Top 10 Best Biographies and Autobiographies

Biographies and autobiographies, whether they are about famous figures in pop culture or history or about seemingly normal people with incredible life stories, can be truly compelling reads. If you're looking for a real-life story that is inspiring, moving or shocking we have someone for everyone in our list of biographies and autobiographies, from books about politicians to moving stories of the connections between animals and humans to a book that reveals the history of one of Britain best spymasters. See what you can find in our top 10 best biographies and autobiographies...

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1. M: Maxwell Knight, MI5's Greatest Spymaster

M: Maxwell Knight, MI5's Greatest Spymaster - Hardback - 9781848094673 - Henry Hemming
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Henry Hemming

Henry Hemming's fascinating biography deals with the real story of Maxwell Knight, the MI5 spymaster known as M and thought to be the basis for the character M in James Bond. Operating during the Second World War, M is said to have played a huge role in breaking up British fascism and was the first MI5 agent to openly disagree with the gender prejudices in the secret service. This biography brings to light a figure often lost to history as well as the seven men and women that worked under him, Henry Hemming's book allows the bravery of these people to never be overlooked again.

 

2. Jo Cox: More in Common

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Brendan Cox

MP, Jo Cox's, husband, Brendan Cox, has written this moving biography to honour his wife after her murder in 2016. During her life, Jo led campaigns and took on many projects as an activist and in this book, Brendan shines a light on Jo's hard work and urges readers to focus on creating a fairer society. If you want to discover more about Jo Cox then this biography will open your eyes to the life she led and the things she stood for.



3. Long Way Back

Charley Boorman


Charley Boorman, motorcycle enthusiast, wrote this autobiography after having a serious accident in Portugal in 2016. The crash left him injured to the point of possibly never being able to ride his motorcycle again. Through alternating chapters from him when he was unable to walk and from his childhood where he developed his love of motorcycles, Long Way Back details Charley's rehabilitation journey. Featuring a foreword by Ewan McGregor, this book is an emotional ride and perfect for motorbike fans.

 

4. The Gamekeeper

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Portia Simpson

Portia Simpson's memoir deals with her experiences as Scotland's first ever qualified female gamekeeper. Portia takes you through her childhood and her reasons for deciding to venture into this male-dominated career path. Transporting you to the Scottish Highlands, Portia's incredible story will completely enthral you.

 

5. The Goshawk

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T.H. White

This memoir was first published in 1951 and this edition has not lost any of the charm of T.H. White's unusual story. This autobiography focuses on how, without any prior training, author, T.H. White, decided to train a wild goshawk, one of the hardest birds to work with. Despite the struggle, White soon began to learn of the strong bond that can develop between man and bird. This is a fascinating story, perfect for animal lovers everywhere.



 

6. Dadland

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Keggie Carew

This moving book sees Keggie Carew piece together her father's life story as his memories start to become lost to dementia. Keggie discovers her father, Tom, was many things – a stutterer, a solider and a family man. Amongst the surprising details Keggie uncovers about her father's life she learns that during the Second World War, Tom was part of an elite SEO unit that parachuted behind enemy lines to join the resistance in France and Burma. This powerful story of love, memory, family and war is gripping from start to finish.


7. Spaceman

Mike Massimino

Mike Massimo was determined to become a spaceman. After being rejected by NASA twice on account of his poor eyesight, he trained his eyes to improve so that he could achieve his goals. On his third try, NASA accepted him. After 18 years working as an astronaut, during which he had many inspiring, shocking and terrifying adventures, his autobiography makes a fascinating read. Become inspired by Mike's strong attitude and desire to never give up on his dreams, even when they are, quite literally, out of this world.



 

Alastair Sawday

Alastair Sawday's memoir highlights the joy he has had slow travelling around the world. He shares his personal anecdotes and thoughts on different people and places that he has encountered on his travels. Focusing on the beauty and culture of each of the places he has visited, rather than cramming in lots of activities, he has lots of opinions on the places he has been and he shares those with you in this brilliant book for all those who want to see the world at a more leisurely pace.



9. Amber's Donkey


Julian and Tracy Austwick

This book focuses on the powerful bond between human and animal. When Julian and Tracy Austwick's daughter, Amber, was born with cerebral palsy they were heartbroken to hear that she may never walk or talk. After a trip to the Donkey Sanctuary in Birmingham, Amber met a donkey called Shocks who was sent to the Sanctuary after being found abused in Ireland. Amber instantly developed a bond with Shocks and over time he helped her build her confidence. This inspiring story gives you an insight into a very unusual but moving friendship.


10. Churchill: The Life

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Max Arthur

This illustrated biography features rare and previously unseen photographs of Winston Churchill and his family from the Churchill Archive Centre and Broadwater collection. Perfect for history buffs, this book takes you through the life of Winston Churchill from his childhood to his time as prime minister to his life after the war. Historian, Max Arthur, brings together photographs, telegrams, speech drafts and more to create an unforgettable biography about a fascinating figure.




 

If you still want more incredible true life stories then check out our full range of biographies and autobiographies.