***The Best Biographies of All Time***

Ratings are on a scale of 0 to 5 stars, with equal weight given to my subjective assessment of: (1) how entertaining the biography proved to be and (2) the biography’s historical value. Blue titles indicate Pulitzer Prize WINNERS.  Blue italicized titles indicate Pulitzer Prize finalists.

This list was last updated August 29, 2017.  If I’m missing a great biography that you’ve read, please let me know!

((For a list dedicated to presidential biographies (including *many* not listed here) please see this master list))

Adams, Henry Henry Adams and the Making of America by Gary Wills 2005
Adams, John John Adams: A Life by John Ferling 1992 REVIEW (4¾ stars)
John Adams by David McCullough 2001 REVIEW (4½ stars)
John Adams (1735-1826) (2 volumes) by Page Smith 1962 REVIEW (4½ stars)
Adams, John Quincy John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life by Paul Nagel 1997 REVIEW (4 stars)
John Quincy Adams: A Personal History of an Independent Man by Marie Hecht 1972 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
John Quincy Adams: American Visionary by Fred Kaplan 2014
Militant Spirit: John Quincy Adams by James Traub 2016 Third-party reviews
Adams, Sam Samuel Adams: A Life by Ira Stoll 2008
Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution by Mark Puls 2006
Antoinette, Marie Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser 2001 Third-party reviews
Armstrong, Louis Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout 2009
Arnold, Benedict Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor by Willard Sterne Randall 1990
Arthur, Chester Gentleman Boss: The Life of Chester Alan Arthur by Thomas Reeves 1975 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Augustine Augustine of Hippo: A Biography by Peter Brown 1967
Augustus Augustus: First Emperor of Rome by Adrian Goldsworthy 2014
Bach Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven by John Gardiner 2013 Third-party reviews
Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician by Christoph Wolff 2000
Beecher, Henry Ward The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher by Debby Applegate 2006
Beethoven Beethoven: The Music and the Life by Lewis Lockwood 2002
Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph by Jan Swafford 2014
Bell, Alexander Graham Reluctant Genius: Alexander Graham Bell and the Passion for Invention by Charlotte Gray 2006
Boone, Daniel Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer by John Faragher 1992
Brandeis, Louis Louis D. Brandeis: A Life by Melvin Urofsky 2009
Brown, John Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War by Tony Horwitz 2011
Brunelleschi Brunelleschi’s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King 2000
Bryan, Wm Jennings A Godly Hero: The Life of William Jennings Bryan by Michael Kazin 2006
Buchanan, James President James Buchanan: A Biography by Philip Klein 1962 REVIEW (4 stars)
Buffett, Warren The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder 2008
Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein 1995
Burr, Aaron Burr: A Novel by Gore Vidal 1973
Bush, George H.W. Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham 2015 Third-party reviews
Bush, George W Bush by Jean Edward Smith 2016 New Release Alert
Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House by Peter Baker 2013
Caesar, Julius Caesar: Life of a Collosus by Adrian Goldsworthy 2006
Calhoun, John John C. Calhoun: A Biography by Irving Bartlett 1994
John C. Calhoun: American Portrait by Margaret Coit 1950
Carnegie, Andrew Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw 2006
Carter, Jimmy The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter’s Quest for Global Peace by Douglas Brinkley 1998
Jimmy Carter: A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Post-Presidency by Peter Bourne 1997
Carver, George Washington George Washington Carver: A Life by Christina Vella 2015
Catherine the Great Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert Massie 2011
Chaplin, Charlie Chaplin: His Life and Art by David Robinson 1985
Churchill, Winston Churchill by Roy Jenkins 2001
Churchill: A Life by Martin Gilbert 1991
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory 1874-1932 (Vol 1) by William Manchester 1983
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone 1932-1940 (Vol 2) by William Manchester 1988
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm 1940-1965 (Vol 3) by William Manchester and Paul Reid 2011
Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by Jon Meacham 2003
Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill by Candice Millard 2016
Clay, Henry Henry Clay: The Essential American by David Heidler 2010
Henry Clay: A Statesman for the Union by Robert Remini 1991
Cleveland, Grover Grover Cleveland: A Study in Character by Alyn Brodsky 2000 REVIEW (4 stars)
Clinton, Bill First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton by David Maraniss 1995
The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the White House by John Harris 2005
Cobb, Ty Cobb: A Biography by Al Stump 1994
Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen 2015 Third-party reviews
Columbus, Christopher Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus by Samuel Eliot Morison 1942
Cook, James Captain James Cook: A Biography by Richard Hough 1994
The Life of Captain James Cook by J.C. Beaglehole 1992
Coolidge, Calvin Coolidge: An American Enigma by Robert Sobel 1998 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Calvin Coolidge: The Quiet President by Donald McCoy 1967 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Copernicus The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus by Owen Gingerich 2004
Cortes, Hernan Hernan Cortes: Conqueror of Mexico by Salvador de Madariaga 1942
Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs by Buddy Levy 2008
Crazy Horse The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History by Joseph M. Marshall III 2004
Crazy Horse: A Lakota Life by Kinglsey Bray 2006
Crockett, David David Crockett: The Lion of the West by Michael Wallis 2011
Curie, Madame Madame Curie: A Biography by Eve Curie 1936
Custer, George Crazy Horse and Custer: The Parallel Lives of Two American Warriors by Stephen Ambrose 1975
Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America by T. J. Stiles 2015
da Gama, Vasco The Last Crusade: The Epic Voyages of Vasco da Gama by Nigel Cliff 2011
da Vinci, Leonardo Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King 2012
Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind by Charles Nicholl 2004
Darwin, Charles Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist by Adrian Desmond 1991
Charles Darwin: A Biography, Voyaging (Vol 1) by Janet Browne 1995
Charles Darwin: A Biography, The Power of Place (Vol 2) by Janet Browne 2002
Davis, Jefferson Jefferson Davis, American by William Cooper 2000
Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour by William Davis 1991
Jefferson Davis: American Patriot 1808-1861 (Vol 1) by Hudson Strode 1955
Jefferson Davis: Confederate President (Vol 2) by Hudson Strode 1959
Jefferson Davis: Tragic Hero (Vol 3) by Hudson Strode 1964
De Gaulle, Charles The General: Charles De Gaulle and the France He Saved by Jonathan Fenby 2012
de Soto, Hernando Hernando de Soto: A Savage Question in the Americas by David Duncan 1996
Dickens, Charles Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin 2011
Charles Dickens by Michael Slater 2007
Charles Dickens: His Tragedy and Triumph by Edgar Johnson 1952
Disney, Walt The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney by Michael Barrier 2007
Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination by Neal Gabler 2006
Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas 1976
Douglass, Frederick Frederick Douglass by William McFeely 1990
Drake, Francis Sir Francis Drake by John Sugden 1991
Dumas, Alex The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss 2012
Earp, Wyatt Wyatt Earp: The Life Behind the Legend by Casey Tefertiller 1997
Edison, Thomas Edison: A Biography by Matthew Josephson 1959
Einstein, Albert Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson 2007 Third-party reviews
Eisenhower, Dwight Eisenhower In War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith 2012 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
Eisenhower: A Solider’s Life by Carlo D’Este 2002 REVIEW (4 stars)
Elizabeth I, Queen The Life of Elizabeth I by Alison Weir 1996
Emerson, Ralph Emerson: The Mind on Fire by Robert Richardson 1995
Euler Leonhard Euler: Mathematical Genius in the Enlightenment by Ronald Calinger 2015
Faraday, Michael The Electric Life of Michael Faraday by Alan Hirshfeld 2006
Feynman, Richard Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick 1992
Fillmore, Millard Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President by Robert Rayback 1959 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Ford, Gerald Gerald Ford: An Honorable Life by James Cannon 2013
Ford, Henry The People’s Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century by Steven Watts 2005
Franklin, Benjamin Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson 2003 Third-party reviews
Benjamin Franklin by Carl Van Doren 1938
The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by HW Brands 2000
The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin by Gordon Wood 2004
Galileo Galileo by John Heilbron 2010
Gandhi Gandhi Before India (Vol 1) by Ramachandra Guha 2013
Garfield, James Garfield: A Biography by Allan Peskin 1978 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard 2011 REVIEW (4 stars)
Gehrig, Lou Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig by Jonathan Eig 2005
Genet, Jean Genet: A Biography by Edmund White 1993
Geronimo Geronimo by Robert Utley 2012
Goebbels, Joseph Goebbels: A Biography by Peter Longerich 2010
Goldwyn, Samuel Goldwyn: A Biography by A. Scott Berg 1989
Gould, Jay The Life and Legend of Jay Gould by Maury Klein 1986
Grant, Ulysses Grant by Jean Edward Smith 2001 REVIEW (4½ stars)
The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses S. Grant In War and Peace by H.W. Brands 2012 REVIEW (4 stars)
Grant: A Biography by William McFeely 1981 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Captain Sam Grant (Vol 1) by Lloyd Lewis 1950
Grant Moves South (Vol 2) by Bruce Catton 1960
Grant Takes Command (Vol 3) by Bruce Catton 1969
American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant by Ronald White 2016
Greenspan, Alan The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan by Sebastian Mallaby 2016
Halsey, William Bull Halsey by E.B. Potter 1985
Hamilton, Alexander Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow 2004
Alexander Hamilton: A Life by Willard Sterne Randall 2003
Harrison, Benjamin Benjamin Harrison: Hoosier Warrior (Vol 1) by Harry J. Sievers 1952 REVIEW (4 stars)
Benjamin Harrison: Hoosier Statesman (Vol 2) by Harry J. Sievers 1959 REVIEW (4 stars)
Benjamin Harrison: Hoosier President (Vol 3) by Harry J. Sievers 1968 REVIEW (3¼ stars)
Hawking, Stephen Stephen Hawking: A Biography by Kristine Larsen 2005
Hay, John All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay by John Taliaferro 2013
Hayes, Rutherford Rutherford B. Hayes: Warrior and President by Ari Hoogenboom 1995 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Hearst, William Randolph The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst by David Nasaw 2000
Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway by Kenneth S. Lynn 1987
Henry VIII The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir 1992
The King and His Court by Alison Weir 2001
Henry, Patrick Lion of Liberty: Patrick Henry and the Call to a New Nation by Harlow Unger 2010
Hershey, Milton Hershey: Milton S. Hershey’s Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire, and Utopian Dreams by Michael D’Antonio 2006
Hitler, Adolf Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography by John Toland 1976
Hitler by Joachim Fest 1974
Hitler: A Biography (abridgement) by Ian Kershaw 2008
Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris (Vol 1) by Ian Kershaw 1998
Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis (Vol 2) by Ian Kershaw 2000
Hitler: A Study in Tyranny by Alan Bullock 1962
Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939 (Vol 1) by Volker Ullrich 2016
Hoover, Herbert Herbert Hoover: A Biography by Eugene Lyons 1947 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Hoover, J Edgar J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets by Curt Gentry 1991
Hopkins, Harry Harry Hopkins: A Biography by Henry Hitch Adams 2012
The Hopkins Touch: Harry Hopkins and the Forging of the Alliance to Defeat Hitler by David Roll 2012
House, Colonel Colonel House: A Biography of Woodrow Wilson’s Silent Partner by Charles Neu 2014
Houston, Sam The Raven: A Biography of Sam Houston by Marquis James 1929
Sam Houston by James Haley 2002
Howe, Louis FDR’s Shadow: Louis Howe, the Force That Shaped Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt by Julie Fenster 2009
Hughes, Howard Howard Hughes: The Untold Story by Peter Harry Brown 1996
Isabella, Queen Isabella: The Warrior Queen by Kirstin Downey 2014
Jackson, Andrew The Life of Andrew Jackson by Marquis James 1934 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Andrew Jackson (3 volume series) by Robert Remini 1977-84 REVIEWS
American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham 2008 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Jackson, Stonewall Stonewall Jackson by James Robertson 1997
Rebel Yell : The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S.C. Gwynne 2014
James, Jesse Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War by T. J. Stiles 2002
Jay, John John Jay: Founding Father by Walter Stahr 2005
Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson and His Time (6 volume series) by Dumas Malone 1948-77  REVIEWS
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham 2012 REVIEW (4½ stars)
Jobs, Steve Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson 2011 Third-party reviews
Johnson, Andrew Impeached: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy by David Stewart 2009 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
Johnson, Lyndon The Years of Lyndon Johnson (5 volume series) by Robert Caro 1982-
Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times 1908-1960 (Vol 1) by Robert Dallek 1991
Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times 1961-1973 (Vol 2) by Robert Dallek 1998
Jordan, Michael Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby 2014
Keller, Helen Helen Keller: A Life by Dorothy Hermann 1998
Kennedy, Jacqueline America’s Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis by Sarah Bradford 2000
Kennedy, John An Unfinished Life: JFK 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek 2003 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys by Doris Kearns Goodwin 1987 REVIEW (4½ stars)
A Thousand Days: JFK in the White House by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. 1965 REVIEW (3 stars)
Kennedy, Joseph P The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy by David Nasaw 2012
Kennedy, Robert Robert Kennedy and His Times by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. 1978
Robert Kennedy: His Life by Evan Thomas 2000
Robert Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon by Larry Tye 2016
Kennedy, Ted Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy by Peter Canellos 2009
Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography by Adam Clymer 1999
Khrushchev Khrushchev: The Man and His Era by William Taubman 2003
Kidd, Captain The Pirate Hunter: The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks 2002
King Jr., Martin Luther Let the Trumpet Sound: A Life of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Stephen Oates 1982
America in the King Years (3 volume series) by Taylor Branch 1988-
2006
King: A Biography by David Levering Lewis 1970
Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference by David Garrow 1986
Kissinger, Henry Kissinger: A Biography by Walter Isaacson 1992
Kissinger: The Idealist, 1923-1968 (Volume One) by Niall Ferguson 2015
Lafayette The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered by Laura Auricchio 2014
Lafayette by Harlow Unger 2002
Lee, Robert E The Man Who Would Not Be Washington: Robert E. Lee’s Civil War by Jonathan Horn 2015
Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E Lee by Michael Korda 2014
Lee (abridgement of Douglas Southall Freeman’s 4-volume series) by Richard Harwell 1997
Lewis, Meriwether Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen Ambrose 1997
The Character of Meriwether Lewis: Explorer in the Wilderness by Clay Jenkinson 2011
Lincoln, Abraham Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin 2005 REVIEW (4½ stars)
Lincoln by David Herbert Donald 1995 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White Jr. 2009 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
Abraham Lincoln: A Life (2 vols) by Michael Burlingame 2008 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
Abraham Lincoln: A Biography by Benjamin Thomas 1952 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
Lincoln, Robert Todd Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln by Jason Emerson 2012
Lindbergh, Charles Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg 1998
Lippmann, Walter Walter Lippmann and the American Century by Ronald Steel 1980
Long, Huey Huey Long by T. Harry Williams 1969
Longstreet, James General James Longstreet: The Confederacy’s Most Controversial Soldier by Jeffry Wert 1993
Luther, Martin Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland Bainton 1950
MacArthur, Douglas American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964 by William Manchester 1978
The Years of MacArthur (3-volume series) by D. Clayton James 1970-85
Douglas MacArthur: American Warrior by Arthur Herman 2016
Madison, James James Madison by Richard Brookhiser 2011 REVIEW (4 stars)
James Madison: A Biography by Ralph Ketcham 1971 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Magellan, Ferdinand Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe by Laurence Bergreen 2004
Malcolm X Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable 2011
Mantle, Mickey The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood by Jane Leavy 2010
Marshall, George General of the Army: George C. Marshall, Soldier and Statesman by Ed Cray 1990
George C. Marshall (4-volume series) by Forrest Pogue 1963-87
Marshall, John John Marshall: Definer of a Nation by Jean Edward Smith 1996
Marshall, Thurgood Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary by Juan Williams 1998
Maxwell, James The Man Who Changed Everything: The Life of James Clerk Maxwell by Basil Mahon 2003
McCarthy, Joseph A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy by David Oshinsky 1983
McKinley, William William McKinley and His America by H. Wayne Morgan 1963 REVIEW (4 stars)
Mellon, Andrew Mellon: An American Life by David Cannadine 2006
Melville, Herman Melville: A Biography by Laurie Robertson-Lorant 1996
Michelangelo Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King 2003
Michelangelo: A Life in Six Masterpieces by Miles J. Unger 2014
The Agony and the Ecstacy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo by Irving Stone 1958
Mondavi, Robert The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty by Julia Siler 2007
Monroe, James James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity by Harry Ammon 1971 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
The Last Founding Father: James Monroe by Harlow Unger 2009 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Montgomery, Bernard Monty: The Battles of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery (Vol 1) by Nigel Hamilton 1994
Master of the Battlefield: Monty’s War Years 1942-1944 (Vol 2) by Nigel Hamilton 1984
Monty: The Field-Marshal 1944-1976 (Vol 3) by Nigel Hamilton 1986
Morgan, JP Morgan: American Financier by Jean Strouse 1999
The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance by Ron Chernow 1990
Morris, Robert Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution by Charles Rappleye 2010
Moses, Robert The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert Caro 1974 Third-party reviews
Mozart Mozart: A Life by Maynard Solomon 1995
Napoleon Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts 2014
Napoleon by Vincent Cronin 1971
Napoleon: Soldier of Destiny (Vol 1) by Michael Broers 2014
Nash, John F. A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr. by Sylvia Nasar 1998
Newton, Isaac Isaac Newton by James Gleick 2003
Nicolay, John Lincoln’s Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln’s Image by Joshua Zeitz 2013
Nimitz, Chester Nimitz by E.B. Potter 1976
The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy, and King – The Five Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea by Walter Borneman 2012
Nixon, Richard Richard Nixon: A Life in Full by Conrad Black 2007
Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of An American Politician by Roger Morris 1990
Nixon: The Education of a Politician 1913-1962 (Vol 1) by Stephen Ambrose 1987
Nixon: The Triumph of a Politician 1962-1972 (Vol 2) by Stephen Ambrose 1989
Nixon: Ruin & Recovery 1973-1990 (Vol 3) by Stephen Ambrose 1991
Richard Nixon: The Life by John Farrell 2017
Being Nixon: A Man Divided by Evan Thomas 2015 Third-party reviews
O’Neill, Tip Tip O’Neill and the Democratic Century: A Biography by John Farrell 2001
Obama, Barack Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss 2012
Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama by David Garrow 2017
Oppenheimer, Robert American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird 2005
Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center by Ray Monk 2012
Paine, Thomas Tom Paine: A Political Life by John Keane 1995
Parks, Rosa The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis 2013
Patton Patton: A Genius for War by Carlo D’Este 1995
Patton: The Man Behind the Legend, 1885-1945 by Martin Blumenson 1985
Perkins, Frances The Woman Behind the New Deal: The Life and Legacy of Frances Perkins by Kirstin Downey 2010
Pershing, John Black Jack: The Life and Times of John J. Pershing (2 vols) by Frank Vandiver 1977
Guerilla Warrior: The Early Life of John J. Pershing (Vol 1) by Donald Smythe 1973
Pershing: General of the Armies (Vol 2) by Donald Smythe 1986
Peter the Great Peter the Great: His Life and World by Robert Massie 1980
Pierce, Franklin Franklin Pierce: New Hampshire’s Favorite Son (Vol 1) by Peter Wallner 2004 REVIEW (4 stars)
Franklin Pierce: Martyr for the Union (Vol 2) by Peter Wallner 2007 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Polk, James Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America by Walter Borneman 2008 REVIEW (4 stars)
Pope John Paul II Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel 1999
Presley, Elvis Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley (Vol 1) by Peter Guralnick 1994
Carleless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley (Vol 2) by Peter Guralnick 1999
Putin, Vladimir The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin by Steven Lee Myers 2015
Raleigh, Sir Walter Sir Walter Raleigh: The Controversial Hero of the Elizabethian Age by Raleigh Trevelyan 2002
Reagan, Ronald Reagan: The Life by H.W. Brands 2015 Third-party reviews
The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order: 1964-1980 (Vol 1) by Steven Hayward 2001
The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980-1989 (Vol 2) by Steven Hayward 2009
Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power (Vol 1) by Lou Cannon 2003
President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (Vol 2) by Lou Cannon 1991
Robinson, Jackie Jackie Robinson: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad 1997
Rockefeller, John D. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow 1998
Rockefeller, Nelson On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith 2014
Rogers, Will Will Rogers: A Biography by Ben Yagoda 1993
Rommel, Erwin Field Marshal: The Life and Death of Erwin Rommel by Daniel Allen Butler 2015
Roosevelt, Alice Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker by Stacy Cordery 2007
Roosevelt, Eleanor Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol 1: 1884-1933 by Blanche Wiesen Cook 1992
Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol 2: The Defining Years, 1933-1938 by Blanche Wiesen Cook 1999
Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol 3: The War Years and After, 1939-1962 by Blanche Wiesen Cook 2016
Roosevelt, Franklin FDR by Jean Edward Smith 2007 REVIEW (4½ stars)
Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of FDR by H. W. Brands 2008 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt by Doris Kearns Goodwin 1994 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
Before the Trumpet: Young Franklin Roosevelt 1882-1905 (Vol 1) by Geoffrey Ward 1985 REVIEW (4 stars)
A First Class Temperament: The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt 1905-1928 (Vol 2) by Geoffrey Ward 1989 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
Roosevelt, Theodore The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Vol I) by Edmund Morris 1980 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
Theodore Rex (Vol II) by Edmund Morris 2001 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
Colonel Roosevelt (Vol III) by Edmund Morris 2010 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin 2013 REVIEW (4 stars)
Power and Responsibility: The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt by William Harbaugh 1961 REVIEW (4 stars)
The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard 2005 REVIEW (4½ stars)
Rose, Pete Pete Rose: An American Dilemma by Kostya Kennedy 2014
Ruth, Babe The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth by Leigh Montville 2006
Salk, Jonas Jonas Salk: A Life by Charlotte DeCroes Jacobs 2015
Seward, William Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man by Walter Stahr 2012
Shakespeare Shakespeare: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd 2005
Sherman, William Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman by Robert O’Connell 2014
William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country: A Life by James McDonough 2016
Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order by John Marszalek 1992
Sherman: Soldier, Realist, American by B.H. Liddell Hart 1929
Sinatra, Frank Frank Sinatra: The Chairman by James Kaplan 2015
Stalin, Josef Stalin: A Political Biography by Isaac Deutscher 1949
Young Stalin by Simon Montefiore 2007
Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar by Simon Montefiore 2004
Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 (Vol 1) by Stephen Kotkin 2014
Stanton, Edwin Stanton: Lincon’s War Secretary by Walter Stahr 2017
Steinbeck, John John Steinbeck, Writer: A Biography by Jackson Benson 1990
Taft, William The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin 2013 REVIEW (4 stars)
The Life and Times of William Howard Taft (2 vols) by Henry Pringle 1939 REVIEW (3¼ stars)
Tecumseh Tecumseh: A Life by John Sugden 1997
Thatcher, Margaret Margaret Thatcher, The Grocer’s Daughter (Vol 1) by John Campbell 2000
Margaret Thatcher, Iron Lady (Vol 2) by John Campbell 2003
Margaret Thatcher: From Grantham to the Faulklands: The Authorized Biography (Vol 1) by Charles Moore 2013
Margaret Thatcher: Everything She Wants: The Authorized Biography (Vol 2) by Charles Moore 2015
Thoreau Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind by Robert Richardson 1986
Tolstoy Tolstoy by Henri Troyat 1965
Truman, Harry Truman by David McCullough 1992
Twain, Mark Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain by Justin Kaplan 1966
Mark Twain: A Life by Ron Powers 2005
Vanderbilt, Cornelius The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T. J. Stiles 2009
Warburg (family) The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family by Ron Chernow 1993
Warren, Earl Justice For All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made by Jim Newton 2006
Washington, Booker T Up From History: The Life of Booker T. Washington by Robert Norrell 2009
Washington, George Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow 2010 REVIEW (5 stars)
George Washington: The Forge of Experience 1732-1775 (Vol 1) by James Flexner 1965 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
George Washington in the American Revolution 1775-1783 (Vol 2) by James Flexner 1967 REVIEW (4½ stars)
George Washington and the New Nation 1783-1793 (Vol 3) by James Flexner 1970 REVIEW (4½ stars)
George Washington: Anguish and Farewell 1793-1799 (Vol 4) by James Flexner 1972 REVIEW (4½ stars)
His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis 2005 REVIEW (4 stars)
Washington [Harwell’s abridgment of 7-vol series] by Douglas Southall Freeman 1957
Wayne, John John Wayne: American by Randy Roberts 1995
John Wayne: The Life and Legend by Scott Eyman 2014
Webster, Daniel Daniel Webster: The Man and His Time by Robert Remini 1997
The Great Triumvirate: Webster, Clay, and Calhoun by Merrill Peterson 1987
Wilde, Oscar Oscar Wilde by Richard Ellmann 1987
Williams, Ted Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero by Leigh Montville 2004
The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams by Ben Bradlee Jr. 2013
Wilson, Woodrow Wilson by A. Scott Berg 2013 REVIEW (4 stars)
Woodrow Wilson: A Biography by August Heckscher 1991 REVIEW (4¼ stars)
Woodrow Wilson: A Biography by John Milton Cooper 2009 REVIEW (3¾ stars)
Woolf, Virginia Virginia Woolf: A Biography by Quentin Bell 1971
Wright (brothers) The Wright Brothers by David McCullough 2015 Third-party reviews
Wright, Frank Lloyd Frank Lloyd Wright: A Biography by Meryle Secrest 1992
Xioping, Deng Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China by Ezra Vogel 2011

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2 thoughts on “***The Best Biographies of All Time***”

  1. Steve – Another great site! Thank you.

    • Thanks; I have to give credit to my kids who were looking for a way to learn how to start/manage a website. I (try to) come up with the content and they put it into motion. Now, if only I could get them to each read a biography per week…..!

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