Biography everyone should read | The Bookish Elf

7 Biography Everyone Should Read


A Moveable Feast

Author: Ernest Hemingway

It’s an auto biography or memoir by American author Ernest Hemingway. The book is about his years as a young, struggling, non-native journalist and writer in Paris in the 1920s. A Moveable Feast was first published in 1964, three years after Hemingway died; and it narrates Hemingway’s apprenticeship as a young writer and his marriage with his first wife, Hadley Richardson.

Hemingway provides specific addresses of apartments, bars, cafe, and hotels; and many of these can still be found in Paris today. Along with Hemingway, other notable persons also featured in the book like Sylvia Beach, Hilaire Belloc, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas and many more.


Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times

Author: Thomas Hauser

Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times is an award-winning biography of the boxer Muhammad Ali. In the ring Ali was indisputably The Greatest and so does his biography. His combination of speed and grace was unprecedented to the world of boxing.

The powerful account of the Thrilla In Manila; that you can almost hear the punches and can see Joe Frazier’s gumshield flying out of the ring.


Jackson Pollock: An American Saga

Author: Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith

It’s a biography of an expressionist painter Jackson Pollock. The book was considered ‘well-researched‘ by the Publishers Weekly and Library Journal and won Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1991. The authors have done remarkable study of the troubled life and ideologies of Jackson Pollock.

The complex relationship between Pollock and art critic Clement Greenberg.


The Moon’s A Balloon

Author: David Niven

It’s a best-selling autobiography of British actor David Niven published in 1971. The book is a funny yet tragic account of actor’s early life. It narrates everything from the loss of his father to his natural knowledge of leading a good life. Niven wrote its sequel Bring on the Empty Horses in 1975.

The tales of Soho girl named Nessie, and Niven’s hell-raising days with Errol Flynn.


Darwin: The Life Of A Tortured Evolutionist

Author: Adrian Desmond and James Moore

It’s an account of controversial life of Darwin whose theories of evolution and natural selection went from belief to accepted wisdom in one generation. The book portrays Victorian society, Darwin’s research journey and discoveries that almost killed him through overwork.

Darwin’s gambling and gluttony at Cambridge. And how he used his work to fight against slavery.


Churchill: A Life

Author: Martin Gilbert

Sir Winston Churchill was one of the greatest Britons. He was Army officer, Nobel Prize winning writer, artist and the Prime Minister. As an official biographer and Oxford history scholar, Martin Gilbert wrote an eight book long epic; then boiled it down to this single volume version.

How Churchill handled literal enemies in wartime, powered by only Whisky, Cigars and absolute force of personality; and the way how he drove-off the depression.


Somebody: The Reckless Life And Remarkable Career Of Marlon Brando

Author: Stefan Kanfer

Marlon Brando’s life was series of ups and downs. Brando inspired a generation of actors during his golden period. He went in the wilderness due to bad role selection, weight gain and his refusal to learn new lines. He made amazing comeback with The Godfather and Last Tango In Paris in 1972. Then again continued his eccentric decay in career.

The depiction of young Brando with Russell, a pet raccoon, roaming nocturnal in New York.

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