Biography

Books that are in the genre of biography,autobiography and memoir. These books are voted by our community of book lovers.

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty

The history of the Sackler dynasty is rife with drama—baroque personal lives; bitter disputes over estates; fistfights in boardrooms; glittering art collections; Machiavellian courtroom maneuvers; and the calculated use of money to burnish reputations and crush the less powerful. The Sackler name has adorned the walls of many storied institutions—Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing a blockbuster painkiller that was the catalyst for the opioid crisis.

Empire of Pain begins with the story of three doctor brothers, Raymond, Mortimer and the incalculably energetic Arthur, who weathered the poverty of the Great Depression and appalling anti-Semitism. Working at a barbaric mental institution, Arthur saw a better way and conducted groundbreaking research into drug treatments. He also had a genius for marketing, especially for pharmaceuticals, and bought a small ad firm.

Arthur devised the marketing for Valium, and built the first great Sackler fortune. He purchased a drug manufacturer, Purdue Frederick, which would be run by Raymond and Mortimer. The brothers began collecting art, and wives, and grand residences in exotic locales. Their children and grandchildren grew up in luxury.

Forty years later, Raymond’s son Richard ran the family-owned Purdue. The template Arthur Sackler created to sell Valium—co-opting doctors, influencing the FDA, downplaying the drug’s addictiveness—was employed to launch a far more potent product: OxyContin. The drug went on to generate some thirty-five billion dollars in revenue, and to launch a public health crisis in which hundreds of thousands would die.

This is the saga of three generations of a single family and the mark they would leave on the world, a tale that moves f

Uneven Justice: The Plot to Sink Galleon

The inside story of a case that illustrates the horrific perils of unchecked prosecutorial overreach, written by the man who experienced it firsthand.

Raj Rajaratnam, the respected founder of the iconic hedge fund Galleon Group, which managed $7 billion and employed 180 people in its heyday, chose to go to trial rather than concede to a false narrative concocted by ambitious prosecutors looking for a scapegoat for the 2008 financial crisis. Naively perhaps, Rajaratnam had expected to get a fair hearing in court. As an immigrant who had achieved tremendous success in his adopted country, he trusted the system. He had not anticipated prosecutorial overreach—inspired by political ambition—FBI fabrications, judicial compliance, and lies told under oath by cooperating witnesses. In the end, Rajaratnam was convicted and sentenced to eleven years in prison. He served seven and a half.

Meanwhile, not a single senior bank executive responsible for the financial crisis was even charged.

Uneven Justice is the story of his bewildering and confounding prosecution by forces who, quite frankly, were looking for bigger game. When Rajaratnam refused to support the narrative that would make that happen, he and the Galleon Group became collateral damage.

A cautionary tale with implications for us all, Uneven Justice is both a riveting page-turner and an eye-opening lesson in the vagaries of justice when an unscrupulous prosecutor is calling the shots.

Maus II: A Survivor’s Tale: And Here My Troubles Began

The second installment of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker).

A brutally moving work of art—widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats.

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father into an astonishing retelling of one of history’s most unspeakable tragedies. It is an unforgettable story of survival and a disarming look at the legacy of trauma.

Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History

The first installment of the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel acclaimed as “the most affecting and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust” (Wall Street Journal) and “the first masterpiece in comic book history” (The New Yorker).

A brutally moving work of art—widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats.

Maus is a haunting tale within a tale, weaving the author’s account of his tortured relationship with his aging father into an astonishing retelling of one of history’s most unspeakable tragedies. It is an unforgettable story of survival and a disarming look at the legacy of trauma.

Will

Will Smith’s transformation from a West Philadelphia kid to one of the biggest rap stars of his era, and then one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood history, is an epic tale—but it’s only half the story.

Will Smith thought, with good reason, that he had won at life: not only was his own success unparalleled, his whole family was at the pinnacle of the entertainment world. Only they didn’t see it that way: they felt more like star performers in his circus, a seven-days-a-week job they hadn’t signed up for. It turned out Will Smith’s education wasn’t nearly over.

This memoir is the product of a profound journey of self-knowledge, a reckoning with all that your will can get you and all that it can leave behind. Written with the help of Mark Manson, author of the multi-million-copy bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Will is the story of how one person mastered his own emotions, written in a way that can help everyone else do the same. Few of us will know the pressure of performing on the world’s biggest stages for the highest of stakes, but we can all understand that the fuel that works for one stage of our journey might have to be changed if we want to make it all the way home. The combination of genuine wisdom of universal value and a life story that is preposterously entertaining, even astonishing, puts Will the book, like its author, in a category by itself.

Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds

The daughter of Indian and Pakistani intellectuals and advocates who split their time between Saudi Arabia, the UK, and the United States, Abedin grew up in many worlds. Both/And grapples with family, legacy, identity, faith, marriage, and motherhood with wisdom and sophistication.

Abedin launched full steam into a college internship in the office of the first lady in 1996, never imagining that her work at the White House would blossom into a career in public service, nor that the career would become an all-consuming way of life. Still in her twenties and thirties, she thrived in rooms with diplomats and sovereigns, entrepreneurs and artists, philanthropists and activists, and witnessed many crucial moments in 21st-century American history—Camp David for urgent efforts at Middle East peace in the waning months of the Clinton administration, Ground Zero in the days after the 9/11 attacks, the inauguration of the first African American president of the United States, the convention floor when America nominated its first female presidential candidate.

Abedin’s relationship with Clinton has seen both women through extraordinary personal and professional highs, as well as unimaginable lows. Here, for the first time, is a deeply personal account of Hillary Clinton as mentor, confidante, and role model. Abedin cuts through caricature, rumor, and misinformation to reveal a crystal-clear portrait of Clinton as a brilliant and caring leader a steadfast friend, generous, funny, hardworking, and dedicated. Both/And is a candid and heartbreaking chronicle of Abedin’s marriage to Anthony Weiner, what drew her to him, how much she wanted to believe in him, the devastation wrought by his betrayals—and their shared love for their son.

It is also a timeless story of a young woman with aspirations and ideals coming into her own in high-pressure jobs, and a testament to the potential for women in leadership to blaze a path forward while supporting those who follow in their footsteps

The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family

“What was it like to grow up on TV?” Ron Howard has been asked this question throughout his adult life. in The Boys, he and his younger brother, Clint, examine their childhoods in detail for the first time. For Ron, playing Opie on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days offered fame, joy, and opportunity—but also invited stress and bullying. For Clint, a fast start on such programs as Gentle Ben and Star Trek petered out in adolescence, with some tough consequences and lessons.

With the perspective of time and success—Ron as a filmmaker, producer, and Hollywood A-lister, Clint as a busy character actor—the Howard brothers delve deep into an upbringing that seemed normal to them yet was anything but. Their Midwestern parents, Rance and Jean, moved to California to pursue their own showbiz dreams. But it was their young sons who found steady employment as actors. Rance put aside his ego and ambition to become Ron and Clint’s teacher, sage, and moral compass. Jean became their loving protector—sometimes over-protector—from the snares and traps of Hollywood.

By turns confessional, nostalgic, heartwarming, and harrowing, THE BOYS is a dual narrative that lifts the lid on the Howard brothers’ closely held lives. It’s the journey of a tight four-person family unit that held fast in an unforgiving business and of two brothers who survived “child-actor syndrome” to become fulfilled adults.

The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times (Global Icons Series)

Looking at the headlines—the worsening climate crisis, a global pandemic, loss of biodiversity, political upheaval—it can be hard to feel optimistic. And yet hope has never been more desperately needed.

In this urgent book, Jane Goodall, the world’s most famous living naturalist, and Douglas Abrams, the internationally bestselling co-author of The Book of Joy, explore through intimate and thought-provoking dialogue one of the most sought after and least understood elements of human nature: hope. In The Book of Hope, Jane focuses on her “Four Reasons for Hope”: The Amazing Human Intellect, The Resilience of Nature, The Power of Young People, and The Indomitable Human Spirit.

Drawing on decades of work that has helped expand our understanding of what it means to be human and what we all need to do to help build a better world, The Book of Hope touches on vital questions, including: How do we stay hopeful when everything seems hopeless? How do we cultivate hope in our children? What is the relationship between hope and action? Filled with moving and inspirational stories and photographs from Jane’s remarkable career, The Book of Hope is a deeply personal conversation with one of the most beloved figures in the world today.

While discussing the experiences that shaped her discoveries and beliefs, Jane tells the story of how she became a messenger of hope, from living through World War II to her years in Gombe to realizing she had to leave the forest to travel the world in her role as an advocate for environmental justice. And for the first time, she shares her profound revelations about her next, and perhaps final, adventure.

The second book in the Global Icons Series—which launched with the instant classic The Book of Joy with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu—The Book of Hope is a rare and intimate look not only at the nature of hope but also into the heart and mind of a woman who revolutionized how we view the world around us and has spent a

Going There

Heartbreaking, hilarious, and brutally honest, Going There is the deeply personal life story of a girl next door turned household name.

For more than forty years, Katie Couric has been an iconic presence in the media world. In her brutally honest, hilarious, heartbreaking memoir, she reveals what was going on behind the scenes of her sometimes tumultuous personal and professional life – a story she’s never shared, until now. Of the medium she loves, the one that made her a household name, she says, “Television can put you in a box; the flat-screen can flatten. On TV, you are larger than life but smaller, too. It is not the whole story, and it is not the whole me. This book is.”

Beginning in early childhood, Couric was inspired by her journalist father to pursue the career he loved but couldn’t afford to stay in. Balancing her vivacious, outgoing personality with her desire to be taken seriously, she overcame every obstacle in her way: insecurity, an eating disorder, being typecast, sexism . . . challenges, and how she dealt with them, setting the tone for the rest of her career. Couric talks candidly about adjusting to sudden fame after her astonishing rise to co-anchor of the TODAY show, and guides us through the most momentous events and news stories of the era, to which she had a front-row seat: Rodney King, Anita Hill, Columbine, the death of Princess Diana, 9/11, the Iraq War . . . In every instance, she relentlessly pursued the facts, ruffling more than a few feathers along the way. She also recalls in vivid and sometimes lurid detail the intense pressure on female anchors to snag the latest “get”—often sensational tabloid stories like Jon Benet Ramsey, Tonya Harding, and OJ Simpson.

Couric’s position as one of the leading lights of her profession was shadowed by the shock and trauma of losing her husband to stage 4 colon cancer when he was just 42, leaving her a widow and single mom to two daughters, 6 and 2. The death of her sister Emily, just three ye

Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice

They didn’t know who they had.

So begins Yusef Salaam telling his story. No one’s life is the sum of the worst things that happened to them, and during Yusef Salaam’s seven years of wrongful incarceration as one of the Central Park Five, he grew from child to man, and gained a spiritual perspective on life. Yusef learned that we’re all “born on purpose, with a purpose.” Despite having confronted the racist heart of America while being “run over by the spiked wheels of injustice,” Yusef channeled his energy and pain into something positive, not just for himself but for other marginalized people and communities.

Better Not Bitter is the first time that one of the now Exonerated Five is telling his individual story, in his own words. Yusef writes his narrative: growing up Black in central Harlem in the ’80s, being raised by a strong, fierce mother and grandmother, his years of incarceration, his reentry, and exoneration. Yusef connects these stories to lessons and principles he learned that gave him the power to survive through the worst of life’s experiences. He inspires readers to accept their own path, to understand their own sense of purpose. With his intimate personal insights, Yusef unpacks the systems built and designed for profit and the oppression of Black and Brown people. He inspires readers to channel their fury into action, and through the spiritual, to turn that anger and trauma into a constructive force that lives alongside accountability and mobilizes change.

This memoir is an inspiring story that grew out of one of the gravest miscarriages of justice, one that not only speaks to a moment in time or the rage-filled present, but reflects a 400-year history of a nation’s inability to be held accountable for its sins. Yusef Salaam’s message is vital for our times, a motivating resource for enacting change. Better, Not Bitter has the power to soothe, inspire and transform. It is a galvanizing call to action.

Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography

When Anthony Bourdain died in June 2018, fans around the globe came together to celebrate the life of an inimitable man who had dedicated his life to traveling nearly everywhere (and eating nearly everything), shedding light on the lives and stories of others. His impact was outsized and his legacy has only grown since his death.

Now, for the first time, we have been granted a look into Bourdain’s life through the stories and recollections of his closest friends and colleagues. Laurie Woolever, Bourdain’s longtime assistant and confidante, interviewed nearly a hundred of the people who shared Tony’s orbit—from members of his kitchen crews to his writing, publishing, and television partners, to his daughter and his closest friends—in order to piece together a remarkably full, vivid, and nuanced vision of Tony’s life and work.

From his childhood and teenage days, to his early years in New York, through the genesis of his game-changing memoir Kitchen Confidential to his emergence as a writing and television personality, and in the words of friends and colleagues including Eric Ripert, José Andrés, Nigella Lawson, and W. Kamau Bell, as well as family members including his brother and his late mother, we see the many sides of Tony—his motivations, his ambivalence, his vulnerability, his blind spots, and his brilliance.

Unparalleled in scope and deeply intimate in its execution, with a treasure trove of photos from Tony’s life, Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography is a t

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music

Having entertained the idea for years, and even offered a few questionable opportunities (“It’s a piece of cake! Just do 4 hours of interviews, find someone else to write it, put your face on the cover, and voila!”) I have decided to write these stories just as I have always done, in my own hand. The joy that I have felt from chronicling these tales is not unlike listening back to a song that I’ve recorded and can’t wait to share with the world, or reading a primitive journal entry from a stained notebook, or even hearing my voice bounce between the Kiss posters on my wall as a child.

This certainly doesn’t mean that I’m quitting my day job, but it does give me a place to shed a little light on what it’s like to be a kid from Springfield, Virginia, walking through life while living out the crazy dreams I had as young musician. From hitting the road with Scream at 18 years old, to my time in Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, jamming with Iggy Pop or playing at the Academy Awards or dancing with AC/DC and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, drumming for Tom Petty or meeting Sir Paul McCartney at Royal Albert Hall, bedtime stories with Joan Jett or a chance meeting with Little Richard, to flying halfway around the world for one epic night with my daughters…the list goes on. I look forward to focusing the lens through which I see these memories a little sharper for you with much excitement.

Not All Diamonds and Rosé: The Inside Story of The Real Housewives from the People Who Lived It

Dave Quinn’s Not All Diamonds and Rosé is the definitive oral history of the hit television franchise, from its unlikely start in the gated communities of Orange County to the pop culture behemoth it has become—spanning nine cities, hundreds of cast members, and millions of fans.

What is it really like to be a housewife? We all want to know, but only the women we love to watch and the people who make the show have the whole story. Well, listen in close, because they’re about to tell all.

Nearly all the wives, producers, and network executives, as well as Andy Cohen himself, are on the record, unfiltered and unvarnished about what it really takes to have a tagline. This is your VIP pass to the lives behind the glam squads, testimonials, and tabloid feuds.

Life’s not all diamonds and rosé, but the truth is so much better, isn’t it?

Taste: My Life Through Food

Stanley Tucci grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the kitchen table. He shared the magic of those meals with us in The Tucci Cookbook and The Tucci Table, and now he takes us beyond the savory recipes and into the compelling stories behind them.​

Taste is a reflection on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about his growing up in Westchester, New York; preparing for and shooting the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia; falling in love over dinner; and teaming up with his wife to create meals for a multitude of children. Each morsel of this gastronomic journey through good times and bad, five-star meals and burned dishes, is as heartfelt and delicious as the last.

Written with Stanley’s signature wry humor, Taste is for fans of Bill Buford, Gabrielle Hamilton, and Ruth Reichl—and anyone who knows the power of a home-cooked meal.

Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark

On Good Friday in 1953, at only 18 months old, 25 miles from the nearest hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, Cassandra Peterson reached for a pot on the stove and doused herself in boiling water. Third-degree burns covered 35% of her body, and the prognosis wasn’t good. But she survived. Burned and scarred, the impact stayed with her and became an obstacle she was determined to overcome. Feeling like a misfit led to her love of horror. While her sisters played with Barbie dolls, Cassandra built model kits of Frankenstein and Dracula, and idolized Vincent Price.

Due to a complicated relationship with her mother, Cassandra left home at 14, and by age 17 she was performing at the famed Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Run-ins with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Tom Jones helped her grow up fast. Then a chance encounter with her idol Elvis Presley, changed the course of her life forever, and led her to Europe where she worked in film and traveled Italy as lead singer of an Italian pop band. She eventually made her way to Los Angeles, where she joined the famed comedy improv group, The Groundlings, and worked alongside Phil Hartman and Paul “Pee-wee” Reubens, honing her comedic skills.

Nearing age 30, a struggling actress considered past her prime, she auditioned at local LA channel KHJ as hostess for the late night vintage horror movies. Cassandra improvised, made the role her own, and got the job on the spot. Yours Cruelly, Elvira is an unforgettably wild memoir. Cassand

Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam

There’s a new invisible force at work in our economic and cultural lives. It affects every advertisement we see and every product we buy, from our morning coffee to a new pair of shoes. “Stakeholder capitalism” makes rosy promises of a better, more diverse, environmentally-friendly world, but in reality this ideology championed by America’s business and political leaders robs us of our money, our voice, and our identity.

Vivek Ramaswamy is a traitor to his class. He’s founded multibillion-dollar enterprises, led a biotech company as CEO, he became a hedge fund partner in his 20s, trained as a scientist at Harvard and a lawyer at Yale, and grew up the child of immigrants in a small town in Ohio. Now he takes us behind the scenes into corporate boardrooms and five-star conferences, into Ivy League classrooms and secretive nonprofits, to reveal the defining scam of our century.

The modern woke-industrial complex divides us as a people. By mixing morality with consumerism, America’s elites prey on our innermost insecurities about who we really are. They sell us cheap social causes and skin-deep identities to satisfy our hunger for a cause and our search for meaning, at a moment when we as Americans lack both.

This book not only rips back the curtain on the new corporatist agenda, it offers a better way forward. America’s elites may want to sort us into demographic boxes, but we don’t have to stay there. Woke, Inc. begins as a critique of stakeholder capitalism and ends wi

The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health

When the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since November 1984 and the leading architect of “agency capture”—the corporate seizure of America’s public health agencies by the pharmaceutical industry—happen to be the same man, conflicts of interest arise. Wearing both hats, Dr. Anthony Stephen Fauci, tasked with managing the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, peddled and back-pedaled his prescriptions as Pharma profits and bureaucratic powers grew and public health waned.

Working in tandem with his long-term partner, billionaire Bill Gates, to corral Americans toward a single vaccine solution to COVID, Dr. Fauci committed zero dollars to studying or promoting early treatment with various drug combinations that could dramatically reduce deaths and hospitalizations. Meanwhile, in an assault on our First Amendment guarantee of free speech, Dr. Fauci’s Silicon Valley and media allies dutifully censored criticism of his policies on mainstream social media and collaborated to muzzle any medical information about therapies and treatments that might end the pandemic and compete with vaccines.

After effectively abolishing the First Amendment right to free speech, Dr. Fauci subverted our Seventh Amendment rights to jury trials by arranging to shield reckless and negligent pharmaceutical corporations from liability for injuries from any COVID countermeasures, including vaccines. His lockdowns targeted First Amendment religious freedom by closing

A Notebook of Love: My story on Mental Health

Luis a U.S. Army War Veteran and his wife are separated and about to divorce after 14 years of marriage. Luis has Bipolar and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and faces a tough question from his wife, who has various mental illnesses: Is she worthy of love? She knows very little of his mental health and history of abuse, leading Luis into a mental whirlwind and trying to find a valid answer. Luis reveals his true love and worthiness by providing his story and perspective from his beginning to the present. Luis provides details about being a victim of child abuse, alcoholism, Bipolar Disorder, and PTSD and strives for self-improvement, from a Male’s perspective.
Love – Borderline Personality disorder – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Bipolar Disorder – Anxiety – Depression – Marriage

Have God – will travel

Autobiography of Christine Eastmond. Recounted are her varied and frequently amusing experiences as a missionary in the UK, with the Church Army and, then as a WVs staff member with the Armed Forces in Germany and, still with the W(R)VS, in Penang. Her most hair-raising experiences were her responsibilities in the Church Army home for girls on probation..

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield’s success-and survival-is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst- and enjoy every moment of it.

In An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement-and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don’t visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff.

You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your own.

The Way Forward: Master Life’s Toughest Battles and Create Your Lasting Legacy

Rob O’Neill and Dakota Meyer are two of the most decorated and recognized US service members: O’Neill killed the world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, and Meyer was the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. But beyond their actions and courage in combat, O’Neill and Meyer also have much in common in civilian life: they are both sought-after public speakers, advocates for veterans, and share a non-PC sense of humor. Combining the best of military memoirs and straight-talking self-help, The Way Forward alternates between O’Neill’s and Meyer’s perspectives, looking back with humor at even the darkest war stories, and sharing lessons they learned along the way.

The Way Forward presents O’Neill and Meyer’s philosophy in combat and life. This isn’t a book about the glory of war and combat, but one about facing your enemies, some who are flesh and blood and some that are not: Your thoughts. Your doubts. Your boredom and your regrets. From Rob’s dogged repetition at the free throw line of his childhood basketball court to Dakota’s pursuit of EMT and firefighter credentials to aid accident victims, these two American heroes turn their experiences into valuable lessons for every reader.

Gritty and down-to-earth, O’Neill and Meyer tell their stories with candor and vulnerability to help readers handle stress, tackle their biggest obstacles, and exceed their expectations of themselves, while keeping life’s battles in perspective with a sense of humor.

Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood

On screen, Danny Trejo the actor is a baddie who has been killed at least a hundred times. He’s been shot, stabbed, hanged, chopped up, squished by an elevator, and once, was even melted into a bloody goo. Off screen, he’s a hero beloved by recovery communities and obsessed fans alike. But the real Danny Trejo is much more complicated than the legend.

Raised in an abusive home, Danny struggled with heroin addiction and stints in some of the country’s most notorious state prisons—including San Quentin and Folsom—from an early age, before starring in such modern classics as Heat, From Dusk till Dawn, and Machete. Now, in this funny, painful, and suspenseful memoir, Danny takes us through the incredible ups and downs of his life, including meeting one of the world’s most notorious serial killers in prison and working with legends like Charles Bronson and Robert De Niro.

An honest, unflinching, and “inspirational study in the definition of character” (Kevin Smith, director and actor), Trejo reveals how he managed the horrors of prison, rebuilt himself after finding sobriety and spirituality in solitary confinement, and draws inspiration from the adrenaline-fueled robbing heists of his past for the film roles that made him a household name. He also shares the painful contradictions in his personal life. Although he speaks everywhere from prison yards to NPR about his past to inspire countless others on their own road to recovery and redemption, he struggles to help his children