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What are your all time favourite autobiographies?

(127 Posts)
GetOrfMo1Land Wed 28-Sep-11 18:53:50

I want to find something new to read, I love autobiogs.

Mine (off the top of my head, after not too much thought)

Biography of Gayatri Devi (last Maharani of Jaipur) - a brilliant story about a rich Maharani and her life pre war.

Chance Witness by Matthew Parris - I would not normally say I would rate the autobiography of a Tory boy but this is brilliant, he is really engaging and has lived a fascinating life.

Hons and Rebels by Jessica Mitford - it's just so funny. Also, whislt not strictly an autobiog, The Letters of Decca Mitford is brilliant as well.

Ricky by Ricky Tomlinson - not normally my cup of tea, would not choose a sleb autobiography, but he is very honest about his ups and downs and being imprisoned as a political prisoner in the 70s.

carriedababi Wed 28-Sep-11 19:33:41

oh bookmarking

ilovemydogandMrObama Wed 28-Sep-11 19:33:50

Wild Swans, although perhaps not strictly not an autobiography, but more of a family tree.

californiaburrito Wed 28-Sep-11 19:35:17

Oh, what a good list!

I'll add one of my favourites- Before Night Falls by Reinaldo Arenas- He's a Cuban writer that died of AIDS in NY in the 1980's. It's a bit shocking in parts but the man did an amazing job writing about his own death.

And also to go a little off topic, one of my all time favourites is In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick, which is about the whaling ship that inspired Moby Dick.

TeaOneSugar Wed 28-Sep-11 19:35:36

Roberta Taylor - Too Many Mothers

GetOrfMo1Land Wed 28-Sep-11 19:35:55

Some really good ideas here, thank you.

LottieJenkins Wed 28-Sep-11 19:36:01

All of Joyce Grenfells (the volumes of autobiographies and also the letters she wrote to her mother and friend and her diaries) Also Michael Crawford's Parcel Arrived Safetly Tied With String. Oh and my late fathers which he dedicated to his grandchildren!!!

Jacksterbear Wed 28-Sep-11 19:36:05

Agatha Christie's is great.

CeliaFate Wed 28-Sep-11 19:37:35

I read the biography "Niv" about David Niven which gives a more honest account of his life, but I agree his stories are so good, who cares if they were embellished?

PetiteRaleuse Wed 28-Sep-11 19:37:51

I loved Hilary Clinton's autobiography. Fascinating.

Recently read Michael McIntyre's. I don't recommend it. He can be funny on stage but is a RUBBISH writer. And most of it just isn't very interesting.

Boy by Roald Dhal, as someone mentioned above.

All of John Simpson's books are brilliant.

Erm, more coming. I love autobiographies.

woollyideas Wed 28-Sep-11 19:39:30

Not an autobiography, but a biography: Nora by Brenda Maddox. It's the biography of James Joyce's wife and is a fantastic read which gives real insight into what it's like to live in the shadow of someone so famous (and reprobate!)

bigTillyMint Wed 28-Sep-11 19:43:57

I got Frank Skinner's at a second-hand stall at a fair and loved it. Even though I hate football grin

I also really ejoyed Anne Robinson's - really interesting reading about Liverpool, how women were treated as second class citizens even in the 60's/70's and explained a lot about why my mother stuck with my alcoholic father for so long.

snigger Wed 28-Sep-11 19:44:03

Tender at the Bone, by Ruth Reichl,

Picklehead, by Rohan Candappa (Make the chicken kyaukswe, and the true vindaloo, you'll never regret it)

When did you last see your father? and Things my mother never told me by David Morrison.

David Niven, I think, is a given.

I have a soft spot for Toast by Nigel Slater too, mainly because he champions Angel Delight.

BitFuzzled Wed 28-Sep-11 19:50:37

Kate Adie - The Kindness of Strangers
Andre Agassi - Open
Dirk Bogarde - a whole series of auto-biographical books

Francagoestohollywood Wed 28-Sep-11 19:53:04

Snigger I love Ruth Reichl, have you read Garlic and Sapphires? Even better than Tender to the Bone!

Francagoestohollywood Wed 28-Sep-11 19:55:02

Jessica Mitford : Hons and rebels.

I'd love to read the biography of Elisabeth Taylor blush

CeliaFate Wed 28-Sep-11 19:59:07

Ooh Snigger, you're a poet and you didn't know it grin

mollymawk Wed 28-Sep-11 20:05:32

A long time ago now that I read it, but I enjoyed "Is That It?" by Bob Geldof.

LottieJenkins Wed 28-Sep-11 20:07:45

Just remembered Paul O Grady's (only read the first volume) and Peter Kays.
[ this]]
and this are my Dads books......

snigger Wed 28-Sep-11 20:08:16


cjbartlett Wed 28-Sep-11 20:20:43

Has anyone mentioned Gary Barlow? I loved his first one, the one he wrote just after Take That came back
really described well how he wanted to be famous so much, the mistakes he made the first time round, how he felt when Robbie kept dissing him, a really honest account (he admitted how selfish he was at first, charging the others for using his mobile etc, lol)

snigger Wed 28-Sep-11 20:28:18

franca - I've just ordered it, thanks for the tip-off!

<<I expect I'll 'lose' MN for a couple of days when that arrives!>>

BarryStar Wed 28-Sep-11 20:32:22

A biography, but still fascinating, of Joan Crawford by her daughter. Think it's called "Mommie Dearest".

bibbitybobbityhat Wed 28-Sep-11 20:32:23

I would put the Martin Amis memoir Experience very high up in my favourite books of all time. I love his writing, but am fully aware of his reputation as a misogynist (I do not agree) - so possibly not a lot of people would recommend. But as an example of how to craft a fascinating autobiography, it is a brilliant example.

Francagoestohollywood Wed 28-Sep-11 20:46:12

Snigger, great, enjoy it smile

CaveMum Wed 28-Sep-11 20:55:47

Although not complete autobiographys as such, Spike Milligan's war diaries and a great read. They are simultaneously funny and moving and give a good insight into what it was like to be a squaddie during WWII.

Off the top of my head (there are about 7 small books in total), the first few are called:

Hitler: My Part in His Downfall
Rommell? Gunner Who?
Mussolini: His Part in My Downfall

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