Inspiring True Stories: Memoirs and Biographies

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Compiled by Jennifer Adams. Summaries from ContentCafe. January 2011

  • Healing Hearts: a memoir of a female heart surgeon
    by Kathy E. Magliato
    Presents a memoir of the author's work as one of the nation's few female heart surgeons, describing some of the cases that most impacted her career as well as her efforts to balance the needs of her growing family.
  • The Translator: a memoir
    by Daoud Hari, as told to Dennis Michael Burke and Megan M. McKenna
    A young Zaghawa tribesman from the Darfur region of the Sudan describes his escape from the attack that destroyed his village, his struggle for survival, role as a translator for international aid groups and journalists, the dangers he confronted in his role, his ultimate capture, and his new life, in an eyewitness account of the brutal genocide in the Sudan.
  • His Oldest Friend: the story of an unlikely bond across generations
    by Sonny Kleinfield
    Provides a portrait of a friendship that spans generations, between Margaret Oliver, a ninety-year-old wheelchair-bound resident of a Manhattan nursing home, and Elvis Checo, a poor Hispanic teenage volunteer.
  • The Diary of a Young Girl
    by Anne Frank; edited by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler; translated by Susan Massotty
    An uncut edition of Anne Frank's diary includes entries originally omitted by her father and provides insight into Anne's relationship with her mother.
  • Where the Road Ends: a home in the Brazilian rainforest: a memoir
    by Binka Le Breton
    Traces how the concert pianist author and her agricultural economist husband pursued the creation of a rain-forest research center in Brazil, an effort marked by natural-world adventures and a range of technological challenges.
  • The Kids Are All Right: a memoir
    by Diana Welch and Liz Welch; with Amanda Welch and Dan Welch
    A family story told from the revolving viewpoints of its four children describes how they lost both of their parents and their privileged lifestyle early in life before being separated into different homes, where they struggled to achieve independence and find one another.
  • The Girls of Room 28: friendship, hope, and survival in Theresienstadt
    by Hannelore Brenner; translated from the German by John E. Woods and Shelley Frisch
    Shares the stories of ten women who as children survived the Theresienstadt internment camp, describing the dormitory-like barracks in which they lived, their interactions with a series of counselors who exposed them to culture in spite of outside horrors, and their post-war lives.
  • The Curve of Time : the classic memoir of a woman and her children who explored the coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest
    by M. Wylie Blanchet
    After her husband died in 1927, leaving her with five small children, everyone expected the struggles of single motherhood on a remote island to overcome M. Wylie Blanchet. Instead, this courageous woman became one of the pioneers of “family travel,” acting as both mother and captain of the twenty-five-foot boat that became her family’s home during the long Northwest summers.
  • Mountain of Crumbs: a memoir
    by Elena Gorokhova
    Traces the author's childhood in the Cold War Soviet Union, describing such formative influences as her father's work as a ranking member of the Communist party, her uncle's arrest for telling a joke to a foreigner and her sister's performance in a Western play.
  • The Latehomecomer: a Hmong family memoir
    by Kao Kalia Yang
    Presents the journey from refuge camp to America and the hardships and joys of a family's struggle to adapt in a strange culture while holding onto traditions that are passed down from her beloved grandmother.
  • Strength in What Remains
    by Tracy Kidder
    Presents the story of Burundi civil war survivor Deo, who endures homelessness before pursuing an education at Columbia and eventually returning to his native land to help people in both countries.
  • Hero Found: the greatest POW escape of the Vietnam War
    by Bruce Henderson
    Tells the true story of Navy pilot Dieter Dengler who led and organized an escape from a P.O.W. camp in the Laotian jungle and returned to his aircraft carrier, emaciated and ill, six months after being shot down.
  • The Woman Who Watches Over the World : a native memoir
    by Linda Hogan
    A Native American woman blends her personal history of struggle with the story of native women who participated in key events during the Indian Wars more than a century ago.

Category: Reading Lists, Biography and Memoir

Page last changed: October 20, 2012, at 08:13 AM EST.