T Nation

Most Interesting People


I know that there is already a "book" thread but, this is more specific to genre. I have always stuck to reading fiction and thought I would give historical books and biographies a chance. What are some of the best bios or books on civilizations you all have read? I while back I was reading a book on the Egyptian Culture but, it read like a school textbook and I lost interest.


I'm not gonna dig thru all my books to get the exact titles, but these are very interesting people whose stories I've read.

Hunter S. Thompson (read anything by him or about him)
Howard Hughes (the book to get is called Citizen Hughes)
Abraham Lincoln
Miles Davis (his autobiography is excellent)
Benjamin Franklin (autobiography)
Allen Dulles
William Donovan
Julius Caesar
anything about the Knights Templar
The Spear of Destiny (about Hitler's fascination with the occult)
Captain Cook
TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
Norman Mailer
Jesse James
Mickey Mantle (My Favorite Summer, an autobio)
Break on Through (about Jim Morrison)
the history of New Orleans (can't remember the name of the book, but there are lots out there that I'm sure are good)
Stonewall Jackson


Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton by Edward Rice

A very readable book and fascinating character


I'm not into martial arts, but Mas Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin karate, led a very interesting life


Scar Tissue, an autobiography by Anthony Keides (The lead singer of Red Hot Chili Peppers) is pretty awesome.


hope this thread gets more hits, been wanting to pick something up lately..will check out some of the things listed here already.


Ulises S Grant


Warren Buffet


Nelson Mandela


Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) "Wouldn't It Be Nice". Hands down one of the most wild and entertaining autobio's I've read.

Any of the Founding Fathers bio's by Joseph Ellis


is there a book about Professor X out yet?

Catch Me If You Can-way better than the movie
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind-also way better than the movie (they always are)
anything by Nicholas Spileggi (wrote the books that Casino and Goodfellas are based on)
A Rumor Of War by Philip Caputo (his Vietnam War experience)
The Village by Bing West (another Vietnam War-era autobio)
Born on the 4th of July by Ron Kovic


I think it's called "Hamburgers and Novacaine"


Juan Belmonte


Adolf Hitler

It had to be said.

What's more interesting than reading about the evil genius (fucked up as he was) who brought the world to its knees? Sometimes you can learn more from stories about these corrupt, power hungry mofos than you can the saints.

Truman - Give em hell harry made his name sticking it to war profiteers - also - the bomb

 The great bridge - story of the building of the brooklyn bridge. Also the story of new york and brooklyn. Somehow one of the most fascinating books i have ever read.

 Team of rivals - Lincoln, amazing book, amazing research, amazing story telling with one of the most amazing central characters in history

 Picasso - picasso was a bad bad man, and pretty much the consensus greatest of all time of the last couple centuries.

 I second Benjamin Franklin, but I didnt read the autobiography. I read a recent bio that I thought was pretty "meh" but Franklin is so interesting it didnt matter. I would also be suspect of an autobiography given his fondness for mischief and some would say vanity.

Just read "Vicksburg 1863" which I highly reccomend. American civil war, Grant makes his name in the west in a series of incredibly gory slaughters. Also interesting descriptions of naval battles on the mississippi. A few good stories of incredible bravery and heroism (on both sides) as well. Sherman is also a fascinating character.

Also "Undaunted courage" about lewis and clark expedition. Amazing.

Who needs fiction? You know they just make all that shit up right?


"Double Cross" by Chuck Giancana, it's about Sam Giancana and will teach you how the world works.