Although Billy Graham wrote many autobiographies including the 1997 Best-seller Just As I Am, Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well (2011), and Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond (2015), many others took an opportunity to examine the popular evangelist’s life as well. With Graham’s recent passing near the approach of his 100th birthday, there should no doubt be multiple re-releases of Graham’s titles as well as many new retrospective biographies on his life and legacy.
Here’s a short list of Billy Graham biographies for you to explore:
A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story by William C. Martin was first published by William Morrow in 1991. Drawing on nearly two hundred interviews, access to never-used archival materials, personal observations of Graham’s crusades and conferences in the United States and Europe, long conversations with Graham himself, and decades of research on Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christianity, Martin chronicles Graham’s ascent from preaching in front of saloons to addressing huge throngs in the world’s largest arenas. With the aid of documents from six presidential libraries and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Archives, Martin also examines the evangelist’s friendship with scores of world leaders.
Marshall Frady’s Billy Graham, a parable of American Righteousness (1979), is an epic biography of the most prominent and popular religious leader in America. With unparalleled access to Billy Graham and his family and associates, Frady presents an intimate and multifaceted portrait of Graham, from his childhood upbringing in the midlands of North Carolina to his ascent to national recognition. Frady’s narrative encompasses the man, his spiritual mission, and his political involvements and bears witness to the preeminent position Graham has held in American life for more than five decades. This remains the most compelling and definitive biography of him to date.
The Prince of War: Billy Graham’s Crusade for a Wholly Christian Empire (2007), by Cecil Bothwell, is a widely acclaimed political biography of Reverend Billy Graham which traces his vocal support for war in communication with presidents from Truman to George W. Bush, together with his opposition to the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. This unauthorized biography has been updated to include newly available information, and selected book recommendations and reviews by the author.
Billy Graham: A Biography of America’s Greatest Evangelist by W. Terry Whalin was first published in 2002. This easy-to-read biography tells Billy Graham’s story, including his humble beginnings as a southern farm boy, his calling to the ministry, the start of the crusades, his service to America’s leaders, and his later years preaching around the globe. Part of the ‘Men of Faith’ series this book looks to encourage and inspire.
Written by long-time TIME magazine contributors Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House, first published in 2007, reveals how the world’s most powerful men and world’s most famous evangelist, Billy Graham, knit faith and politics together.
Grant Wacker, a professor at the Duke University Divinity School and renowned scholar of Graham’s life, published America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation in 2014 as an in-depth study of why Graham mattered so much to so many people. Wacker is releasing another book, One Soul at a Time: A Short Life of Billy Graham, a simplified and condensed study of Graham, in late 2018.
Amy C. Manikowski is a writer living in Asheville, NC.