Whose Biographies have You Read?

Currently, I’m reading a nice one called Eliot Ness: The Rise and Fall of an American Hero. It’s lightly written, and very enjoyable. I didn’t realize that Ness was more Cleveland’s hero than Chicago’s. Or that he had a squad called the Unknowns in Cleveland as opposed to the Untouchables in Chicago.

Other people whose biographies I’ve read include:

Davy Crockett
Chicago Mayor Big Bill Thompson
Vlad the Impaler
George Washington
More Abraham Lincoln ones than any other biography.
Ulysses S. Grant
James K. Polk
Al Capone
Dean O’Banion
Livia, wife of Augustus of Rome
Ignaz Semmelweis, the guy who noticed that washing hands was a good thing for doctors to do before delivering babies.

Aaaaand others that I can’t think of right now.

Whose biographies have you read? Feel free to name a specific book if it was a particularly good one.



Leonardo da Vinci

Peter the Great

Russian empresses Anna and Elizabeth

Catherine the Great

Thomas Edison

Wilbur and Orville Wright

Robert Goddard

Adolf Hitler

Hermann Goering

Dwight Eisenhower

Do ***I, Claudius ***and Claudius the God count as biography?

I suppose I could add Donald “Tony the Greek” Frankos, Mafia hit man and author of Contract Killer.

I know lots of other biographies from reading history. But I guess reading actual *dedicated *biographies is another matter.

Andrew Jackson
John Adams
George Washington (not quite done)
Florence Harding
Frances Perkins
Gen. George Thomas
Einstein (my grandfather and I are mentioned in it).
Benjamin Britten (my grandfather and father are mentioned in it; Britten was for a brief time in love with my father)
Churchill and Gandhi (a joint biography; the two men’s lives were intertwined in many ways).

I’ve read both and I didn’t count it. That’s more of a fictionalized history written by an author posing as an auto-biographer. Both excellent books though.

I am hopelessly addicted to celebrity biographies, autobiographies, and tell-alls. Hopelessly. Whether weighty tomes on the lives of Montgomery Cliff or Bette Davis, or ‘My Husband, Rock Hudson’ by arranged marriage dummy Phyllis Gates. Frank Sinatra’s butler wrote a book. Stewart Granger has a good one. Eddie Fisher, Tony Curtis, Peter Lawford - quite similar lifestyles of the rich and famous are revealed in these last three. Doris Day led quite a sad life, as so many others.

Well, they’re heavily based on the works of Suetonius, which I guess is the closest we’ll ever come to a contemporary history of Rome, though they were written long after the Julio-Claudians ruled and were somewhat biased.

Robert Ripley (“Believe it or Not!”)
Jim Henson

I seem to be an autobiography/memoir type:
Stephen Fry
David Mitchell
Tina Fey
Amy Poehler
Penny Marshall
Mindy Kaling

Robert Oppenheimer’s was one of my favourites.

As was Richard Feynman’s.


Joseph Stalin’s was interesting.

Caravaggio’s was quite good as well.

I’ve been meaning to start reading: Paul Dirac - The strangest man.

Dean Martin and Tony Curtis can be added to my list. Nick Tosches’ Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams is almost impossible to put down.

I also loved David Niven’s autobiography The Moon’s a Balloon.

Theodore Roosevelt (many, many)
Humphrey Bogart
Winston Churchill
Andrew Jackson

I’m really more of a history reader than a biography reader. Except for Teddy, the most interesting man ever to occupy the Oval Office.

Creator, Gene Roddenberry’s biography.

I have Volkogonov’s biography of Stalin, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X is fascinating.

Um, your father was all grown up, I hope?

Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince.

John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Both Roosevelt presidents
Eleanor Roosevelt
John Speke
Richard Francis Burton (explorer, not actor)
Mungo Park
Percy Fawcett (explorer)
Edmund Hillary
Roy Orbison
Cynthia Twist (John Lennon’s first wife, autobiography)
Storm Large (singer, autobiography)
King Leopold
William Dampier
Captain James Cook
Richard and John Lander (explorers)
Gordon Laing (explorer)
Solomon Northrup
George Custer
John Wesley Powell

This far down and no one has mentioned The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, one of the most enjoyable books ever?

I’m in the process of reading BLM’s memoir. No, not “Black Lives Matter” or “Bureau of Land Management”, but “Bernard Law Montgomery”. He’s pretty insufferable. I understand why so many Americans hated him during the war.

I read mostly historical biographies. I just finished one about Victoria’s childhood, beginning with the death of Princess Charlotte and the mad dash to produce another heir for the throne, and ending with Victoria’s marriage to Albert. There is apparently a sequel by the same author about the early years of the V&A marriage I want to get hold of.

At Chatsworth this spring, I picked up a nice, big biography of Arbella Stuart.

I have Antonia Fraser’s biographies of Mary Queen of Scots, the wives of Henry VIII, and Charles II. Also an older book about life of the Duchess of Hamilton.

As a space buff, virtually every astronaut biography/autobiography available.

Good lord, so many I couldn’t possibly remember them, let alone list them all here. Across genres, etc.

I was on a kick a few months ago spending my Holiday Amazon gift cards on various rock bios - here is a link to one review which links to a bunch of others: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=779995