Must-Read Biographies

Here are a list of some of Book Riot’s 50 biographies that are must-reads. For the complete list, visit http://www.bookriot.com.

All We Know – Lisa Cohen
Chronicles the lives of New York intellectual Esther Murphy, celebrity ephemera collector Mercedes de Acosta, and British Vogue editor Madge Garland and their lifestyles, influence on fashion, and celebrity friendships.

Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly
Before John Glenn orbited the earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation.

Notorious RBG – Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik
Inspired by the Tumblr that amused the Justice herself, Notorious RBG draws on intimate access to Ginsburg’s family members, close friends, colleagues, and clerks, as well an interview with the Justice herself.

Barracoon – Zora Neal Hurston
In 1927, Zora Neale Hurston went to Plateau, Alabama to interview eighty-six-year-old Cudjo Lewis. Of the millions of men, women, and children transported from Africa to America as slaves, Cudjo was then the only person alive to tell the story of this integral part of the nation’s history. Hurston was there to record Cudjo’s firsthand account of the raid that led to his capture and bondage fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States.

Cleopatra – Stacy Schiff
The Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer brings to life the most intriguing woman in the history of the world: Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt. Though her life spanned fewer than 40 years, it reshaped the contours of the ancient world.

Einstein – Walter Isaacson
The first full biography of Albert Einstein since all of his papers have become available shows how his scientific imagination sprang from the rebellious nature of his personality.

John Adams – David McCullough
Profiles John Adams, an influential patriot during the American Revolution who became the nation’s first vice president and second president.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
Doctors took her cells without asking. Those cells never died. They launched a medical revolution and a multi-million dollar industry. More than twenty years later, her children found out. Their lives would never be the same.

Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
In 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared–Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor.

Washington – Ron Chernow
Celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation, dashing forever the stereotype of a stolid, unemotional man, and revealing an astute and surprising portrait of a canny political genius who knew how to inspire people.

-Claire

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