Biography/Memoir Recommendations?


I’m brand new to the biography/memoir genre, and am hoping for some recommendations.

I recently read Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and loved them both.

The incredible inner strength of the characters and the (relative) innocence of the time period appealed to me, but these features aren’t “musts”-- I’d be happy to just find any really great book in this genre, preferably something ultimately uplifting.

Also, I’m considering Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy and wondered if anyone who has read it could give their impressions.


The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton is a very good memoir. If you have read Jeanette, then you have probably heard of The Glass Castle, one of my favorites. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillebrand is also good if you haven’t read anything else by her. I have not read Bonhoeffer so I cannot comment on that. Happy reading!:slight_smile:

Aside from Brit Lit, I love biography. Now that I’ve gotten my self centered shameless mention out of the way, I can recommend to you.

“Aristocrats” by Stella Tillyard. Great story of a noble family in Georgian England. Excellent, wonderful mini series based on the book too. Anyone with more than one sibling can relate to the timeless story of sibling love and rivalry.

“Alexander the Great” by Norman F Cantor. It’s a little book but so good. Great analysis.

“Lee: the Last Years” by Charles B Flood. The post Civil War years of Robert E Lee. Great writing!!! Flows like running water.

“Nelly Custis: Child of Mt Vernon” by David Riblett. The compelling and sometimes sad tale of George Washington’s step granddaughter/adopted daughter. A rare treat and fabulously written. Highly recommended.

“sTori Telling” by Tori Spelling.:o Yes, I did include this. And yes, I did read it! Her mother was evil!

Thanks to both of you for the recs!

I have to mention the memoir Expecting Adam, in addition to the others I mentioned in the OP. It’s written by a Harvard student steeped in secularism, who learns that her baby will be born with Down Syndrome. Despite protests, judgements, cruel remarks, and even threats from those in their social and intellectual circles, the author an her husband decide to continue with the pregnancy.

Its heartbraking yet funny, and ultimately incredibly uplifting. A wonderful read!

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