Best Selling Books in Biographies & Memoirs - Reference & Collections

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release date: Jun 01, 2004
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Benjamin Franklin: An American Life
In this authoritative and engrossing full-scale biography, Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of Einstein and Steve Jobs, shows how the most fascinating of America's founders helped define our national character.

Benjamin Franklin is the founding father who winks at us, the one who seems made of flesh rather than marble. In a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin’s life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Walter Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the runaway apprentice who became, over the course of his eighty-four-year life, America’s best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders. He explores the wit behind Poor Richard’s Almanac and the wisdom behind the Declaration of Independence, the new nation’s alliance with France, the treaty that ended the Revolution, and the compromises that created a near-perfect Constitution.

In this colorful and intimate narrative, Isaacson provides the full sweep of Franklin’s amazing life, showing how he helped to forge the American national identity and why he has a particular resonance in the twenty-first century.
release date: Apr 18, 2017
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My Adventures with God
From legendary character actor Stephen Tobolowsky—who currently appears on The Goldbergs, HBO’s Silicon Valley, and Norman Lear’s new One Day at a Time, author of The Dangerous Animals Club and The Tobolowsky Files podcast—My Adventures with God is a funny, introspective collection about love, catastrophe, and triumph, all told through the lens of his evolving relationship with the mystery that is “God.”

As Tobolowsky explains, “It’s hard to believe in nothing. Even cats believe in suppertime. As much as we love certainty, we are often shaped by the invisible, the unexplainable—something we call faith. We are inclined to acknowledge the holy. Even if it is only a paper heart we find in an old suitcase.”

My Adventures with God is a series of short stories exploring the idea that most people’s lives seem to fit into the template of the Old Testament. We all have powerful creation myths: tales of our childhood and family, our first battles won and lost. It is our Genesis. Then, like in the Book of Exodus, we go into slavery. Rather than building pyramids, we lose ourselves in fear and ambition—in first loves, first jobs, too many dreams mixed with too much beer. We eventually become free, only to wander in the wilderness. At some point we stop and proclaim to the universe who we are. This is our Leviticus moment. We reconcile what we thought we would be with what we have become. We often attempt a mid-course correction. Then, as in the Book of Numbers, we are shaped by mortality as we bear the loss of family and friends. Finally, we retell our stories to our children hoping to make sense of the journey, as Moses did in Deuteronomy.

Tobolowsky’s stories tell of a boy growing up in the wilds of Texas, finding and losing love, losing and finding himself—all told through the prism of the Torah and Talmud, mixed with insights from science, and refined through a child’s sense of wonder. My Adventures with God not only shines a light into the life of one of America’s most beloved actors, but also provides a structure to evaluate our own lives and relationship with God.
release date: Nov 01, 1992
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Brave Companions: Portraits In History
From Alexander von Humboldt to Charles and Anne Lindbergh, these are stories of people of great vision and daring whose achievements continue to inspire us today, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough.

The bestselling author of Truman and John Adams, David McCullough has written profiles of exceptional men and women past and present who have not only shaped the course of history or changed how we see the world but whose stories express much that is timeless about the human condition.

Here are Alexander von Humboldt, whose epic explorations of South America surpassed the Lewis and Clark expedition; Harriet Beecher Stowe, “the little woman who made the big war”; Frederic Remington; the extraordinary Louis Agassiz of Harvard; Charles and Anne Lindbergh, and their fellow long-distance pilots Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Beryl Markham; Harry Caudill, the Kentucky lawyer who awakened the nation to the tragedy of Appalachia; and David Plowden, a present-day photographer of vanishing America.

Different as they are from each other, McCullough’s subjects have in common a rare vitality and sense of purpose. These are brave companions: to each other, to David McCullough, and to the reader, for with rare storytelling ability McCullough brings us into the times they knew and their very uncommon lives.
release date: Oct 06, 2006
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Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources
A revised edition of the internationally acclaimed biography of the prophet

• Includes important additions about the prophet’s spread of Islam into Syria and its neighboring states

• Contains original English translations from 8th and 9th century biographies, presented in authoritative language

• Represents the final updates made on the text before the author’s death in 2005

Martin Lings’ biography of Muhammad is an internationally acclaimed, comprehensive, and authoritative account of the life of the prophet. Based on the sira, the eighth- and ninth-century Arabic biographies that recount numerous events in the prophet’s life, it contains original English translations of many important passages that reveal the words of men and women who heard Muhammad speak and witnessed the events of his life.

Scrupulous and exhaustive in its fidelity to its sources, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources is presented in a narrative style that is easily comprehensible, yet authentic and inspiring in its use of language, reflecting both the simplicity and grandeur of the story it tells. This revised edition includes new sections detailing the prophet’s expanding influence and his spreading of the message of Islam into Syria and its neighboring states. It represents the final updates made to the text before the author’s death in 2005. The book has been published in 12 languages and has received numerous awards, including acknowledgment as best biography of the prophet in English at the National Seerate Conference in Islamabad.
release date: Jan 09, 2007
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The Book of Myself A Do-It-Yourself Autobiography In 201 Questions
A keepsake fill-in book contains more than two hundred prompts divided into three life phases--Early, Middle, and Later Years--and separates each phase into five subject categories--Family, Friends, Education, Work/Responsibilities, and The World.
release date: Oct 18, 2016
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The New York Times Book of the Dead: 320 Print and 10,000 Digital Obituaries of Extraordinary People
The obituary page of The New York Times is a celebration of extraordinary lives. This groundbreaking package includes 300 obits in the book with exclusive online access to 10,000 more of the most important and fascinating obituaries the Times has ever published.
The Times' obituary editor, William McDonald, selected 320 of the most important and influential obits from the newspaper's archives. In chapters like "Stage and Screen," "Titans of Business," "The Notorious," "Scientists and Healers," "Athletes," and "American Leaders," the entries include a wide variety of newsmakers from the last century and a half, including Annie Oakley, Theodore Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, Marilyn Monroe, Coco Chanel, Malcolm X, Jackie
Robinson and Prince.
Also included is a web-key which allows instant access to an exclusive website featuring 10,000 selected obituaries which are easily searchable by name, theme, dates, and more.
Designed with more than 150 black-and-white photographs, this tomb-sized book plus website package is the perfect gift.
release date: Jan 16, 2007
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A Man Without a Country
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“[This] may be as close as Vonnegut ever comes to a memoir.”
Los Angeles Times

“Like [that of] his literary ancestor Mark Twain, [Kurt Vonnegut’s] crankiness is good-humored and sharp-witted. . . . [Reading A Man Without a Country is] like sitting down on the couch for a long chat with an old friend.”
–The New York Times Book Review

In a volume that is penetrating, introspective, incisive, and laugh-out-loud funny, one of the great men of letters of this age–or any age–holds forth on life, art, sex, politics, and the state of America’s soul. From his coming of age in America, to his formative war experiences, to his life as an artist, this is Vonnegut doing what he does best: Being himself. Whimsically illustrated by the author, A Man Without a Country is intimate, tender, and brimming with the scope of Kurt Vonnegut’s passions.

“For all those who have lived with Vonnegut in their imaginations . . . this is what he is like in person.”
USA Today

“Filled with [Vonnegut’s] usual contradictory mix of joy and sorrow, hope and despair, humor and gravity.”
Chicago Tribune

“Fans will linger on every word . . . as once again [Vonnegut] captures the complexity of the human condition with stunning calligraphic simplicity.”
The Australian

“Thank God, Kurt Vonnegut has broken his promise that he will never write another book. In this wondrous assemblage of mini-memoirs, we discover his family’s legacy and his obstinate, unfashionable humanism.”
–Studs Terkel
release date: Sep 01, 2000
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The Story of a Lifetime: A Keepsake of Personal Memoirs (Green)
This Family Channel Seal of Quality-winning gift says to someone whose story you want to know: "Your life is important to me. I value who you are. Please tell me more." It invites your mother or father, a grandparent, favorite aunt or uncle, or special friend to share memories, facts, perspectives, beliefs, knowledge, and wisdom gained from a lifetime of experience. Hundreds of gentle questions encourage thoughtful responses. When complete, it's a priceless heirloom for future generations. 384 gold-edged, acid-free pages in an 8.5" X 11" keepsake-quality binding. "The Miracle Book...a treasure that has touched hundreds of lives." McCall's.
release date: Apr 10, 2001
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Plutarch's Lives Volume 1 (Modern Library Classics)
Plutarch's Lives, written at the beginning of the second century A.D., is a brilliant social history of the ancient world by one of the greatest biographers and moralists of all time. In what is by far his most famous and influential work, Plutarch reveals the character and personality of his subjects and how they led ultimately to tragedy or victory. Richly anecdotal and full of detail, Volume I contains profiles and comparisons of Romulus and Theseus, Numa and Lycurgus, Fabius and Pericles, and many more powerful figures of ancient Greece and Rome.

The present translation, originally published in 1683 in conjunction with a life of Plutarch by John Dryden, was revised in 1864 by the poet and scholar Arthur Hugh Clough, whose notes and preface are also included in this edition.
release date: May 01, 2007
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God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris's recent bestseller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case
against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and
reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry
of the double helix.
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