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. 301
    Denise says:

    The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

  2. 302
    Regina says:

    Stephen Ambrose’s _Eisenhower_ and the first two volumes of Edmund Morris’ biography of Teddy Roosevelt (The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex, respectively) are all great pictures of the modern presidency and some of its defining moments.

    I also really, really enjoyed Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals about the Lincoln presidency.

    • 302.1
      Robin says:

      Team of Rivals is brilliant! As the subtitle suggest he truly was a political genius! I live in DC so it was cool to read about his presidency and be right where most of it “went down”. Have you read the post-presidency bio of T. Roosevelt called “The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey”? It’s really good as well.

      Robin =)

  3. 303
    Maggie Gilbert says:

    My favorite would have to be The Open Door by Mrs. JL Ragsdale. It completely changed the way I think of faith and living by faith. A must read for anyone!

  4. 304
    Katie Rider says:

    My favorite biography is “The Same Kind of Different As Me,” by Ron Moore and Denver Hall. Although it is not a typical biography, it is deeply moving. It details the lives of the two authors: one a million dollar art dealer and the other a homeless sharecropper. In a strange twist of fate, their lives become intertwined and they are both radically changed as a result of their friendship. It is a book that I will never forget, as it forced me to recognize that I often overlook others who are different from me, assuming that our lack of common interests negates the possibility of friendship, when, in reality, our humanity is sufficient common ground to establish a meaningful relationship. Thanks to this book, I will never look at others in the same manner again, for God most certainly used it to challenge the many ugly and unfair stereotypes that I have bought into over the years.

    • 304.1
      Nancy says:

      I’m with you – one of the most life-changing books I’ve read!

    • 304.2
      Cristi says:

      Very good book!

    • 304.3
      Sharon Gowen says:

      Ron Hall’s cousin is a friend of mine, and he and Denver came to East Texas for a book signing. I was able to talk to them, and enjoyed meeting them. It is true that we judge so quickly, and, most often, without reason. I started reading the book and could not put it down.

  5. 305
    Jani says:

    I’m in the middle of a newer true story, it is listed as a Biography/Auto Biography. The name of it is “A table In The Presence” by Lt. Carey H. Cash – a chaplain. He speaks of the experiences a group of marines went through when they were the first to cross over into Iraq at the beginning of the war and God’s presence through it all. So far it is excellent, definitely not the same news reports we hear of in our media.

  6. 306
    Kristen says:

    Okay-do autobiographies count? I like “The Hiding Place” about Corrie ten Boom. She cowrote it, so I guess it’s technically a half-biography? I know I’ve read several others but for some reason my mind is blank. It may be a good follow-up for you after Bonhoeffer because it’ll be from the other side. I just am intrigued by the stories from WWII and hiding the Jews. I hope it’s not because I’ll be challenged with that in my lifetime-where Christians will have to go into hiding here in the U.S. Of course, if it comes to that the Good Lord knows what I’m made of…dust! Good thing I serve The Almighty, huh?

    Ok-I just noticed that this was a popular suggestion. Sorry I didn’t have anything new for you!

  7. 307
    Erin Cooper says:

    “A Child Called It” by Dave Pelzer.

    • 307.1
      Cindy Smith says:

      I have read that one, and the ones following…I battled some down and out days after it….so sad, and yet amazing how people survive and thrive…

  8. 308
    Marsha says:

    The Hiding Place.
    Corrie ten Boom.
    Marsha Wages

  9. 309
    Anita Cook says:

    The Hiding Place, no contest.

  10. 310
    Amanda says:

    Boundless Faith Early American Women’s Captivity Narratives (autobiography) Rowlandson, Dustan, Hanson, Wakefield. This is a great book about the faith of women who faced unbelievable circumstances.

  11. 311
    Deidre says:

    The Hiding Place
    Corrie Ten Boom

  12. 312
    Amy H says:

    I recently read “Leaving the Saints” by Martha Beck. Very thought provoking. I also love missionary biographies and I’m glad you asked this question – I’m getting so many ideas for a good read.

  13. 313
    Kim Bounds says:

    Abandoned to God would be my choice. It’s the life story of Oswald Chambers. I’ve read it 3 times and I never read anything 3 times. Thanks for asking a great questions. After reading other responses I now have a great list of books to read.

    Kim Bounds

  14. 314
    Rachel says:

    I’m with your Mom. I loved reading A Chance to Die. My kids and I are reading through the Christian Heroes biography series and loving those too!

  15. 315
    Marian says:

    Same kind of different as me! One of my all time favorites!

  16. 316
    Sallie Howell says:

    I first thought about the first biography I remember reading….The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. But I thought a minute and realized I just finished my Grandfather’s biography, A Lad from Lamont by James Hutcherson. It is a story of his faith journey through his 91 years of life. What a treasure for me and my children.

  17. 317
    Becky says:

    Very interesting post. I got into Bio’s several yrs ago, it started with Lucille Ball..hey, everybody loves Lucy.ha-ha-
    then on to Jackie Kennedy, but my favorite was, drum roll please…Eleanor Roosevelt. Now that was some bio, let me tell ya. If you have not read much about her, you may want to. No, she is not an amazing christian like some of the other bio’s the siestas will be listing, but I found Elanor to be an amazing woman. Not only for the way she helped and supported her husband, or for the things she did for our country, but the struggles she had and overcame. again, a truly amazing woman.
    ha-ha- that was fun.
    Becky Byrd

    • 317.1
      Melissa says:

      Becky, Eleanor Roosevelt sounds like a fascinating woman! I will look into this biography! Thanks!

      • Jan says:

        Melissa – You need to make a visit down to Warm Springs, GA and visit “The Little White House,” and see the state park and Franklin Roosevelt’s cottage and the little museum. I’m not sure Mrs. Roosevelt came often, but there is so much to see there and it is so interesting! Then go eat at The Bulloch House and go through all the little shops.

        Fun day trip for you and Colin.

        Love, Mrs. Jan

        • Joyce Watson says:

          I use to live in Georgia and visited the “Little White House” years ago. Really a nice place to visit. Of course, Georgia has alot of places to visit like Callaway Gardens, and Stone Mountain.

    • 317.2
      Andrea says:

      Hi Becky,

      I am very interested in learning more about Eleanor Roosevelt. My favorite quote is from her:

      A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
      Eleanor Roosevelt

      This woman here sure can’t argue with that! You didn’t mention in your post which Eleanor R. biography you enjoyed. Please do share with us!


  18. 318
    WorthyofLove says:

    Dear Melissa,

    It’s fun to hear from you. I LOVE biographies! My first was George Muller. What an amazing man of faith! I highly reccommend it. You can find the one I read in the Heroes of the Faith collection. They are fun because they write them in story form.

    Christian biographies challenge me to live beyond myself. To grow in my walk with the Lord. I do have to guard my heart though, because I sometimes start to compare my life to thiers and begin to beat myself up for not living up to the standards they have set.

    Huge Fan Anyway!! I recommend Hudson Taylor & Mother Teresa from the Heroes of the Faith Series also.

    Warmest regards,
    Michelle Clinton

  19. 319
    Vickie Barbee says:

    Oh My Goodness! This is like Christmas for me, Yeppee!!! All these wonderful books I get to read. My husband collects car motor guts and man stuff for his shop. My thing is books, books and more books. My absolute favorite,is my beloved Bible, it stands alone. Its about my most favorite person in this world, Jesus. Thank you so much Melissa for this post. What a wealth of information it has provided. I just love all you siestas for sharing.

  20. 320
    Steph says:

    ‘Fragrant Pathways’ by Mary Courson. My pastor(at the church I went to while growing up) Jon’s mom wrote a bio about her life- She has an incredible love for the Lord and an amazing testimony

  21. 321
    Debbie from Mississippi says:

    “When Character Was King” by Peggy Noonan is a great biography of Ronald Reagan. It describes a great American leader that had integrity, loved the One True God, loved his family and country — much of what we are longing for in our country today.

  22. 322
    Lindsay Silveus says:

    Oh, where to begin! Many years ago when I was a young teenager I read a biography of Katie Luther, the wife of Martin Luther. That was a fascinating story! I WISH I could remember the title. Perhaps I can find another biography about her 🙂

    There’s an excellent biography of Jonathan Edwards by Stephen J. Nichols that I really liked!

    Also, I just noticed “A Chance to Die” on my bookshelf the other day and remembered how much I liked it!! I may pick it back up again!

  23. 323
    Cindy says:

    “Evidence Not Seen” by Darlene Diebler Rose. You will never eat a banana again and not think of her after reading this book.

  24. 324
    Angela says:

    The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun
    The Small Woman – Gladys Alward

  25. 325

    My favorite is “Stepping Heavenward” by Elizabeth Prentiss who wrote the hymn “More Love to Thee, O Christ”. It’s the story of her life and the many challenges she faced. Such a good book.

    -Lisa Chambilla

  26. 326
    Rebekah K says:

    I LOVE a good biography! If you have never read it, you MUST read “To End All Wars”. It’s a biography of a man who was in a Japanese POW camp in World War II. It tells the amazing story of how God’s love transformed a camp. Powerful!!!

    Another powerful (though non-christian) book I read recently was “The Glass Castle”. Unforgettable and eye-opening.

    Those are my recommendations!

  27. 327
    Jenny Friend says:

    I loved Patricia Cornwell’s biography of Ruth Graham. I also loved A Chance to Die, it seems like I read them the same summer. Can’t wait to read what others have said.

  28. 328
    Kathy Campbell says:

    It’s an old biography but a good one — The Hiding Place. I often think of the things that Corrie said.

  29. 329
    Rebekah says:

    Faith of my Fathers by John McCain

    Rebekah Patin

  30. 330
    Radical Abandonment says:

    I LOVE biographies! I have read all of John Piper’s “The Swans are Not Silent.” I have read A Chance to Die. The first “Christian” book I read after becoming a believer was about the death of the 5 missionaries in Ecuador (Jim Elliot being one of them). It may have been called Missionary Pilot. I think it was actually by Rachel Saint. I have read a number of biographies of Jonathan Edwards. Hudson Taylor, Daws, If God Should Choose, Lives Given not Taken, just to name a few. But my all out top favorite was, C.T. Studd, Criketeer and Pioneer. Everyone should read about CT. Studd. I heard the ladies talking about Bonhoffer’s biography at Deeper Still but I have not bought it yet.
    We need heros not rock stars. Biographies are a good place to begin. 🙂

  31. 331
    Heather Vaughn says:

    “Night” Elie Wiesel

  32. 332
    Vivian Holley says:

    “A Chance to Die” by Elisabeth Elliot


    I’ve also read Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, and William Tyndale, but can’t recall the titles of the books.

    Vivian Holley

  33. 333
    MrsRitz says:

    It’s Not About the Bike, by Lance Armstrong… does an autobiography count?!?! =)

  34. 334
    kathy schuett says:

    I have both of those biographies and still haven’t read them…now you’ve got me motivated.

  35. 335
    Lisa Anderson says:

    One of my favorites is “Homesick” by Jean Fritz, author of many children’s biographies. This is the story of her life in China until age 12. She continues her biography in “Homecoming” when she returned to China in her 60’s.

  36. 336
    Joyce Watson says:

    Joyce Watson

    I have to agree with the majority “Tramp for the Lord” by Corrie Ten Boom is one of my favorite books. I had a chance to visit her house in Haarlem-Holland. I saw the clock and watch shop which her father owned. Also, there was a guided tour of the house and where they hid the Jews at the time.
    A few years ago, “Life Lessons from the Hiding Place” by Pam Rosewell Moore came out. The author worked with Corrie and wrote this book.
    In the book she tells this wonderful story. I have to share this it is so exciting:
    She tells when Corrie was five years old, she love to read stories about Jesus. One day her mother was watching her play house. Corrie was pretending to call on a neighbor. She knocked on the make-believe door and waited…no one answered. Corrie’s mother said, “I know Someone who is standing at your door and knocking right now.” Her mother continued to tell her Jesus was standing at the door and she ask Corrie if she would like to invite Jesus in her heart. Corrie said yes. At that moment her mother took her hand in hers and they prayed together and Corrie invited Jesus into her heart.
    That is the most “BEAUTIFUL” story I have ever heard.

  37. 337
    Sandy T says:

    I loved “A Chance to Die”..the one Beth mentioned. I would like to respond to more of my circumstances/relationships with this attitude/heart: ‘see in THIS your chance to die’! So grateful He is committed to completing what He started in me!!!…blessings…sandyT

  38. 338
    BeckyB says:

    Oh thank you for asking! I love to get book recommendations. I go straight to my library website and put them on reserve! One of my favs:

    The Heavenly Man
    by Brother Yun & Paul Hattaway

    It gave me such gratitude for the freedom I take for granted. It’s full of amazing miracles side by side with unimaginable suffering. Liu Zhenying’s story will stay with you.

    Becky Burns

  39. 339
    Rebecca m. says:

    The Hiding Place
    Corrie TenBoom

    In The Presence of My Enemies
    Gracia Burnham

  40. 340
    Radical Abandonment says:

    Wait, I got so jazzed thinking about it, I think I will go reread CT. Studd ! I can’t count the # of times I’ve read it. I am also going to make a list of all the great ideas from you ladies. Let’s talk about books more often.

  41. 341
    deanna says:

    I read Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light about a year or so ago.
    Most others I’ve read this year were just disappointing.

    I think one of the first biographies I ever remember choosing to read (junior high years) was about Anita Bryant but I’ve been kinda hooked on them sense then-i love reading/hearing people’s stories

  42. 342
    Kathy says:

    Thank you for bringing these heros to our attention again- yes, I am a NON FICTION type who is trying to broaden my reading with my “fiction” focused book club- You are an inspiration to me and I appreciate you so much and your direction- Lots of blessings and love

  43. 343
    Michelle Angle says:

    “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom

  44. 344
    Debbie says:

    The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boon as well as the one you mentioned by Amy Carmichael.

  45. 345

    Hi, Melissa! As of now, I’d have to say Ron Hall’s book, Same Kind of Different As Me. His beautiful wife, Deborah, passed away … but she left an amazing legacy of love to the homeless here in Fort Worth and across America. I really loved the book. Cried like a baby and moments of laughing so hard the tears trickled down my cheeks, too. I even got to interview Ron for an article … talk about a blessing!!

  46. 346
    Jeanette says:

    I am reading the same biography on Bonhoeffer! I’m enjoying it so far. I really liked the biography on Adoniram Judson, Bless God and Take Courage by Rosalie Hall Hunt. If I happen to win (I would love to win because I am particularly fond of biographies about missionaries) then I will be thrilled to have the book about Amy Carmichael!
    Jeanette Dickerson

  47. 347
    Lindsey C. says:

    my second grade book about Amelia Earhart, I became obessed when I was a child about her and I know all these weird facts about her

  48. 348
    Susie Tiemeyer says:

    Mine is an autobiography….Born Again, by Charles Colson. It’s a fascinating read about the transformation that took place in one, very accomplished, very self-sufficient, power-wielding individual. What a beautiful example of a godly man he has become.

  49. 349
    Suzanne in RI says:

    Helen Keller’s Autobiography.

  50. 350
    Sally Thomas says:

    In My Father’s House by Corrie Ten Boom
    as a parent I read this and knew that walking and living as Christ is not a church training…it is a house training.

    The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
    I teach blind kids and this book may have been the germ of the idea that led to this 32 year career!