The Best Autobiographies of All Time

A long way gone Ishmael BeahThe autobiography holds a strange place in my book-loving heart. When it works, it’s great. I don’t know if I like anything better than reading a really, really good memoir. And there’s nothing more tiresome to me than a bad one. The bad ones are usually the tell-alls and exhibitionist books that are written solely to make a buck. For me, the best autobiographies of all time are written by people that I think I would enjoy knowing.

The subject of an autobiography is the person. If the person has nothing to do with subjects or themes that I can identify with somewhere, I’m probably not going to love it. There are exceptions, of course, and those exceptions are the ones where I feel like they help me venture into new arenas.

So this list I’m about to put down is going to serve as my own personal list of the best autobiographies. I’ll come back frequently (I hope) and add to it as often as there is something worth calling great.

Below, when possible, I’ll link to reviews I have written on this blog.

  • A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Bea
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • The Autiobiography of Malcolm X
  • I’m throwing in the David Sedaris books, just because
  • A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  • Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl
  • A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson
  • Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin
  • Out of Sheer Rage by Geoff Dyer

I’m going to leave it there for now. Hope to have more soon. I think there are great autobiographies that are some of the best books of all time. Feel free to add to the list!


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