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. 201
    Bethany says:

    I have loved biographies for a long time! As a child (not quite a teenager yet) I read many different ones on country music artists. As I got older I read various ones about certain events. The ones that I’ve really enjoyed are The End of the Spear, The Hiding Place, and Honestly (not sure if it is a biography per say but incredibly personal account of Sheila Walsh’s struggle through depression.) I’ve never read A Chance to Die but would love to. I’ll have to check if it is in our library at church! Also, I want to read MaryBeth Chapmans book. Perused it yesterday in Barnes and Noble but did not have enough to purchase it.

    • 201.1
      Kathy B says:

      Funny. I did the same thing with MaryBeth Chapman’s book today at Booksamillion. I didn’t get it either. Wish I had.

  2. 202
    enough gal says:

    I few years ago I read “Love, Greg & Lauren” by Greg Manning. Lauren Manning was one of the few survivors of the 9-11 attacks at the world trade center. This book was written from her husbands point of view.

    Last year I read “Beautiful Boy : A Father’s Journey through His Son’s Addiction” by David Sheff. It was sad, but I really changed the way I think about drug addiction.

  3. 203
    Jenny Smith says:

    I had the privilege of hearing Dorie Vanstone give her testimony, and bought her biography. It was right after I became a Christian (at 21) and what impacted me the most was how horrible life can be but how God is still there. Maybe because it was the first one I ever read but it is still in my heart.

    I heard an interview of the book your reading and I wanted to read it but was driving and couldn’t remember the name…now I’m ready to either win or buy it!!

  4. 204
    Dianne says:

    I have read many biographies by people who survived WWII. One is “Hansi, the Girl Who Left the Swastika”. But one of my favorites is about a teacher who survived living in Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. I am not near my books right now and I can’t think of the title off the top of my head. But it was a great read! Also, ‘Bruchko: The Astonishing True Story of a 19-Year-Old American, His Capture by the Motilone Indians and His Adventures in Christianizing the Stone Age Tribe’. There are many, many more!

  5. 205
    Chrissy Jones says:

    One of my favorite biographies is really an autobiography- Castaway Kid by R.B. Mitchell, a boy with no one who finds the the most important Someone-Jesus. If you read this get a box of tissues! 🙂
    I also loved Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret. The book tells about his life as a missionary in China. He was a man who knew what it meant to abide in Christ. LOVED IT!

  6. 206

    I have read at least once biography of Rich Mullins. I think the name of it is “Rich Mullins: A Devotional Biography: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven” Rich Mullins was an amazing songwriter, singer, and man of God. He encourages me to live my life for others and live one day at a time.

  7. 207
    Kim Safina says:

    Siesta OC, (3:26PM)

    I am shameless!!!

    Laughing with tears!!!!
    I love you! (((( HUGS))))))
    Kim 🙂

  8. 208

    Here are just a few:

    The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom
    George Mueller (I want a faith like his!)
    A Severe Mercy
    Biographies of Nate Saint and Jim Elliot
    Helen Keller – I read a biography about her as a child in elementary school and always loved it.
    Clara Barton, Florence Nightingale (I wanted to be a nurse when I was 7).

    There are probably more, but then my list would be too long.

  9. 209
    Leanne Eldridge says:

    I am currently reading “Walking from East to West” by Ravi Zacharias with R.S.B. Sawyer. It is more of an autobiography. Surprisingly it is understandable and not philosophical. I actually get the sense that he is telling me his story in layman’s terms. Love it! I never thought I would read one of his books…but now I want to know more.

  10. 210
    Stacy Minor says:

    Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing To Heaven, A Devotional Biography.
    Not only a great story but a great writer of music!

  11. 211
    cathy in tennessee says:

    Melissa, I also recently read Metaxas’ book on Bonhoeffer. Loved it! My college aged son heard Metaxas speak last year at this college, and told me all about the book. I love history and especially WWII biographies. I also really liked American Lion by Jon Meacham, a biography of Andrew Jackson ( after all, I am a Tennessee girl!).

  12. 212
    Peggy Fletcher says:

    I haven’t read many but I did enjoy “Let’s Roll” by Lisa Beamer and “Mosaics” by Amy Grant ( not sure if that one is classified as a biography but I very much enjoyed it.

    • 212.1
      Cristi says:

      I have read Lets Roll. I was thinking I hadnt read many biographies but I am finding with all the suggestions i have read more than I realized.

  13. 213
    Mary Beaubier says:

    Oh Melissa, you’ve inspired me to pull out from my undisturbed bookshelf one of my favorites… “The LONGING for HOME” an autobiography of FREDERICK BUECHNER.

    ‘For Frederick Buechner, the meaning of home is twofold: the home we remember and the home we dream. As a word, it not only recalls the place that we grew up in and that had much to do with the people we eventually became, but also points ahead to the home that, in faith, we believe awaits us at life’s end.

    Writing at the approach of his seventieth birthday, he describes, both in prose and in a group of poems, the one particular house that was most precious to him as a child, the books he read there, and the people he loved there. He speaks also of the lifelong search we are all engaged in to make a new home for ourselves and for our families, which is at the same time a search to find something like the wholeness and comfort of home within ourselves. As he turns his attention to our dream of the Heavenly home still to come, he sees it as both hallowing and fulfilling the charity and the peace of our original home.’

    Mary (Echano) B.
    San Jose, CA

  14. 214
    JR says:

    I actually prefer memiors to biographies – but I do love biographies…trying to think of a favorite…I remember reading Bill Peet’s autobiography as my first…

    I really liked ‘The Irregulars’ which was a bio of Roald Dahl (the children’s book author) during his time as a spy during WW2. I guess my favorite was only partially a biography – it follows the author’s father during his stint in the military so it might be a bit of a stretch as a strait bio: ‘Where the Birds Never Sing: The True Story of the 92nd Signal Battalion and the Liberation of Dachau’ (I read a lot about WW2…so the first bio you offered interests me a lot!)

  15. 215
    Jill says:

    The first biography I ever read was in 3rd or 4th grade, and it was about Dolly Madison. Around that time, I also read about Madame Curie and Florence Nightingale. After that, I reenacted saving the White House from the British, tried some scientific experiments, and wore a towel on my head with an old belt around my forehead to emulate Florence.

  16. 216
    karenk says:

    ‘the hiding place’ by corrie ten boom astounded me…she had such faith in her god…this book touched by life.

  17. 217
    Jacquelyn says:

    Oswald Chambers “Abandoned to God” By David McCasland! he honored God in everything he did. Such a wonderful man and wonderful wife.

  18. 218
    Patti Clay says:

    I have always been moved by The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. As a youth, her story put flesh on faith and moved me to think about God and faith in a new way. the latest biography I have read is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. It was awesome.

  19. 219
    SarahIsBlessed says:

    Well, Im more of a lover of fiction books myself. Haven’t actually found a bio thta I love, so I guess I do need to keep looking or get some suggestions on here. I’d say the one that impacted me the most was one I read in first grade about Nancy Kerrigan. I wrote a paper on it and won a school award…:)

  20. 220
    Julie says:

    Loving Frank by Nancy Horan – a side of Frank Lloyd Wright’s little known personal life as told by his mistress in 1904. FASCINATING. There is not a lot of faith in this book but it is a real portrait of the trouble sin will get us into. Shocking ending too. I live in Scottsdale, Arizona and have toured the Frank Llyod Wright unique acearage museum and thought I knew a lot about him from the tour guides. Not quite! Read it, you will be hooked, great architectural details too. It’s only 10.99 on amazon.

  21. 221
    leisa says:

    i feel that dietrich would not be one to emulate since he wanted to kill someone. I just don’t feel killing is EVER the answer.

    i love Corrie Ten Booms the Hiding Place and Gods Smuggler by brother Andrew

  22. 222
    Jane Birr says:

    My favorite bibliography was Swimming to Antartica by Lynne Cox.I can’t believe she swam in icebergs. An incredible story of persistence through obstacles and following a dream.

  23. 223

    I don’t remember the name of the book and I’m not sure if if you would call it a biography. It is a book about Jim and Elisabeth Elliott’s courtship, their life together in Ecuador and Elisabeth’s life with the Indians after Jim’s death. It really ministered to me when I was single to see how they related to each other before and after marriage.

  24. 224
    Sandy Hummel says:

    Hands-down fav: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

  25. 225
    Living4Him says:

    The Autobiography of George Muller. Not a biography exactly, but challenged my prayer life beyond words. Have had my teen sons read it as well.

    Janae Krum

  26. 226
    Kelly S. says:

    I love to read….anything 🙂 My favorite (auto)biography is “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom, and I loved “Tramp for the Lord”. I also loved Mike Huckabee’s book about Christmas traditions (the title escapes me). I have actually read one about Amy Carmichael, but it wasn’t by Elliot. Her life was amazing!
    Thanks for the opportunity!

    Kelly Snodgrass
    Rogersville, TN

  27. 227
    jill Landrum says:

    A biography i read YEARS ago on Abigail Adams…

  28. 228
    CyndaP says:

    Corrie ten Boom was the first biography that came to mind, but the most recent was a fictionalized account of George and Martha Washington by MAry Higgins Clark.

  29. 229
    Lisa says:

    The Hiding Place
    Corrie Ten Boom

  30. 230
    Leah Adams says:

    I loved Corrie ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place”, as well as Peggy Noonan’s “When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan”. Also good is “Sacred Honor: The Inside ACcount of the Life and Triumphs of Colin Powell” by David Roth.

    Leah Adams
    Blairsville, GA

  31. 231
    Linda Steinacher says:

    Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place” but I must say that a close 2nd is Tony Dungy’s “Quiet Strength”. Both of these are autobiography’s.

    Linda Steinacher

  32. 232
    Paula says:

    The Autobiography of George Muller—A friend and I have recently started a nonprofit ministry called Grace’s Kitchen and this book has been instrumental in how we are thinking about God’s provision for what He has called us to do.

  33. 233
    Tammy in Montana says:

    I have most recently been interested in the Middle Eastern peoples. I just read “I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced” by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui. It has made me so thankful for the life I have with my family and my so very kind and wonderful husband. It gave me insight into what the “women” (really, they are little girls) of Yemen must live through and it gave me a focus for prayer.

    I love books…all kinds and so I really don’t have an all-time favorite. My favorite ones are the ones I’m reading at the moment.

  34. 234

    Huge biography reader-my favorite is Elisabeth ELliot’s Through the Gates of Splendor, just read Karen James’ book about her husbands tragedy on Mount Hood -can’t think of the name, 20 and Counting by the Duggars, Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall, Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy, Kurt Warner’s bio.

    excited to see what others call their favorite.

  35. 235
    Kathleen in NM says:

    Don’t know if this counts, more a memoir than biography. I read “Choosing to See” by Mary Beth Chapman the day it came out. I could not put the book down until I finished. Her candid, raw, inspiring story of marriage, adoption, kids and the loss of Maria is so powerful! I have given so many copies of this one away to friends who have stayed the course with some painful stuff. I sobbed in our Christian bookstore just reading her dedication to her husband and kids, AND Beth’s forward. Such a testimony to God’s faithfulness. It is the most encouraging book and I would highly recommend it for everyone to read. Especially if you have traveled a tough road.

  36. 236

    I have been reading the bio of Bonhoeffer by Metaxas…then more picking apart of Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Spangler and Tvorberg. It is becoming a book that I keep with me daily and ponder.
    Then actually I have been reading “The Cost of Discipleship” and one of my favorite bio’s is “So Long Insecurity” hahaha
    I have been deeply convicted over my small faith in reading the Bonhoeffer bio.

  37. 237
    Mary Yep says:

    The biography of Mother Theresa. Loved it!!

  38. 238
    Kim Robles says:

    Corri Ten Boom and Ruth Bell Graham. I LOVED reading about Ruth Graham. I couldn’t put it down. Very inspiring.

    Now, you can laugh at me if you want, but I was young…in my twenties. I read a couple of biographies about Elvis Presley. I don’t know why I was so drawn to them, but I was. Don’t recall who the author was.
    Thanks for telling us about your’s! I look forward to reading them both. Maybe one will be from you! 🙂 Love you gals!

  39. 239
    Mary Yep says:

    the biography of Mother Theresa.loved it!!


  40. 240
    Melinda says:

    Open by Andre Agassi is surprisingly well written, deep, and amazing story of the life of a boy who hated tennis yet — through the urging of his astoundingly fierce dad wound up to be one of the best players in the world. Read it and you won’t want to put it down. . .(unfortunately you have to overlook his obvious affinity for the f-bomb on so many of the pages) but if you can do that…it’s a fascinating story.

    Melinda Mattson

  41. 241
    Jennie says:

    Oh goodness, I read “A Chance to Die” in 6th grade for a book report. Memories!!! She is one of my favorite people of all time. I have to admit that I’m not much of a biography person myself but I was very moved by the book “Amazing Grace” (about William Wilberforce and also by Eric Metaxas) and the biography of C.S. Lewis called “The Narnian”. I’ve loved Lewis since I was a little girl but really didn’t know anything about his life. I’m going to cross my fingers for this Bonhoeffer book… 🙂 have a wonderful day!

  42. 242
    Kelly says:

    I just finished Laura Bush’s bio and LOVED it. Of course I think she is super classy. My other fav is Billy Graham’s bio. Very good.

    Kelly Pettit

  43. 243
    Brooke Miller says:

    I’ve never been much of a biography fan either. However, recently I read a few that seemed more “story-like” than some of the dry ones that I read in school. 😉 My most recent favorite has to be Eyes of the Tailless Animals by Soon Ok Lee (about a woman who became a Christ-follower because she spent time in a North Korean prison / concentration camp). Don’t read before bed … it will keep you up at night!

  44. 244
    Jenae says:

    Recently I have become a huge Missionary Biography reader. They have been so encouraging to me and my faith! Praise God that we can read others stories to be encouraged and supported in our own. I wont put just one because I would rather you all have some good information on good reads for your future!!!
    So here are a few of my favorites:

    Mountain Rain, a Biography of James O. Fraser Pioneer Missionary to China. By Eileen Fraser Crossman.

    God’s Smuggler, A biography about one man going behind the iron curtain to bring bibles and hope to the brothers and sisters there. By Brother Andrew

    The Heavenly Man, a biography of a Chinese Church leader, and the way that God is moving building the church in China. Written with Paul Hattaway.

    These are life stores which have encouraged and inspired me in my faith walk with God. May they encourage you as you read them as well!

  45. 245
    Jeannie says:

    Jeannie Saver

    My favorite biography is “Peace Pilgrim” written by Friends of Peace Pilgrim.

    An elderly woman who has walked 25,000 miles for peace, carrying her only worldly possessions with her. In her own words, “I am a pilgrim, a wanderer. I shall remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until I am given shelter and fasting until I am given food.” An extraordinary story of a woman with reliance on God for all of her needs!

  46. 246
    Sara S. says:

    I am just not sure where to start as there are just too many to choose from! I am always reading at least 3 books at a time so that I have a variety. I have never read the one about Bonhoeffer, but if I don’t win, I will definitely have to get it next time I am in the states.

    Okay so my faves…

    A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot
    Through the Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
    God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew
    Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper
    Heavenly Man by Brother Yun
    All of Helen Roseveare’s autobiographies

    Those Who Love: A Biographical Novel of Abigail and John Adams by Irving Stone (This one may not fully fall into the biography category as I am pretty sure Stone took some of his own liberties in writing their story, but it is a great book nonetheless)

    I am sure there are others but these are the ones my scattered brain remembered first. I hope you enjoy, and I look forward to hearing more about the other biographies you start reading.

    Sara Salguero
    Missionary in Guatemala

  47. 247
    Ashley Carter says:

    I have found a new love in reading biographies. I just finished a biographies on Cameron Townsend, George Mueller, and Hudson Taylor. My favorite by far is Hudson Taylor. I am about to start reading The Life and Diary of David Brainerd edited by Jonathan Edwards.

  48. 248
    Sarah Stinnett says:

    I love the heavenly man – it’s about the founder of the house church movement in china – it’s overwhelming to realize that this stuff happened in the last 10 years and not 100 years ago.

  49. 249
    Sheila says:


    I’m so pleased to read this post today as I heard the author Eric M. interviewed on Ravi Zacharias’ Let My People Think program the past two Sundays. I don’t have a favorite biography to add, but I would love to win and read this one. Thanks for recommending it and offering the chance to win it.


  50. 250
    Denise says:

    Hiding Place… had the opportunity to hear her speak at ORU about 35 years ago!