We’ve had several discussions about essential texts in Mormon studies; see here, here, here, here and here. I was hoping we could generate a list, or at least some productive discussion, about a topic we haven’t yet addressed — the great Mormon biographies and autobiographies.
I’ll confess I haven’t read many Mormon biographies. This is in no small part due to the fact that over the past six years or so I have done much of my recreational reading on the subway, and the heft of most biographies doesn’t work well on a crowded train. Poor excuse, I realize. Anyway, I have read a few and here are my favorites:
–_History of Joseph Smith_ by Lucy Mack Smith (I’ve been meaning to check out the “revised and enhanced” version)
–_The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt_ (perhaps the most famous Mormon autobiography)
–_An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown_ (neither a true autobiography nor biography, kind of a “life’s recollection as told to”, but great reading anyway)
–_Adventures of a Church Historian_, by Leonard J. Arrington (like the Brown book, more of a memoir than an autobiography, but quite engaging)
I fully recognize that my list is anemic. For one, none of the books are even remotely scholarly works. I’ve always meant to get around to the two volume biography of J. Reuben Clark; to Arrington’s _American Moses_; to Newell and Avery’s _Mormon Enigma_; and to Thomas Alexander’s _Things in Heaven and Earth_ (a biography of Wilford Woodruff). To my embarrassment, I’ve also ignored biographies of women and of more recent Church leaders.
This is where you come in. What are the great Mormon biographies and autobiographies? Is _Go Forward With Faith_ a good read? Is Eugene England’s _Brother Brigham_ superior to Arrington’s book? What is the best biography I’ve never heard of? Which early Mormon journals are the the most interesting?