Biographies to Give You An Inside Look on Others

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Biographies to Give You An Inside Look on Others

Josie Fillman, Reporter

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Hist’ry, oh hist’ry. Looking for a real person to read about? Indulging into their life, their hardships, their accomplishments, their rise to power? Not like a stalker- hopefully.

  1. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, by Karen Abbott. Four women. Two sides. Grey and blue. North and south. All are spies. Belle Boyd is a dangerous Confederate, with a hot temper and a rebellious attitude, using her charm to seduce men on both sides. Enlisting herself as a Union private named Frank Thompson, Emma Edmonds goes to one of the bloodiest battles in history, infiltrating enemy lines and defenses, fearing her past might be back. Widowed Rose O’Neal Greenhow affairs with Unions, and uses her daughter to send information to Confederate generals, taking a voyage she wasn’t expecting. Elizabeth Van Lew using her oddities to stay hidden, with no one expecting her, as she steals in and out of Confederate prisons, helping the Unions who were captured. Read about these four women from both sides as they fight their own battles, and if they’re caught- Death is in their future.

  2. Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. How does an illegitimate son, orphan, son of a Scotsman, find himself in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean, with only his brother and his mother, surrounded by providence, impoverishment, and squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar? Read the life of our favorite, ten dollar founding father without a father, from the start on Nevis, to the end in New York.

  3. Frederick Douglass, by David W. Blight. In Baltimore, Maryland, a slave named Frederick Douglass escaped. This slave was one of the privileged ones. He learned to read and write from his mistress and would become one of history’s greatest literary figures, unbeknownst to him. Having written three autobiographies and published a newspaper through his life, he was bound to be a star. Find out other hardships and accomplishments throughout the famous Frederick Douglass’s life.

  4. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark, by Michelle McNamara. Serial Killer. Rapist. Terrorizing California for around 10 years. And then he disappeared. Three decades later, crime solver and journalist Michelle McNamara set up a website to dig out the psychotic murderer, nicknamed the ‘Golden State Killer’, McNamara pours over police reports and cases. All of this just to unmask a killer.

  5. The Woman Who Smashed Codes, by Jason Fagone. Elizebeth Smith Friedman is a Shakespeare expert, who goes to work for an eccentric tycoon at the height of the Great War. The tycoon had close ties to the government, and soon, he asked Elizebeth to apply her amazing linguistics to something else: Codebreaking. On the path she follows, Elizebeth meets a groundbreaking cryptologist, and future husband, William Friedman. And yet through Elizebeth’s success, her story has never been told.


Indulge in the lives of heroes from the past, who risked their lives to achieve what they’ve become famous for today. Because maybe, without that will, there wouldn’t be a book for you to read about them. As always, some of the these titles are mature for middle schoolers. Read with caution. 

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