Best Biographies

Updated July 24, 2023
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Red comet : the short life and blazing art of Sylvia Plath
Clark, Heather L.
PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST * The highly anticipated biography of Sylvia Plath that focuses on her remarkable literary and intellectual achievements, while restoring the woman behind the long-held myths about her life and art. "One of the most beautiful biographies I've ever read." -...
Bol©Ưvar : American liberator
Arana, Marie
A sweeping narrative worthy of a Hollywood epic, this is the authoritative biography of the warrior-statesman who was the greatest figure in Latin American history. It is astonishing that Simón Bolívar, the great Liberator of South America, is not better known in the United...
Into the wild
Krakauer, Jon.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER * In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter. This is the unforgettable story of how Christopher Johnson...
Steve Jobs
Isaacson, Walter.
Walter Isaacson's "enthralling" (The New Yorker) worldwide bestselling biography of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs. Based on more than forty interviews with Steve Jobs conducted over two years--as well as interviews with more than 100 family members, friends, adversaries,...
Begin again : James Baldwin's America and its urgent lessons for our own
Glaude, Eddie S., Jr.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * "A powerful study of how to bear witness in a moment when America is being called to do the same."--Time James Baldwin grew disillusioned by the failure of the civil rights movement to force America to confront its lies about race....
The journey of Crazy Horse : a Lakota history
Marshall, Joseph
Most of the world remembers Crazy Horse as a peerless warrior who brought the U.S. Army to its knees at the Battle of Little Bighorn. But to his fellow Lakota Indians, he was a dutiful son and humble fighting man who—with valor, spirit, respect, and unparalleled leadership—fought for his people’s...
The new Negro : the life of Alain Locke
Stewart, Jeffrey C.
Winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for BiographyA tiny, fastidiously dressed man emerged from Black Philadelphia around the turn of the century to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jacob Lawrence and call them the New Negro - the creative African...
Ali : a life
Eig, Jonathan
Winner of the 2018 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing Winner of The Times Sports Biography of the Year  "Stunning . . . Eig's brilliant, exhaustive book is the biography the champ deserves." The definitive...
Catherine the Great : portrait of a woman
Massie, Robert K.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra, and The Romanovs returns with another masterpiece of narrative biography, the extraordinary story of an obscure young German princess who traveled to Russia at fourteen and rose to become one of the most...
Joan of Arc : a history
Castor, Helen.
From the author of the acclaimed She-Wolves, the complex, surprising, and engaging story of one of the most remarkable women of the medieval world--as never told before. Helen Castor tells afresh the gripping story of the peasant girl from Domremy who hears voices from God, leads the...
Frederick Douglass : prophet of freedom
Blight, David W
**Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History** "Extraordinary...a great American biography" (The New Yorker) of the most important African-American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass, the escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the...
The dead are arising : the life of Malcolm X
Payne, Les
Les Payne, the renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had known Malcolm X--all living siblings of the Malcolm Little family, classmates, street friends, cellmates, Nation of Islam figures,...
Washington a life
Chernow, Ron
A New York Times Bestselling Author. A National Book Award-winning Author. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one-volume life of Washington celebrated biographer Ron Chernow s richly nuanced portrait carries the reader through his troubled boyhood his precocious feats in the French and...
Looking for Lorraine : the radiant and radical life of Lorraine Hansberry
Perry, Imani
Lorraine Hansberry, who died at thirty-four, was by all accounts a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her short life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements, and she had an unflinching commitment to social justice, which brought her under FBI...
Barracoon : the story of the last "black cargo"
Hurston, Zora Neale
New York Times Bestseller *  TIME Magazine's Best Nonfiction Book of 2018 * New York Public Library's Best Book of 2018 * NPR's Book Concierge Best Book of 2018 * Economist Book of the Year *'s Best Books of 2018 * Audible...
Shirley Jackson : a rather haunted life
Franklin, Ruth
Instantly heralded for its "masterful" and "thrilling" portrayal (Boston Globe), Shirley Jackson reveals the tumultuous life and inner darkness of the literary genius behind such classics as "The Lottery" and The Haunting of Hill House. In this "remarkable act of reclamation" (Neil...
Prairie fires : the American dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder
Fraser, Caroline
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR The first comprehensive historical biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the beloved author of the...
The Hemingses of Monticello : an American family
Gordon-Reed, Annette.
This epic work tells the story of the Hemingses, a slave family whose close blood ties to American president Thomas Jefferson had been systematically edited out from American history until very recently. This book sets the family's compelling saga against the backdrop of Revolutionary America,...
A beautiful mind : the life of mathematical genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash
Nasar, Sylvia.
In a masterful blend of biography and science writing, Nasar traces John Forbes Nash, Jr.'s rise to the heights of intellectual achievement and his harrowing descent from eccentricity to insanity. Released as a major motion picture directed by Ron Howard and starring Russell Crowe and Ed Harris.
W.E.B. DuBois--biography of a race, 1868-1919
Lewis, David L.
A literate, meticulously researched biography of the complex scholar/activist DuBois, premier architect of the civil rights movement in the United States. Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
Alexander Hamilton
Chernow, Ron
The #1 New York Times bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton! Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the Founding Father who galvanized, inspired,...
Enrique's journey
Nazario, Sonia.
An astonishing story that puts a human face on the ongoing debate about immigration reform in the United States, now updated with a new Epilogue and Afterword, photos of Enrique and his family, an author interview, and more--the definitive edition of a classic of contemporary America ...
The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks
Skloot, Rebecca
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * "The story of modern medicine and bioethics--and, indeed, race relations--is refracted beautifully, and movingly."--Entertainment Weekly NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM HBO® STARRING OPRAH WINFREY AND ROSE BYRNE ...
The stranger in the woods : the extraordinary story of the last true hermit
Finkel, Michael
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality--not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own. "A meditation on solitude, wildness and survival."...
Book club [kit] : [for Unbroken : a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption]
Hillenbrand, Laura.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * The incredible true story of survival and salvation that is the basis for two major motion pictures: Unbroken and Unbroken: Path to Redemption. "Extraordinarily moving . . . a powerfully drawn survival epic."--The Wall Street...
Team of rivals : the political genius of Abraham Lincoln
Goodwin, Doris Kearns.
Winner of the Lincoln Prize Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Abraham Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become...
John Adams
McCullough, David G.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling biography of America's founding father and second president that was the basis for the acclaimed HBO series, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough. In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous...

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