Autobiography

Call Me Anna : The Autobiography of Patty Duke

By Patty Duke and Kenneth Duran

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Patty Duke wrote this autobiographical account of her struggle for survival. Read about her firsts: the youngest actor to win an Oscar and the youngest actor to have a prime-time series bearing her own name, the many difficulties she faced as a child star, the tragic consequences of her long-undiagnosed illness, and her triumphs.

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A Woman of Egypt

By Jihan Sadat

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"This is an autobiography by Jehan Sadat, widow of Anwar el Sadat, tracing her early life in Cairo where she had a middle-class Egyptian upbringing, to when she was 17 and fell in love with a divorced revolutionary. She recounts how she and Anwar Sadat overcame her parents' objections to their marriage and how she was soon the wife of a rising political leader who was an intimate of President Nasser. When the President died unexpectedly, Anwar Sedat succeeded him. Thus Jehan Sadat began her life as wife of a political leader and tells of how she was the first wife of a Muslim leader to have her picture in a newspaper, to travel alone outside her own country and to take up public causes.

"Her courageous achievements in a world dominated by men and strict cultural traditions included reforming the divorce laws, setting up co-operatives for peasant women, nursing wounded veterans from Egypt's wars with Israel and supporting her husband who was under continuous attack. Her story concludes with the events surrounding her husband's assassination by right-wing fundamentalists."

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A Kind of Grace: The Autobiography of the World's Greatest Female Athlete

By Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee

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A three-time Olympic gold medalist in the multi-event heptathlon, Jackie Joyner-Kersee is recognized as one of the world's best female athletes. This autobiography tells of her youth in impoverished East St. Louis, Illinois, her fledgling athletic endeavors in high school, her collegiate years at UCLA, and her 12-year career as a world-class heptathlete and long jumper. Jackie recounts her courtship and marriage to her collegiate coach, Bob Kersee, and her struggle to recognize her asthma, making the adjustments that would permit her to continue competing.

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Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story

By Ben Carson, M.D., with Cecil Murphey

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Ben Carson, M.D., works medical miracles. Today, he's one of the most celebrated neurosurgeons in the world. In Gifted Hands, he tells of his inspiring odyssey from his childhood in inner-city Detroit to his position as director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital at age 33. Ben Carson is a role model for anyone who attempts the seemingly impossible as he takes you into the operating room where he has saved countless lives. Filled with fascinating case histories, this is the dramatic and intimate story of Ben Carson's struggle to beat the odds -- and of the faith and genius that make him one of the greatest life-givers of the century.

Made into a film starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.

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Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child

By Elva Trevino Hart

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A vividly told autobiographical account of the life of a child growing up in a family of migrant farm workers. It brings to life the day-to-day existence of people facing the obstacles of working in the fields and raising a family in an environment that is frequently hostile to those who have little education and speak another language. Assimilation brings its own problems, as the original culture is attenuated and the quality of family relationships is compromised, consequences that are not inevitable but are instead a series of choices made along the way. It is also the story of how the author overcame the disadvantages of this background and found herself.

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Rocket Boys: A Memoir

By Homer H. Hickam, Jr.

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Looking back after a distinguished NASA career, Hickam shares the story of his youth in a coal mining town.

 

On Film:
Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Chris Owen, and Laura Dern star in October Sky, the movie adaptation of Rocket Boys.

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Surprised By Joy: The Shape of My Early Life

By C.S. Lewis

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Born in Ireland in 1898, C.S. Lewis gained a triple First at Oxford and was Fellow and Tutor at Magdalen College from 1925-54, where he was a contemporary of J.R.R. Tolkien, among others. In 1954 he became Professor of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge. One of the most gifted and influential Christian writers of our time, he is also celebrated for his Narnia Chronicles and his literary criticism and science fiction.

In this book Lewis tells of his search for joy, a spiritual journey that led him from the Christianity of his early youth into atheism and then back to Christianity.

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Once There Was a Farm: A Country Childhood Remembered

By Virginia Bell Dabney

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"It was an unusual household: the mother and three daughters lived on a ramshackle farm in western Virginia while the father stayed in Chicago, visiting his family during summer vacations and at Christmas. Virginia (Vallie), much younger than her sisters, never felt comfortable with her father. Playmates were a rarity, but she found rewards in the company of farm animals and the three black people who were hired help. Vallie's attempt at self-baptism and the cook's reaction makes an endearing story."
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My Life as a Seer: The Lost Memoirs

By Edgar Cayce

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"The renowned psychic describes his extraordinary powers as a young boy, his personal life and career as a spiritualist, and his teachings on thousands of topics. Cayce was the founder of the Association for Research and Enlightenment in Virginia Beach."
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Growing Up

By Russell Baker

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"Russell Baker is the 1979 Pulitzer Prize winner for Distinguished Commentary and a columnist for The New York Times. This book traces his youth in Loudon County, Virginia. When Baker was only five, his father died. His mother, strong-willed and matriarchal, never looked back. After all, she had three children to raise and these were depression years. As is often the case, early hardships made the man."
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