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Amazing True Stories you Need to Read!

Updated on December 13, 2016

Gripping True Life Biographies You Can't Put Down!

A collection of awe-inspiring biographies based on true life stories, this lens highlights of my personal choices based on the best seller list.

These biographies and memoirs based on the real life of ordinary and not so ordinary people, showcase the lives of a variety of exceptional individuals from many different walks of life featuring an appealing mixture of extraordinary people from both the past and the present.

Best sellers like "Lincoln" and "Obama" are presented while some fascinating reads of people we all know about or have heard about are also featured. This collection is meant to be a tribute to those people who have let the hidden greatness that is in each of us shine through, notwithstanding the joys, sufferings and heartbreaks endured. Photo: The Black Count by Tom Reiss
If you have the time do yourself a favor and pick up one of these. They're sure to provide a gripping and entertaining read. Oh, and if you enjoyed my book review do feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page! Also, you can vote your own favorite read in the poll section below! Happy reading my friends!

A list of Fascinating Reads Based on Real Life Stories

The following is my list of the Top 10 Book Biographies based on True Life Stories. I have numbered them 1-10 starting with the tenth on the list and working my way down. At the bottom of course, you will find the best seller and my number one choice for your reading entertainment. Once again, you can also vote your favorite at the bottom of the page in the poll section. Enjoy!

More interesting people we've heard about or would like to know more about. - Jaycee Lee Dugard, Helen Keller and more.

There's nothing more interesting than finding out what makes people tick and it's even more wonderful to find out how the everyday actions in our lives can influence the world we live in. Take for example the story Helen Keller. There isn't anyone in the world today who hasn't heard about her or been influenced by her courage and perseverance. I'm betting a re-read of her life will provide some deeper insight into the life of this great woman.

10. The Black Count

The Black Count

The Black Count tells the story of Alexandre Dumas, french nobleman and aristocrat who rose to the rank of General under Napoléon Bonaparte only to subsequently fall from grace and into poverty. At one point he was taken hostage and kept in a dungeon for over two years without clearly understanding the motives or identity of his captors. A real-life "Count of Monte Cristo", Alexandre ultimately inspired his son and novelist of the same name Alexander Dumas to write his famous novel The Count of Monte Cristo. If you're a lover of history and adventure, swashbuckling action and real-life "rise-and-fall-rags-to-riches" romance then this is your must-read for the new year 2013. Available from Amazon in both new and used formats.

Since its September 18, 2012 publication, The Black Count has received honors and awards throughout the world.

In November 2012 the book was chosen as the BBC "Book of the Week" and broadcast as a five-part radio series presented on BBC4. The New York Times named it one of the 100 most notable books of 2012, while TIME included it in their list of Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2012. chose it as one of the "10 Best Books of 2012" in the Biographies and Memoirs category. In December 2012, it was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Literary Work, Biography/Autobiography" On April 15, 2013, The Black Count was honored with the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. The book also won the 2013 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography. In 2013, it was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award (Biography), the Plutarch Award for Best Biography, and shortlisted for the American Library in Paris Book Award.

9. Total Recall

Total Recall

What you've secretly thought about Arnold Schwarzenegger the actor and politician comes true in this true life biography written by himself. Oh, always suspected it didn't you? To some it may seem Arnold's book is none other than a pat-myself-on-the-back memoir that excuses himself of just about everything he has ever done. I actually found him to be quite truthful which takes a certain amount of courage. There's plenty here about his first passion bodybuilding, his film career and his later life which gets plenty of attention. There aren't many deep insights into his acting, but there are plenty of amusing anecdotes from his work on films. Arnold's autobiography makes for great reading. An eye opener best seller and number 9 on my Best True Life Biographies list. If you want to know the whole truth exactly as Arni says it then you'll have to give in and buy the book.

8. Barack Obama The Story

Barack Obama The Story

One of the most enigmatic and high profile personalities of today, Barack Obama comes surprisingly down-to-earth in this eye-opener of a biography by David Maraniss. This book, will take you on an incredible journey starting a couple of generations before President Obama's birth in Hawaii. Mr. Maraniss traveled to Kansas, Kenya, Indonesia and Hawaii to interview members of the President's family and people who were friends and acquaintances of his. These travels make for some interesting reading being as it's a well- researched and thoughtful book, not only about his life, but also the life of his family and extended family. But that's only one small part of this epic story of his parents' and grandparents' experiences. It's a sad story on both sides, which makes the President's incredible success all the more remarkable. This is a a very good read which will be hard to put down. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1993, Maraniss writes a proficient, professional and well researched life of the now President of the United States before he became "famous". Barack Obama The Story, will enlarge your cultural insight and is one of my highly recommended rainy day reads for 2013.

7. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, "the man who thought different", would need a biographer who could do just that to do justice to his name. Walter Isaacson's biography of Apple Guru Steve Jobs not only hit the International Best Seller List with no looking back but broke all records for #1 biography to date. No amateur to literature, Isaacson already has several first class written biographies (Henry Kissinger, Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein) to his credit. Maybe reading this book will inspire us all to a little more thinking out-of-the-box creativity and some insight on how the mind of a genius works. Go for it.

6. Unbroken


We all love a little history. Add unbeatable courage, determination, heartbreak and sacrifice and you've got a recipe for Good Read Best Seller. Author of "Seabiscuit", Laura Hillenbrand's "Unbroken" is a romantic biography of True Life World War II veteran Louis Zamperini, his trials and tribulations, survival and suffering endured during the war and eventual captivity. A good read though a little long-winded, (496 pages of trial and suffering) but if you like books on the triumph of the human spirit against all odds then this is the book for you and you probably won't want to put it down.

5. Living with Honor

Living with Honor

From reckless boy to War Hero, this is the True Life Story of Sal Giunta, an ordinary boy with a not-so-ordinary story. The only living Medal of Honor recipient to date, Sal shows the world that wars are fought by ordinary guys and girls, the you and me, and not superhero type Rambos. This is the stuff true heroes are made of. Reminds me of the movie "Hero" with Dustin Hoffman". Anybody can be a hero. This book is wonderfully narrated in an unpretentious manner making the reader immediately feel as if he were in Sal's boots. Though essentially a portrayal of the same courage and resilience in the Loius Zamperini bio, I highly recommend this true life story even over Hillenbrand's "Unbroken".

4. The Patriarch - The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

The Patriarch - The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

If you've seen the movie "The Kennedys" you'll probably still want to read this one! David Nasaw's True Life 800 page Biography of Joseph Kennedy is a big one and not only in length! Gripping narration and deft in style, Nasaw's work is to be praised for it's historical accuracy and skill in storytelling. Though lengthy and a bit daunting for size (and price!... look for a used version if you're not too particular), you'll probably read it to the end. One of the best reads for 2012-2013!

3. Proof of Heaven

Proof of Heaven (paperback)

Doctor Eben Alexander III M.D. is a scientific man. Neurosurgeon and non-believing scientist, Alexander is not the kind of man to believe in ghosts, spirits and/or the afterlife. And yet today Eben is a changed man. This is the true life story of a renowned brain surgeon who underwent a profound transformation after a near life and death experience with God. Another #1 best seller and all the more interesting because of Eben's previous convictions, Proof of Heaven narrates Eben's brush with death, his recovery and change of heart regarding the afterlife. They say reading it will change your with caution then and go buy the book!

2. Lincoln


OK so it's not so new but David Herbert Donald's "Lincoln" deserves the #2 spot on my Best True Life Biographies List for it's timelessness. That's because where others have failed David Herbert Donald has succeeded. Two time Pulizer Prize winner, Donald has carefully sculpted a work of art with this awe-inspiring biography of the ever enigmatic Lincoln. If you haven't read it yet, (and you've had plenty of time to) now's as good a time as any! Still a best seller after umpteen years, Lincoln is available on Amazon both new and used naturally.

1. A Higher Call

A Higher Call

OK, here's my #1 Best True Life Biography, New York Times Best Seller, "A Higher Call" by Adam Makos and Larry Alexander. Another out-of-the-ordinary war story that will have your spirits soaring in the end. This is the true life biography of two World War II Pilots, one German, the other American, their stories from either side of the coin and how their lives intertwined. The touching and heart wrenching finale will confirm your faith in mankind. This remarkable book is truly a higher call!

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    • SavioC profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi. You sold me on Proof Of Heaven. Sounds very interesting. Want to know the turning point in his life. Thank you for sharing this wonderful list with us. Am saving this lens for future reference. Well written lens.

    • goldenrulecomics profile image


      5 years ago from New Jersey

      Unbroken and Lincoln are on my list of books to read!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Thank you for this great list of nonfiction books to read!

    • siobhanryan profile image


      5 years ago

      Proof of Heaven and The Patriarch are the next read for me Great list

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      WOW! This is a goooood list!!!! Shared on Pinterest.

    • susanholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 

      5 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      I teach THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO and had never heard of THE BLACK COUNT - though I have read several short articles about Dumas' father. I am excited about reading it. I also want to read PROOF OF HEAVEN - looks totally fascinating. This is a great list. I wish I had more time to read! :-)

    • opatoday profile image


      5 years ago

      I really like this

    • GimperBee LM profile image

      GimperBee LM 

      5 years ago

      A wonderful selection. Inspires me to read Proof of Heaven.

    • DentalTalk profile image


      5 years ago

      A higher calling looks very interesting thanks for the recommendations

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Good choices!

    • chiptuning profile image


      5 years ago

      Now i have a lot to read, but unfortantely not the time...

    • spellbindingsis profile image


      5 years ago

      Great idea for a Lens, interesting & enjoyable.

    • delia-delia profile image


      5 years ago

      Great list! I don't read much outside of the Bible, but these true stories listed here capture my interest.

    • JuneNash profile image

      June Nash 

      5 years ago

      I will add them all to my reading list. Thanks for the suggestions. I normally read novels. I have read a few biographies, and enjoyed them. Since this is your top ten list, I will give them a try. You have listed a couple that I find very intriguing.

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 

      6 years ago

      My reading list is about to grow

    • audrey07 profile image


      6 years ago

      I tend to read fictions. The number of biographies that I have read thus far is probably only 2 or 3. If I have the time and inclination to pick up a biography, I would probably read the Obama one.

    • profile image

      sybil watson 

      6 years ago

      The Black Count sounds very interesting, especially considering the author. So many great suggestions!

    • Jo-Jackson profile image


      6 years ago

      I am adding The Black Count and A Higher Call to my reading list.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I would love to read the biography of Lincoln.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am definitely adding The Black Count to my reading list. Blessed.

    • Davidfstillwagon profile image


      6 years ago

      Terrific list of books!

    • LisaNowatzki profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for doing such a great job. The list was varied and interesting. A very good lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm going to have to get my hands on some of these!

    • makorip lm profile image

      makorip lm 

      6 years ago

      Great choices and great lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love your lenses fantastic!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a nice collection of biographies that you have put together. I would enjoy reading the one about Joe Kennedy.


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