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A biography, unlike an autobiography, is written by a person as a detailed description of someone else’s life. Biographical books contain more than just the basic facts of a person’s life, they go into detail about them. These books are often non-fictional in nature, but you can also find a few biographies that have used fiction to portray someone’s life.
The history of biographies
The history of biographical books goes back to as far as 80 AD, when Plutarch wrote his Parallel Lives. His book covered the lives of many prominent personalities of the classical times. During the early Middle Ages biographical books became more religion-oriented and were written mostly on the orders of the Church. Then there came a time when biographies became more oriented towards the lives of kings and knights. One of the most famous biographies of the late Middle Ages is Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, an account of the illustrious life and times of King Arthur and his famous Knights of the Round Table. Biographical books still enjoy the same popularity that they did in their early days, mainly because people still love to read about the lives of the rich and famous, and sometimes, the infamous.
A few biographies you must add to your collection.
Biographical books not only tell us about a person’s life but also the society he or she lived in. Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish writer, philosopher, historian and satirist of the Victorian age, had once said that biography is a part of history, as understanding the lives of great personalities helps in understanding society and the times the subject lived in. For information on issues ranging from dictatorship and terrorism to scientific advancement, biographies are your best guide. Here are a few of them that you can buy on online shopping sites:
The Diary of a Young Girl - Published posthumously by her father Otto Frank, young Anne Frank’s personal diary became an epic recounting of the atrocities of the Nazi regime and the holocaust. Her diaries talk about the genocide of the Jews committed by Hitler and covers the time period between June 1942 and April 1944.
Steve Jobs - Written by the American journalist and biographer, Walter Isaacson, this is an exclusive biography about Steve Jobs, the man behind Apple Computers. Released on October 2011, this book went on to become a New York Times bestseller and has also won the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. Walter Isaacson has also written biographies of many other prominent figures, such as Henry Kissinger, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.
I am Malala - A more recent addition to the list of well-known biographies, this biographical book depicts the life of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Biographer Christina Lamb talks about the bravery of a young girl, who was shot thrice by a Talibani terrorist for promoting education in the Swat Valley.