The news that Colin Powell has passed away due to coronavirus complications has hit the world like a hurricane – one of the most awarded American heroes and a prolific figure in the defense of the country. He was often seen hanging around powerful people, helping in critical situations and coming up with exquisite plans.

There are more biographies out there to celebrate his life and give the world a deeper insight into his tumultuous life. Different authors have analyzed his life from different points of view, but they have also targeted different aspects – from his success and growth to his military development and powerful influence around American presidents.

A brief Colin Powell biography

The Colin Powell biography begins with his status – a statesman, a four-star general, a secretary of state and a diplomat. What brought him popularity was the fact that he was the first Africa-American secretary of state. Over the years, he was also a national security advisor, as well as a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

But then, Colin Powell's life was not always pink. He was born in 1937 in New York City to two Jamaican immigrants. He has barely managed to graduate from college and he joined the army. From that point up, his career has always gone up. He spent 35 years of his life as a professional soldier. His last military assignment ended in 1993.

During the last years of his life, Colin Powell was diagnosed with blood cancer. This type of cancer lowers and affects the immune system. He was receiving treatment for it in order to keep it under control. However, in 2021, he caught the coronavirus. With a weak immune system, his body could not handle the complications, so he passed away in October, 2021.

Here are some of the best biographies on Colin Powell’s life – some valuable lessons of military, respect, hard work and dedication.

My American Journey, by Colin Powell and Joseph E. Persico

The best Colin Powell biography out there is probably the one he wrote himself along with Joseph E. Persico. This book reveals the American dream in the smallest details. Two Jamaicans immigrated to the USA and gave birth to a kid who was about to become a local legend. Struggling with the rough life on the streets, Colin Powell joined the army.

Everything else is history. His name has often been associated with the war in Vietnam, the Pentagon, the Panama conflict or the Desert Storm fights. So far, his story has only been disclosed on the surface. This book goes into smaller details and provides some information that the average reader may not be aware of.

Colin Powell tells the reader how everything happened due to his love for the country. The book features good humor too, as well as the direct and straightforward approach of a soldier. It is a warm book written straight from the heart. It also discloses some points of view that lots of readers will be interested in – definitely worth a read.

Colin Powell, by James Haskins

This book can reveal some hidden aspects about Colin Powell, but it may also cover things that you are already aware of. It is a complete Colin Powell biography starting with the beginning and ending with the last days of his career. It shows the struggle in Colin Powell’s early years, as well as the success he embraced later on.

Unlike other biographies, it is not rich in small details – things that only close family members would know. But then, it is written in a simple and timely manner. Everything makes sense. It reveals the path to success associated with a young man who struggled to graduate, only to become one of the most successful military men in history.

The book is focused on Colin Powell’s greatest successes and celebrates the fact that he was the first black man to reach the highest military position in the USA.

Soldier, by Karen DeYoung

Colin Powell has spent a lifetime of service to the USA. He is a national hero and proof of wise leadership. According to various polls, he was one of the most trusted people in the USA. He had humble origins, but he has reached the most impressive levels of government in four different administrations – not to mention guiding the country to a series of military conflicts.

The author takes the reader through Colin Powell's first years in the Bronx and goes through his meteoric rise. Given her experience as a journalist, Karen DeYoung approaches this biography from a completely different point of view. She integrated the neighborhood, the racial issues, as well as the personal life – the marriage to Alma Johnson.

Whether it is the architecture behind the Desert Storm operation or the high positions under Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush, Colin Powell has become an international celebrity, as well as a household name. He had an untarnished reputation and a great ideology that is widely embraced in this detailed book.

It Worked for Me, by Colin Powell and Tony Koltz

This is another masterpiece released by Colin Powell himself, helped by Tony Koltz. The Colin Powell biography reveals his points of view from different directions. It describes the struggle, thoughts, and ideas that brought him to the highest levels in the USA. It shows how he has managed to handle success while still staying humble.

This book is not just about Colin Powell’s successful military venture. It is not only about his career. Instead, it is also about his personal life. Find out more about his marriage and personal life, but also discover the things that pushed him forward. After all, he is about to reveal what worked for him – both in life and leadership.

The book has great humor and is filled with various experiences from Colin Powell's life. It shows you how he has handled different situations – more or less pleasant. The book is on the so-called 13 rules that have always worked for him. Whether you use it as a motivational book or a more detailed biography, it is definitely worth a read.

Colin Powell, by Jeffrey J. Matthews

Colin Powell has been one of the most trusted leaders in the USA for decades. This Colin Powell biography shows that his development over more decades and personal growth were based on some strict and strong principles. It shows what it takes to experience a stunning rise from an immigrant neighborhood to the highest position in the military.

Once a teenager without too many goals in life, Colin Powell became a loyal subordinate to many presidents and superiors. In turn, he was helped to advance his successful career. By the time he became an international celebrity, he had developed incredible skills – competent, honorable, motivated and independent. He was proven to be a fallible patriot who made the difference.

This book is a fascinating biography and it is mostly focused on his professional life, his career and successful venture. It shows what people can read from both his best moments and his worst leadership situations. It is more interesting for people involved with leadership and politics, but it is just as handy for those who want to know more about an American hero.

Colin Powel, by Howard Means

This is one of the most in depth biographies of Colin Powell out there. It revolves around his rise to national prominence and positions that only a few people out there can aim for. He was an international figure, as well as one of the most trusted military leaders of his time – serving under a few different administrations.

The book is not new and will stop suddenly after the Desert Storm operation. Colin Powell kept growing and gaining notoriety after those moments. However, it is quite deep and reveals various details that other books may not include. It is mostly aimed at military and politics enthusiasts who want to know more about how the government works.

Colin Powell, by Wil Mara

Wil Mara’s book on Colin Powell adopts a different approach. This book will reveal standards, events and happenings that led Colin Powell to go from an aimless teenager to a prolific leader. It shows some of the events that shaped his perception in life and boosted his career.

There are different elements considered in the book, from his early school years to his reaction to different situations throughout his career. There are more reflections on his personality and culture, as well as unique points of view on perceptions, capabilities and ideas.


As a short final conclusion, these are some of the most interesting biographies out there. Choosing the best Colin Powell biography could be difficult. It makes sense to start with the books he wrote himself – who could express ideas and opinions better than Colin Powell himself? But then, others’ points of view are also worth some attention, as they assess happenings and events from a different perspective that could reveal more considerations.​