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Gift Help - Biographies of Famous Women or People of Color

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My dad loves reading biographies of famous historical figures from US history. I was browsing his shelves the other day, and it hit me that he reads almost exclusively about white guys--Washington, Jefferson, etc. For Christmas this year, I thought I might buy him a biography of a really amazing woman or person of color. But I'm not much of a biography reader, so I thought I'd ask you all for recommendations. Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony come to mind as possible subjects, but I could branch out if anybody has other thoughts.

My dad really responds to elegant (and in my opinion, sort of purple) language in the books he reads. Whatever I buy, I have to stay away from clunky prose or he'll put it down and drift on to something else. Thanks in advance!
#1 - November 22, 2017, 08:42 PM
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It's YA and illustrated and poetry, but well written and very interesting:

BECOMING BILLIE HOLIDAY by Carole Boston Weatherford, ill. by Floyd Cooper

And I can't recommend anything, but you could look for a good biography of Duke Ellington.

Oh, I just remembered reading this one, LOUIS ARMSTRONG: AN EXTRAVAGANT LIFE by Laurence Bergreen.
#2 - November 22, 2017, 10:20 PM
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#3 - November 23, 2017, 05:01 AM
PRUDENCE, THE PART-TIME COW, A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK, IT'S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS!, THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLED
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What about Maya Angelou?
#4 - November 23, 2017, 05:48 AM
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What about Maya Angelou?

Love her. I bet there are a bunch on sports' figures. Having Our Say by the Delaney Sisters was good too. Think about the other things he likes and look for bios in that area.
#5 - November 24, 2017, 09:20 PM

The Firebrand the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship is about the unlikely and long-lived friendship between Eleanor Roosevelt and Pauli Murray (black, lesbian social justice crusader). It's got a lot of historical insight, but also presents an angle from Murray's point of view that you don't often get in history. The author, Patricia Bell-Scott, is black as well.

I haven't read it yet, but First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies by Kate Andersen Brower has been highly recommended to me.

#6 - November 25, 2017, 05:07 AM
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What about HIDDEN FIGURES? I haven't read it, though.

Loved this so much.

One of my favorite books is Nobel Prize Women in Science by Sharon McGrayne. It's not US history but in case he likes science, this is a wonderful book.

I've read several first person accounts of slavery: 12 Years a Slave was really good.

Something more recent. How about books by Condoleeza Rice? I have her autobiography.

Happy shopping!!!

#7 - November 25, 2017, 10:50 AM
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Okay, I admit this is an AUTObiography, but I read it many years ago and will likely read it again at some point, I enjoyed it that much. I loved being immersed in her world of growing up and becoming a writer! 

Agatha Christie, An Autobiography.
#8 - November 25, 2017, 12:51 PM
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Will he do a memoir?
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Reyna Grande is powerful.
#9 - November 29, 2017, 07:48 AM
BLACKOUT -- available now
DESERTED -- available now
SISTERS DON'T TELL -- available now
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I really enjoyed Trevor Noah's autobiography: BORN A CRIME:  Stories from a South African childhood. There's certainly a lot of history throughout, though not American history.
#10 - November 30, 2017, 09:12 AM
www.ellenjackson.net
PICKY EATERS
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Another vote for HIDDEN FIGURES. It was fascinating.
#11 - November 30, 2017, 09:47 AM
ANTIQUE PIANO & OTHER SOUR NOTES
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If he likes sports, maybe a bio of Jackie Robinson or Muhammad Ali. They both led interesting lives.

If he likes science, George Washington Carver or Rosalind Franklin (who discovered the double helix).

And bless you for noticing.  :goldstar

(I have a recommendation for a bio that's not what you're looking for right now, but Philip Freeman's Alexander the Great is a magnificent read--narrative history at its finest. He might enjoy expanding beyond the U.S., too. Maybe when he's read up on Jackie and Rosalind you can let him have it.)  :yup
#12 - November 30, 2017, 10:43 PM
Learning to Swear in America (Bloomsbury, July 2016)
What Goes Up (Bloomsbury, 2017)
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Depending on how interesting he might find Beautiful Movie Stars of the past:) perhaps "Hedy's Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World",  would interest him. I'm thinking of gifting this to myself actually:)
#13 - December 01, 2017, 02:28 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
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