JulieDiane says:

    I love “The Hiding Place” I love anything by Elisabeth Elliott, and Amy Carmichael’s book has been on my wish list a long time. I’ve heard of Bonhoeffer, but don’t know much about him.

  42. 192
    Dannel says:

    A Chance to Die-Hands down!! Was my first biography, have been hooked ever since.
    Dannel Wissler
    Holtwood PA

  43. 193
    Janet says:

    I once read a different biography of Amy Carmichael and loved her story! I also love A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken and Rachel’s Tears by Beth Nimmo and Darrell Scott.

  44. 194
    Liz Rudolph says:

    I loved the biography- To the Golden Golden Shores. It was awesome and I couldn’t put it down! It’s about Adoniran Judson.

  45. 195
    Warm in Alaska says:

    Cheers, cheers for A Severe Mercy ~

  46. 196
    Taylor says:

    Ooh Eric Metaxas wrote a biography of William Wilberforce that was fabulous. I read it after the movie “Amazing Grace” came out (book is of the same title). I will definitely be picking up the Bonhoeffer one! I am also a huge fan of Corrie Ten Boom’s autobiographies. I really liked “Tramp for the Lord” but I must admit the title makes me giggle. Vernacular has changed a bit since the title was chosen I guess!

  47. 197
    christina says:

    Do autobiographies count? If so, it would be a toss-up between “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom and “Evidence Not Seen” by Darlene Deibler Rose. If not, then probably “Amy Carmichael of Dohnavur” by Frank Houghton. The Elliot one is good, too, but the older book included more of her poems.

  48. 198
    Mandy says:

    I love “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. It’s actually a memoir, not a biography. I read it years ago and still think about it often.

  49. 199
    Diane says:

    I love biographies, I think because seeing how God works in a person’s life sticks with me for years to come. Real people, real experiences with God… that’s something I can always relate to. My favorite has a silly sounding title, but the content is awe inspiring: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret.

    Close seconds are one I read on George Mueller, one called “Evidence Not Seen,” the amazing story of Darlene Diebler Rose. The list goes on, but I’ll stop here. 🙂

  50. 200
    Marsha Schwyhart says:

    “Mary” a biography about Mary Todd Lincoln.