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. 401
    Suzie says:

    my favorite is A Chance to Die as well

  2. 402
    Amy 7634 says:

    This is fun ~
    Biographies are probably my favorite genre of books. First one that came to mind was The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun & Paul Hattaway. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom is another favorite, as is Elisabeth Elliot’s Through Gates of Splendor.

  3. 403
    Juli says:

    I picked up my son’s Message Bible today as I cleaned and did some tidy work… the front, I read Eugene Peterson’s story – how facinating it was to hear about his education (amazing), his passion and putting what God called him to do into such an extraordinary message for everyday people to pick up and read. It is not a study Bible for me, so I just referenced it online here and there – but now I think I will read the Bible cover to cover in The Message.

  4. 404
    Ann says:

    Love, love, love biographies. Hard to pick one favorite. At the top of my list:
    1)Shadow of the Almighty – (Jim Elliott’s journals…)
    2)He Gave Us A Valley and Give me This Mountain, by Helen Roseveare, british medical missionary to the Congo.
    3)Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of WW II by Darlene Diebler Rose
    4)A very recent biography – Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef – published by Tyndale – an incredible story.

  5. 405
    Gay Beck says:

    Dear Melissa,

    My favorite biography is “The Diary of Anne Frank.” In the early 1970’s I had the opportunity to tour the Frank family house in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This really brought the details of the book alive.

    Anne’s brother Otto Frank, the only survivor of the family, returned to Amsterdam after the war to find that her diary had been saved, and his efforts led to its publication in 1947. The diary, which was given to Anne on her 13th birthday, chronicles her life from 12 June 1942 until 1 August 1944.

    Blessings to you and each of your family members! 🙂

    In God’s Love,


  6. 406
    Ruined 4 Him says:

    I have read only a few biographies but reading your blog is drawing me to them and now I’m curious. Back in my “dark ages” I read Katherine Hepburn’s, so long ago I don’t remember the title. A couple of years ago I read Corrie Ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place” or maybe I just saw the movie and read another book about Corrie. Anywho, I love listening to people’s stories…facinating!

    Joni in Littleton, CO

  7. 407

    Hey Melissa, I have to say my best friend and I love stories about George Mueller. In fact, we try to live like George Mueller when we are preparing for our medical missions trips. We are actually leaving for China on Friday. If I may be so bold, I would like to ask the LProof family and followers to pray for us while we’re gone. We have a blog set up to track our adventures. The website is: Thank you so much and God Bless you guys!!! Brenda (One of the banana peel girls – I have to say this every single time because I am so thrilled you Mom took a picture with our rotted, petrified, annointed banana peel that has traveled the world over the last 8 years!)

  8. 408
    Sabrina Klinck says:

    A recently read a biography about C.S. Lewis and loved it.

  9. 409
    Carrie says:

    The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. I read it when I was in 8th or 9th grade at the urging of my mom. Probably the first book that really affected what I read!

  10. 410
    Hilda Friesen says:

    My favourite would have to be George Mueller’s with the Hiding Place as a very close second. George Mueller’s absolute faith in our Almighty God has been a source of challenge and encouragement to me many times!

  11. 411
    Cheryl says:

    I love the Amy Carmicheal, Corrie Ten Boom, and George Mueller. I’ve been wanting to read the Bonhoffer one. Metaxas also wrote one about William Wilberforce, and Hudson Taylor is another favorite. Also the story of Jim Elliot and his fellow martyrs.

  12. 412
    Jackie says:

    Great question! I have read many biographies through the years, but not so much in the past ten years or so. I enjoyed many of the biographies of our Founding Fathers. also love biographies of Christian athletes and coaches. This post has some great ones suggested I would like to read! Love to receive one of the give aways!!

  13. 413
    Rhonda says:

    I’ve read a few over the years, however the one that stands out is “Oswald Chambers – Abandoned to God”. The tapestry that God wove in that man’s life in such a short time is beautiful and the impact still resonates today……..amazing God!

  14. 414
    ohlookaduck says:

    I absolutely was taken by “Evidence Not Seen” by Darlene Diebler Rose. Amazing story of her life as a missionary/Japanese prisoner of war (or whatever it was) on some islands in WWII. Precious, precious!

  15. 415

    I’m not sure if this is actually a biography but it definately is a fascinating read.
    “Or Perish in the Attempt: Wilderness Medicine in the Lewis & Clark Expedition” By David J. Peck
    It discusses the health problems, myriad dangers and the primitive practice of medicine during their expedition.

  16. 416
    Hilda says:

    Corrie Ten Boom’s biography is by far my favorite. I bought it in Nashville at the then Baptist Book Store, could not put it down. This was in the 70s.
    I also read a book by Elisabeth Elliot, “Loneliness”, a depressing title, but helped me thru a painful time in my life. It might qualify for a “semi” biography if there is such a thing. She told of her experiences in life, losing two husbands, etc. and how she coped with those events.
    Question for Melissa, was Bonhoefer involved in the conspiricy to kill Hitler? Guess I will have to read the book!
    What biographys do for me is to say, yes you can make it, look at all this person went thru and they made it to the end.

  17. 417
    angie says:

    argh! fav biography … that is mostly what I read!
    Latest one … Lone Survivor
    Others … Let’s Roll (Lisa Beamer), Same Kind of Different as Me; Seabiscuit, When Character Was King, My Sergei, It’s Not About the Bike … few of my Favs!

  18. 418
    Lindsey Fescoe says:

    Same Kind of Different as Me

    by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

  19. 419
    karensk says:

    Hard to pick just one, but I really loved reading about George Muller. His faith and trust in God is so amazing and childlike.

    Karen Khan

  20. 420
    Karla Boone says:

    Rachel’s Tears, by Beth Nimmo and Darrell Scott about the young girl who was killed at Columbine.

    I will have to look for the 50 People Every Christian Should Know that sounds like a real interesting book.


  21. 421
    Shannan Cloud says:

    Oh My Stars!!! I’ve lived as a missionary/teacher in Bolivia and Guatemala for several years. While studying in seminary I was reading a biography by Rigoberta Menchu Tum…a social activist for the peasants of Guatemala! She is a Noble Peace Prize winner from 1992 and if you know nothing about third world politics and want to know how ONE WOMAN can make a difference in the world…my stars…you’ve got to read this book. I think the actual title is, “Crossing Borders_ (but one later translated is actually called, “I, Rigoberta Menchu.” I’ve been to her village, I’ve met the people…I have heard her speak. She’s an amazing woman. Her entire family was killed…she had to go into hiding…etc. A great read for some eye opening stories.

  22. 422
    Xena says:

    The fascinating story of Francis and Edith Schaeffer and the early days of their retreat center in Switzerland call L’Abri, It’s called Tapestry. Was a great heart shaper as a young Christian. I’ve read other greats but my brain is tired . . .

  23. 423
    Another Beth says:

    “Hiding Anne Frank” by Miep Gies tells her side of Anne’s story.

    “A Man Called Peter” by Catherine Marshall.

    Any of the First Ladies (Lady Bird Johnson’s “A White House Diary” is especially good)

  24. 424
    Lynn Kelly says:

    For years I have said one of my favorites is by Patricia Cornwell and is entitled: “Ruth: A Portrait” and was written years before Patricia became the author of all the ‘forensic pathology’ novels.

    I felt I really knew Ruth and Billy’s struggles and triumphs while I was reading it!

    Lynn Kelly

  25. 425
    Jo says:

    Perfect timing! He (Metaxas) is being interviewed THIS WEEK on our local Christian station (KFAX, in CA) and it has been so interesting!

    I’ll share the most amazing AUTObiography that I’m blessed to be reading right now… MaryBeth Chapman’s “Chooing to See.”

    Woowee… some powerful truth, lessons, and encouragement in there!

  26. 426
    Tammy Elrod says:

    When I was in Elementary School, I read every biography on the shelves until I finished all of them. Most of them were historical biographies, like Sacajawea, George Washington, and so on, but I loved all of them! This early reading experience is probably what led me to be a history major/teacher. (Although I am now a banker by trade).

    My 2 favorites (sorry, impossible to choose between) are The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom and the Helen Keller story (can’t remember the name of the book).


  27. 427

    Darlene Diebler Rose Evidence Not Seen is an inspiring story of a young missionery tried in the fires of a Japenese prison camp during WWII. This story impacted me greatly as a young Christian. Incredible testimony of the faithfulness of God in the midst of incredible loss and cruelty. When Darlene Deibler Rose wrote her book, she wrote it with her young sons in mind. “I wished them to know, if ever difficult circumstances came into their lives, that their mother’s God is still alive and very well, and His arm has never lost its ancient power”.

  28. 428
    Jill says:

    Rick Bragg wrote his autob. called All Over But The Shoutin and a biog. about his grandpa called Ava’s Man. Both are great.

  29. 429

    I’m not sure I’ve ever even read a biography. I would like to, though. I have a feeling I would like the Amy Carmichael one that Beth was talking about, but who knows. I do love to read, but don’t get much chance to read anything besides the bible and Dr. Seuss with three kids around, but they are starting back to school tomorrow, so a book might be nice. Probably beats spending all day on facebook anyway! LOL!

  30. 430

    I love biographies, especially those where the hand of God is so evident! One of my favorites is “Evidence Not Seen” by Darlene Deibler Rose. Darlene was a missionary with her husband in New Guinea during WWII when the Japanese invaded the island. Her biography tells of the trials she faced during the four years she spent in a prison camp. Her strong faith in God and God’s faithfulness in protecting her profoundly touched me and encouraged me in walk with Christ. Another favorite is “The Hiding Place” by Corrie ten Boom.

  31. 431
    DeeAnne Sisco says:

    Definitely “The Hiding Place”! What a tremendous testament to the grace and power of our Father!

  32. 432
    Amber says:

    So strange that you should mention this book as I just read about this book in Christian Book Distributor’s catalog yesterday morning and was thinking about buying it. Although I love to read, I haven’t read many biographies. I have read a couple of Sheila Walsh’s books about her life battling depression and anxiety and I may have read other biographies but I cannot think of any other right now except for “The Diary of Anne Frank” which I read in junior high but still remember vividly today. In fact, I found a copy at a yard sale this summer and bought it to reread and then keep for my kids to read when they are old enough.

    I would love to win this biography! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  33. 433
    Avis Buford says:

    “Tortured for His Faith” by Haralan Popov was riveting. He was tortured for his faith in Jesus for thirteen years!! I read it years ago and still think about his powerful testamony. Another was Corrie Ten Boom ‘s story in “The Hiding Place”. The Nazi guards wouldn’t come into her barracks because of the terrible flea infestation. It drove them crazy until they realized that the fleas had given them the freedom to read their smuggled-in Bible. Corrie would say, “Bless the fleas!!” It reminds me to bless whatever obstacle is in my path because God uses it for good.

    This is so cool to read what everyone is reading!

  34. 434
    Terri says:

    The truth is I don’t remember the name of this particular biography, but I loved it. It was a biography of Sam Houston which followed letters he exchanged with his wife before and during their marriage. The peeks at their personal letters to each other were so revealing and really sweet and inspiring. I loved how formal yet intimate they were.

  35. 435
    Elisabeth says:

    Joni. The story about Joni Erickson Tada is incredible. It shook me up pretty hard and literally the very day I finished it, a girl I mentored suffered an accident that has left her paralyzed. (But very much alive and well!)
    Coincidence? I think NOT!:)
    Love you!

  36. 436
    christine says:

    Hi Beth Moore….I live in Canada and came across you on you tube and I decided to watch you for a bit and then had to google you and let me tell you your not to bad 🙂 I use to attend church like over 4 and half years ago for a bit but walked away competely and havent been back since.I am not into all the judgement etc. I made a lot of mistakes and have a pass that would probably make your head spin but thats not who I am nomore I have alot of work still to do ohhhhhhhhh ya I do but then again I think we all do. I never heard of you before until lately and i kinda like it. finding hope for me I thought was so gone as I lost hope but I am trying to find it again. so off your you tube videos really hit home a little bit thank you. I don;t know what you fully believe in when it comes to living with a man and not being married or having sex before marriage or drinking etc but for me I do it (just being real and honest) and I feel like christians think I am a huge sinner but we love each other and we are all we have..I have a son that deserves a family right and we dont want to get married so this is the best we are going to have it…..thanks again for you videos it touched home like I said..

  37. 437
    Lois Bartell says:

    A must read biography is “The Tapestry” about Edith and francis Schaeffer. My all time favorite. But Murray, Elizabeth Elliot, corrie ten boom. Oh who can pick a favorite????

  38. 438
    Wendy says:

    Hi all

    I love Mary Kay Ash’s biography – Miracles Happen – an amazing business leader in North America who incorporated her Christian values into her business plan.

    I also love anything written by Elisabeth Elliot


  39. 439
    Karen Wondercheck says:

    I love biographies! One of my favorites was “Joni” by Joni Earekson Tada. I just finished this incredible book “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven”–was very inspiring and an amazing story! I am currently reading “Choosing to See” by Mary Beth Chapman, the wife of Steven Curtis Chapman. It is also encouraging. I loved also reading about Jim Eliott and his wife, Elisabeth, and “End of the Spear”, the story of Steve Saint, the son of one of the other missionaries that served with Jim Eliott. The book is so much better than the movie!

    I have the book about Amy C. – it’s next on my list to read!

  40. 440
    Katie says:

    I just finished reading my first biography,

    “Shadow of the Almighty, The Life and Testament of Jim Elliot” by Elisabeth Elliot.

    This book was awesome and it has me hooked on reading biographies because reading about Jim Elliot’s life showed me a radical way to live for the glory of Christ in this culture. It is very encouraging to read biographies of radical Christians, it kind of gives you permission to go against the grain and do it too!

    Love this post! KT

  41. 441
    Julie Marler says:

    The biography of Ruth Bell Graham! Wonderful book! Wonderful woman!!
    Julie Marler

  42. 442
    Tarah says:

    Huge biography lover, here! Melissa, you have to start loving biographies. A good one will maintain your interest, inform you of new things, make you think from a different perspective, and just maybe change your life! I just finished the Bonhoeffer bio a few weeks ago, and I read it nonstop in a few days too! It was fabulous. For me a truly great biography is one you go back to read more than once because you learned so much. Both of these bios offered meet that criteria for me.

    My FAVORITE? So hard to choose, but I’d say George Marsden’s biography of Jonathan Edwards. “Jonathan Edwards: A Life” copyright 2003.

    I also enjoyed “The Narnian” (C.S. Lewis bio) and a recent one I read on Eric Liddell, but I can’t remember the author of it. Oh, and I also loved David McCullough’s “John Adams”. That probably ties for 2nd with the Bonhoeffer one. 🙂

  43. 443
    Cheryl says:

    I have two that come to mind quickly.
    Footprints of a Pilgrim, The life and Loves of Ruth Bell Graham and
    The Christian World of C. S. Lewis

  44. 444
    Catherine says:

    No Compromise. The life story of Keith Green, by Melody Green. This has to be at the top of my list

  45. 445
    Anne Acker says:

    Two of my favorites are “Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God” and George Sayers biography of C.S. Lewis entitled “Jack.”

  46. 446
    Shelley says:

    Joni – by Joni Earakson Tada – Autobiography I guess?
    I was Wrong by Jim Baker – oops another auto
    George Mueller by John Piper

    Sorry couldn’t name just one!

  47. 447
    Sherry says:

    I didn’t realize how many biographies I have read until reading through everyone’s lists. I love The Hiding Place, and The Heavenly Man was amazing as well. I think it goes back to The Diary of Anne Frank being my favorite book as a young woman.

  48. 448
    Susan says:

    To me the greatest book about someone’s life is God’s Word, the Holy Bible. Where better can we learn about the greatest life ever lived, the life of Jesus Christ. His teachings which are our lifeline, guide and comfort for our lives. My name is Susan Johnson.

  49. 449
    Melissa Sweet says:

    Greetings 🙂

    My favorite biography is “Hansi: The Girl Who Left the Swastika”. It is the story of Maria Anne Hirschmann, who was an orphan in Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia. The story takes you through WW2, her escape from the communists, and her meeting Jesus and moving the the U.S.A. It is an AMAZING life story.

  50. 450
    JoLynn says:

    Most definitely, and even reading it as we speak ahem….type: The Hiding Place-Corrie Ten Boom the 35th Anniversary with Elizabeth and John Sherrill. And just finished Janet & Geoff Benge abridged version with my children. Living in Europe this has helped us to understand what so many around us really lived through and we are thankful that Jesus is Victor!!!