Biographies and Memoirs

Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams by John Lahr is a biography which explores from the inside out the turbulent and tortured existence of perhaps the greatest playwright America has ever seen, one who has certainly given it all to trudge through life and revolutionized the world of theater forever.

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The Orientalist

The Orientalist by Tom Reiss chronicles the surprisingly-real life of Lev Nussimbaum, a Jewish man who barely escaped the Russian Revolution in a camel caravan with little more than what he had on his back, became a Muslim prince in Nazi Germany, and led the kind of life literally any adventurer could beg for.

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Getting Life

Getting Life by Michael Morton is an autobiographical work by the author in which he recounts the whole, 25 year-long experience his life had come to revolve around: spending more than a quarter of his life in prison for the murder of his wife, a crime he did not commit and for which he was finally acquitted after withheld evidence by the prosecutor came to light.

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Blood Aces

Blood Aces by Doug Swanson chronicles the life of Benny Binion, a man who rose to great prominence from his lowly dwellings in Texas, becoming a ruthless, cold, calculating, intelligent and cunning gangster, the kind who was powerful enough to have a deep effect on how modern Las Vegas has turned out to be.

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Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight

Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight by Jay Barbree is a novelized biography of Neil Armstrong's life as well as the earlier and crucial stages of the United States manned space program, with the author having been a close friend of Neil's and perhaps the most dedicated and experienced space travel journalist of our time.

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Eichmann Before Jerusalem

Eichmann Before Jerusalem by Bettina Stangneth is a complete analysis and reassessment of what is known about Adolf Eichmann, the so-called “Manager of the Holocaust”, based amongst other things on more than 1300 newly-discovered personal notes of his as well as over seventy audio recordings of meetings held in a Buenos Aires Nazi salon in the 1950s, exploring the man's tremendous impact during and after the Second World War.
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My Salinger Year

My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff is the author's own biographical account of what it was like working as J.D. Salinger's secretary, getting enthralled by his life and sucked into the worlds of his infatuated fans, ultimately giving her the jump start she needed in the world of literature.

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The Map Thief

The Map Thief by Michael Blanding delves into the life of Forbes Smiley, a man who was an actual, real-life map thief, hunting for the rarer ones and being a part of a little-known criminal underworld where many lives were lost and corrupted.

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Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone explores the decades-long rivarly between Glenn Curtis and the Wright Brothers, as well as numerous other, slightly less important people who contributed to the early history of aviation, whether through breakthroughs or catastrophic failures, warning others not to follow in their footsteps.

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The Walk

The Walk by Richard Paul Evans tells the story of Alan Christoffersen, an advertisement executive in Seattle who loses everything and everyone in the blink of an eye. With nothing left but his bare essentials, Alan sets out on a daring cross-country journey to the farthest point on his map, searching for God-knows what.

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Night by Elie Wiesel is an internationally-acclaimed autobiographical account of what the author experienced during his time in Nazi concentration camps, namely Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and how he managed to survive in spite of the unspeakable atrocities being committed to him and around him.

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Just Kids

Just Kids by Patti Smith is an autobiographical work and the first book of prose written by the Godmother of Punk. In it, she places most of her focus on the more vivid phases of her life, detailing what she went through in the late sixties and seventies, also taking great care to detail her inspiring relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

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Dancing Fish and Ammonites

Dancing Fish and Ammonities by Penelope Lively is the acclaimed author’s own memoir, offering unprecedented insight into her formative years, personal life, relation to books and writing, her influences, the events which marked her as a person, as well as various thoughts and philosophies on life which have come to be acquired through a career that has now spanned over fifty years.

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Life in Motion

Life in Motion by Misty Copeland is an autobiography by the author, detailing her harrowing road to stardom and success as the first female African-American ballet soloist at the American Ballet Theatre.

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The Good Spy

The Good Spy by Kai Bird is an in-depth biography of Robert Ames, perhaps one of the most influential CIA operatives in the past few decades, one whose survival may have led to a different and more peaceful state of affairs in the Middle East, at least between them and the Western world.

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The Snow Leopard

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen is an autobiographical journey by the author into the hearts of the Himalayan mountains, in search of elusive animals, amongst which is the snow leopard. However, this is more than just sightseeing, as Matthiessen was also in search of guidance and enlightenment, turning to Buddhist principles to find a home for his thoughts.

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Duty by Robert Gates is an autobiographical memoir written by the former Secretary of Defense (and CIA agent of 26 years) as to his involvement during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, aiming to bring the truth as to what actually happened behind closed doors during these years with the Bush and Obama administrations.

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This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage is Ann Patchett’s autobiography, and in it she attempts to discuss all the important events from her early childhood to the day the book was written, including her disastrous first marriage, a happy later one, the joys of writing, the unusual experience of opening up a bookstore, and more.

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The Napoleon of Crime

The Napoleon of Crime by Ben Macintyre is an in-depth and complete exploration of the life of perhaps one of the most influential and renowned criminals of his time: Adam Worth, who made a name for himself amongst his peers and hunters as a master thief, if not the master thief all should look up to.

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A Life of Barbara Stanwyck

A Life of Barbara Stanwyck by Victoria Wilson is a rather in-depth biography of the Hollywood silver screen star who took the world of cinema by storm, being described by many of her former peers and coworkers as being one of the most, if not the most talented actress of her time.

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Gifted Hands

Gifted Hands was written by Cecil Murphey and Ben Carson, being the biography of the latter of the two. Carson is perhaps the most celebrated neurosurgeon in existence today, having worked countless miracles and even pioneering the surgery based on which conjoined twins at the head are separated.

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The Last American Man

The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert is an exploration of a rather unique man, Eustace Conway, who at the age mere age of seventeen decided to move on his own to the Appalachian Mountains and still lives there, to the best of our knowledge.

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The Reason I jump

The Reason I Jump was written by Naoki Higashida, afflicted with autism, and is basically a first-person exploration into the mind of an autistic person, exploring how the author thinks and lives, providing answers to many questions people have had in regards to the condition for many years.

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Jim Henson: The Biography

Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones is a detailed and in-depth look into the life of one of the world’s most recognizable comedians and creator of The Muppets, exploring his life all the way from his earlier years to his untimely death at the age of fifty-three.

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After Vising Friends

After Visiting Friends by Michael Hainey is an autobiography in which the author recounts his surrealistic journey into the dark underbelly of the journalistic world in an attempt to uncover the whole story behind his own father’s overly suspicious death.

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The Forgotten 500

The Forgotten 500 by Gregory A. Freeman is the account of a criminally-underappreciated rescue operation during World War II that went down as the greatest operation of its kind during the war.

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Frozen in Time

Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff is the harrowing survival story of a B-17 bomber crew which has the misfortune of crash landing in the middle of arctic wilderness, where virtually everything is looking to kill them, from the ferocious and starved animals to the weather itself.

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River of Doubt

River of Doubt by Candice Millard is a biographical narrative recounting the darkest time in Theodore Roosevelt’s life: a murderous exploration of one of the most dangerous areas of the Amazon, then-still unmapped and unknown to mankind.

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Orange is the New Black

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman is the real story of a woman (the author herself, as a matter of fact) with a loving family and a good career who gets sentenced to fifteen months in a minimum security prison for a crime she committed over ten years ago.

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Seven Men

Seven Men by Eric Metaxas is an in-depth exploration through seven different biographies of what it takes in the modern world to be considered as a real man; times are changing, and so are standards… can we keep up with them?

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Fearless by Eric Blehm is the biography of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator, Adam Brown, and the selfless sacrifices he committed in his life without even blinking once, up until the one that parted him from this Earth, on March 17th 2010, in the Hindu Kush Mountains, located in Afghanistan.

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Children of the Jacaranda Tree

Children of the Jacaranda Tree was written by Sahar Delijani, and it is basically a novelization of her own autobiography, following the horror transpiring in Iran from 1983 to 2011 through the eyes of various individuals, with one of them being herself, born in Tehran’s Evin prison.

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Kafka: The Decisive Years

Kafka: The Decisive Years by Reiner Stach (translated by Shelley Frisch) is the culmination of a decade of work in an effort to bring to us the most accurate and insightful picture of Kafka’s most important years, 1910 to 1915, during which he wrote his most astonishing and mind-bending works.

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The Black Count

The Black Count by Tom Reiss is a look at General Alexandre Dumas, the father of the world-famous author, mostly known for The Count of Monte Christo. It is dedicated to the father rather than the son for one simple reason: General Dumas’ heroics served as material for many of his son’s stories.

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John Wayne: The Genuine Article

John Wayne: The Genuine Article, written by Michael Goldman, Ethan Wayne (preface) and Jimmy Carter (foreword) tells the story of one of Hollywood’s most iconic movie stars through a number of interviews, stories, telegrams, anecdotes, photographs, letters, rumors and memorable souvenirs.

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Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir

Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir is the autobiography of Amanda Knox, precisely detailing the most tragic part of her life: the four years during which she was wrongfully imprisoned in Italy after her roommate was found murdered in their apartment.

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Escape from Camp 14

Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden is the true chronicle of the incredible story of Shin Dong-hyuk, the only man to have ever been born, raised, and successfully escaped one of North Korea’s countless political prison camps, estimated to hold somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 people.

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The Last of the Doughboys

The Last of the Doughboys by Richard Rubin tells the stories of the few remaining survivors of the unfortunately-forgotten First World War.

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Impossible Odds

Impossible Odds by Buchanan, Landemalm and Flacco is the first-hand account of the events surrounding Jessica Buchanan and her colleague, as they were both kidnapped by Somali pirates and later rescued by the legendary SEAL Team Six.

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Traveling Heavy

Traveling Heavy is the autobiography of Ruth Behar, recognized by the international community as being not only a great cultural anthropologist, but also an interesting storyteller. In it she basically offers a portrayal of her life through stories that have left their marks on her over the years.

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Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas is the real-life story of a courageous priest who decided to leave the safety of America behind in favor of dismantling the Third Reich, attempting to assassinate Hitler, and smuggle Jewish victims of the Holocaust into Switzerland.

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A Higher Call

In war (at least in most cases), it is often easy to forget that the enemies are humans like ourselves who would rather live in peace than anything, and it seems like Adam Makos and Larry Alexander are sort of trying to drive that point home in A Higher Call, a novel which explores the death-riddled journeys of two young pilots on different sides of the Second World War, and how one day they face one another in the skies.

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Waging Heavy Peace

Over the years Neil Young has become one of the most famous and celebrated musicians in the entire world, releasing all types of works ranging from underground singles all the way to major movie soundtracks (as in Dead Man with Johnny Depp). Waging Heavy Peace is Young’s autobiography where he reflects on the many events and encounters which shaped his life.

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Vengeance by George Jonas recounts a true story in the style of a novel, that of how the Israeli secret service agency, the Mossad, found and executed all those responsible for the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

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The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock

The Dark Side of Genius by Donald Spoto is a look at the life of famous horror movie pioneer Alfred Hitchcock, exploring how he developed many of his famous obsessions that spilled over again and again into his timeless films.

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Team of Rivals

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin is a book which explores Abraham Lincoln’s career in as much depth as possible, being based mostly on facts and known historical events, mainly looking at how he eventually became one of the most important presidents of the United States.

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Following Atticus

It is often said that dog is man’s best friend, and though much has been written on the subject, very few books come close to showcasing it like Following Atticus by Tom Ryan does; it is an autobiography in which the author and his dog, Atticus, climbed all 48 peaks of New Hampshire.

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Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot

Killing Kennedy can be best described as Bill O’Reilly’s stab at the assassination of Kennedy, although instead of trying to single out the murder or outline the conspiracy, he focuses more on the effects the assassination had on the United States as a country.

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No Easy Day

No Easy Day is written by an operator of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group (SEAL Team Six), Mark Owen, providing a first-hand account of the mission which resulted in the assassination of the infamous terrorist leader responsible for countless deaths, Osama Bin-Laden.

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Man’s Search for Meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning was written by Viktor E. Frankl, and it serves as his autobiography in which he details his harrowing experiences in four different concentration camps and explains how his theory of logotherapy fits into life and his search for meaning.

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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild : From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail is the heartwarming story of the author, Cheryl Strayed, who found meaning to her life while undertaking a 1100-mile long hike at the age of 22, after the death of her mother and her family falling apart.

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My Horizontal Life

My Horizontal Life is comedian Chelsea Chandler’s outlook on casual sex and the one-night stand, depicting some of her most promiscuous escapades and the live fast mentality many people are seeking to embrace.

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Lone Survivor

Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson is an actual, first-hand account from the only survivor of Operation Redwing, the costliest one every performed by Navy SEALS, resulting in the loss of the lives of nine American soldiers.

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Born to Run

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall is an examination of a very curious phenomenon persisting amongst the Tarahumara Indians, who are actually capable of running for hundreds of miles without feeling physical fatigue or risk any injury.

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Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography

Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography by Andrew Morton is a look at Tom Cruise’s life without pulling any kinds of punches, with a good part of it being focused on his decision to follow the Scientologist’s way of life.

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To Heaven and Back

To Heaven and Back by Mary Neal is a novel in which she gives a first-hand account of her experience beyond the realms of death. While it is impossible to determine how much of it is true and how much is fantasy, it sure does make for an interesting read.

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The Glass Castle

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is an autobiography, completely covering the turbulent and at times extraordinary life that the book’s author has led, dealing with an array of issues some of us could very well be familiar with.

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The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City is a first-hand memoir by Erik Larson of the events that happened during the 1983 World Fair; not long after the Ripper Killings, a charming doctor by the name of H. H. Holmes terrorized and murdered dozens of women during that same fare.

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The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture is one of the last things renowned professor Randy Pausch left to this world. After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, he delivered one final lecture to his students, touching on the importance of celebrating life and enjoying the time we have on Earth.

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Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaccson is a biography of, as you can guess, Steve Jobs himself, the founder of apple and major contributor to the development of computer science, who passed away not too long ago.

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There are many soldiers who have gone through truly harrowing experiences, and Unbroken by Lara Hillenbrand is one of them, chronicling the life and exploits of Louis Zamperini, an American soldier who fought during the Second World War.

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A Memoir of the Craft

A Memoir of the Craft is Stephen King’s autobiography in which he shares many of his thoughts and analyses on the various works he has conducted as well as the events which ended up marking his life and making him the man he is today.

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot explores the famous case of Henrietta, whose body cells still live on despite the fact that she has been buried for more than twenty years. Many believe her cells may hold the key to immortality, or at least to prolonging human life.

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American Sniper

American Sniper by Chris Kyle is the thrilling and heart-thumping autobiography of the man who is considered as being bar none the most dangerous sniper in U.S. Military history, who recorded more than a hundred and fifty career kills.

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