Culture

The Best Memoirs Ever Written 

Ranker Books
Updated February 12, 2020 5.5k votes 1.4k voters 126.1k views 60 items

The best memoirs throughout literary history have managed to both educate and entertain readers over the years. They have introduced characters as compelling as any work of fiction - the world is able to know Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank, David Sedaris, and Maya Angelou through the pages of their famous memoirs. What are the best memoirs of all time? This list of popular memoirs includes literary works of art that provide historical accounts and biographies that were written from personal knowledge of historical accounts.

The thing that sets a top memoir apart from other literary works such as biographies or autobiographies is that it includes the personal experiences and first-hand accounts of the author. For example, Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl only discusses key experiences she lived through during the Holocaust, and the effects it had on her as a child.

In contrast, an autobiography will cover the entire span of the author’s life, such as The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams. Such works of literary will be a broader-focused perspective of an author’s life experiences instead of a more narrowed, single approach to a historical event. Both memoirs and autobiographies are true because they discuss true events that the author experienced or were a part of in some way. There are many different genres of memoirs that discuss a variety of topics. For a lighthearted read, Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom is one of reader’s top picks. If you’re looking for a more serious approach, consider Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place.
list ordered by
1
The Glass Castle is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Jeannette Walls
2
The Diary of a Young Gir... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
3
Angela's Ashes is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Frank McCourt
4
Night is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Elie Wiesel
5
I Know Why the Caged Bir... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
6
A Child Called "It&... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Dave Pelzer
7
Running with Scissors is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Augusten Burroughs
8
Tuesdays With Morrie is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Mitch Albom
9
The Liars' Club is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Mary Karr
10
All Creatures Great and ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
11
Me Talk Pretty One Day ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
David Sedaris
12
On Writing: A Memoir of ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
13
Midnight in the Garden o... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
14
This Boy's Life: A Memoi... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
noiradelic added Tobias Wolff
15
Girl, Interrupted is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Susanna Kaysen
16
Out of Africa is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Isak Dinesen
17
'Tis: A Memoir is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Frank McCourt
18
The Autobiography of Mal... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Alex Haley, Malcolm X
19
Just Kids is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Patti Smith
20
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
21
Persepolis is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
Marjane Satrapi
22
Don't Let's Go to the Do... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
23
Naked is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
David Sedaris
24
Marley & Me: Life an... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written
25
The Color of Water: A Bl... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Memoirs Ever Written