In a series of intimate interviews, a veritable supernova of architectural significance selects his 20 favorite works and explains the thought process behind them and why he considers them so personally and professionally important. Beloved, passionate Frida Kahlo and her tragic, tumultuous life come to readers in her own unique voice and artwork, placing her laudable oeuvre in its proper context. Underground comics juggernaut Harvey Pekar of American Splendor fame shows fans the origins of his notoriously negative, but always provocative and insightful, outlook on life.
Only the Man in Black himself could perfectly translate his transcendent badassitude from real life onto the printed page. Culinary arts still qualify as arts! Anthony Bourdain's deliciously snarky, candid autobiography explains his passionate relationship with food as well as the realities of working in a fancy-pants restaurant.
Bruce Campbell wrote up a refreshing and fun glimpse into the Hollywood life from the perspective of a man perpetually in the throes of cult status — and, of course, absolutely loving every minute of it! This Pulitzer winner sees the acclaimed artist interviewing his father about his harrowing Holocaust experiences and eventual impact on his later family life. Most people know the story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, the teacher who believed in her despite her visual and hearing impairments, but they don't always know about her later career as a hard-hitting activist campaigning for equal rights.
Both Booker T. Washington's Up from Slavery and Frederick Douglass' The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass obviously deserve reading for insight into the experiences of slaves in America, but Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl exists as one of the only surviving autobiographies uniquely exploring the atrocities from a female perspective. Ireland's saddening history of crushing poverty pops into startling life in this story of a Depression-era family struggling beneath a father whose alcoholism renders his wife and children desperate and an overarching sociopolitical climate with few opportunities to escape.
Loung Ung lived a charmed life thanks to her father's political clout, but the rise of the despotic Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge dismantled and destroyed everything when she was only five.
Her family split, with the children forced into excruciating manual labor. Members of the Armed Forces didn't just fight against the Iraqis during the first Gulf War — they also struggled against intense psychological, mental, emotional, and physical pressure almost as damaging as enemy fire.
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Hungary's "Blood Countess" spawned a plethora of legends about her insatiable predilection for murder and possible vampirism sorry, Twilight fans, but vampires aren't real receives a more thorough investigation here, with primary documents either dispelling or confirming some of her more egregious crimes. During her family's stint hiding from Nazis in a cramped, Netherlands-based attic, year-old 15 at the time of capture Anne Frank kept a journal meant to bolster her spirits and attempt to make sense of a rapidly crumbling world.
Theological heavyweight St. Augustine of Hippo knew a thing or two about sinning, and his reflections on the past came to leave a huge impact on Catholicism. Which, in and of itself, has left a huge impact for better and for worse on world history. Witness the downfall of the Comanche peoples through the eyes of their courageous, dedicated chief who just couldn't stand up to the raw power of firearms.
During World War II, the Japanese armed forces imprisoned women from occupied territories and oppressed and raped them as prostitutes and sex slaves. At 15, Maria Rosa Henson found herself chained to such dehumanizing horrors, which she suppressed for nearly five decades before publishing. He fought for the government, brainwashed and trained to murder rebels with an AK if they dared to challenge the overarching authority.
One of the most acclaimed, popular autobiographies of all time follows the author's survival at Auschwitz and subsequent trauma of losing everyone and everything he held dear. Without the humble cod providing sustenance on long sea voyages, imperialism's reach never would have stretched as far as it did. Even non-humans leave enough of an impact on history to warrant biographies; they just don't make for the most engaging interview subjects.
5 famous inventor biographies
The headstrong, hyperintelligent daughter of Teddy Roosevelt never let the prevailing arbitrary expectations of women stand in the way of her enjoyment of everything life had to offer — and not shying away from offering her opinions, either! From a small Arkansas town to the streetcars of San Francisco, one of America's most beloved poets ruminates on the life that led her to such a stellar writing career. Scott Fitzgerald. Rather than penning a straight-up autobiography, celebrated modernist Gertrude Stein chose to reflect upon her life surrounded by the intellectual and creative elite through the lens of her secretary and lover Alice B.
Both an autobiography and a pretty handy-dandy guide to not writing terribly, the master of horror delivers a necessary read for English majors especially. Giorgio Vasari 's Lives of the Artists was the landmark biography focusing on secular lives. Vasari made celebrities of his subjects, as the Lives became an early "bestseller". Two other developments are noteworthy: the development of the printing press in the 15th century and the gradual increase in literacy. John Foxe 's Actes and Monuments , better known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs , was essentially the first dictionary of the biography in Europe, followed by Thomas Fuller 's The History of the Worthies of England , with a distinct focus on public life.
Influential in shaping popular conceptions of pirates, A General History of the Pyrates , by Charles Johnson, is the prime source for the biographies of many well-known pirates. A notable early collection of biographies of eminent men and women in the United Kingdom was Biographia Britannica edited by William Oldys.
The American biography followed the English model, incorporating Thomas Carlyle 's view that biography was a part of history.
Carlyle asserted that the lives of great human beings were essential to understanding society and its institutions. While the historical impulse would remain a strong element in early American biography, American writers carved out a distinct approach. What emerged was a rather didactic form of biography, which sought to shape the individual character of a reader in the process of defining national character.
The first modern biography, and a work which exerted considerable influence on the evolution of the genre, was James Boswell 's The Life of Samuel Johnson , a biography of lexicographer and man-of-letters Samuel Johnson published in Itself an important stage in the development of the modern genre of biography, it has been claimed to be the greatest biography written in the English language.
Boswell's work was unique in its level of research, which involved archival study, eye-witness accounts and interviews, its robust and attractive narrative, and its honest depiction of all aspects of Johnson's life and character - a formula which serves as the basis of biographical literature to this day.
50 Must-Read Best Biographies | Book Riot
Biographical writing generally stagnated during the 19th century - in many cases there was a reversal to the more familiar hagiographical method of eulogizing the dead, similar to the biographies of saints produced in Medieval times. A distinction between mass biography and literary biography began to form by the middle of the century, reflecting a breach between high culture and middle-class culture.
However, the number of biographies in print experienced a rapid growth, thanks to an expanding reading public. This revolution in publishing made books available to a larger audience of readers. In addition, affordable paperback editions of popular biographies were published for the first time. Periodicals began publishing a sequence of biographical sketches.
Autobiographies became more popular, as with the rise of education and cheap printing, modern concepts of fame and celebrity began to develop. Autobiographies were written by authors, such as Charles Dickens who incorporated autobiographical elements in his novels and Anthony Trollope , his Autobiography appeared posthumously, quickly becoming a bestseller in London  , philosophers, such as John Stuart Mill , churchmen — John Henry Newman — and entertainers — P.
Human behavior would be explained through Darwinian theories. The development of psychoanalysis led to a more penetrating and comprehensive understanding of the biographical subject, and induced biographers to give more emphasis to childhood and adolescence. Clearly these psychological ideas were changing the way biographies were written, as a culture of autobiography developed, in which the telling of one's own story became a form of therapy. British critic Lytton Strachey revolutionized the art of biographical writing with his work Eminent Victorians , consisting of biographies of four leading figures from the Victorian era : Cardinal Manning , Florence Nightingale , Thomas Arnold , and General Gordon.
His narrative demolished the myths that had built up around these cherished national heroes, whom he regarded as no better than a "set of mouth bungled hypocrites". The book achieved worldwide fame due to its irreverent and witty style, its concise and factually accurate nature, and its artistic prose. In the s and '30s, biographical writers sought to capitalize on Strachey's popularity by imitating his style. Robert Graves I, Claudius , stood out among those following Strachey's model of "debunking biographies.
This latter form's appeal to readers was based on curiosity more than morality or patriotism. By World War I , cheap hard-cover reprints had become popular.
The decades of the s witnessed a biographical "boom. The feminist scholar Carolyn Heilbrun observed that women's biographies and autobiographies began to change character during the second wave of feminist activism. She cited Nancy Milford's biography Zelda , as the "beginning of a new period of women's biography, because "[only] in were we ready to read not that Zelda had destroyed Fitzgerald , but Fitzgerald her: he had usurped her narrative.
In recent years, multimedia biography has become more popular than traditional literary forms. Along with documentary biographical films , Hollywood produced numerous commercial films based on the lives of famous people. CD-ROM and online biographies have also appeared. Unlike books and films, they often do not tell a chronological narrative: instead they are archives of many discrete media elements related to an individual person, including video clips, photographs, and text articles.
Biography-Portraits were created in , by the German artist Ralph Ueltzhoeffer. Media scholar Lev Manovich says that such archives exemplify the database form, allowing users to navigate the materials in many ways. In recent years, debates have arisen as to whether all biographies are fiction, especially when authors are writing about figures from the past. President of Wolfson College at Oxford University, Hermione Lee argues that all history is seen through a perspective that is the product of our contemporary society and as a result biographical truths are constantly shifting.
10 Super Inspiring Biographies Worth Reading Right Now
Mamie Eisenhower was first lady of the United States when her husband, Dwight Eisenhower, was president from to Kanye West is a Grammy Award-winning rapper and record producer and fashion designer. Outspoken and prone to controversy, he became additional celebrity fodder with his marriage to Kim Kardashian. Actress Felicity Huffman has starred on stage, film and television. Under his reign, France became a leading European power. His case became internationally famous by the podcast "Serial" in