John Stuart Mill was one of the most influential political writers of his era. Many issues interested him which we imagine to be purely modern concerns: feminisim, animal rights, political corruption, state education, and the problems of the urban poor.
Mill's main aim to is to chart the progress of his thinking from his boyhood until the end of the his life. His autobiography gives a broad survey of his ideas and opinions about philosophy, politics, and economics (although I recommend his books, such as 'Utilitarianism' and 'On Liberty' for a closer insight into his powerful beliefs.)
Apart from being a greater writer and (briefly) politician, Mill had a fascinating personal life. He was born in 1806, son of the philosopher and historian James Mill, and when he was only three years old his father started teaching him Greek. Throughout his childhood, John Stuart Mill was kept from other children of his own age and never allowed to participate in physical games and activities, and was instead put through a harsh and exacting regime of intellectual activities by his bad-tempered and demanding father. Mill says this left him emotionally sterile, but it certainly prepared him for becoming a thinker.
At 20, he had a nervous breakdown when he began to believe that he could never change the world for the better, and only reading the Romantic poets pulled him from his depression.
A few years later, he fell in love with Harriet Taylor, a married woman. He carried on a secret and unconsumated affair with her for nearly a decade, until her husband died, and he was able to marry her.Mill believed that Harriet, who he loved deeply and sincerely, was a far greater genius than him, and contributed more than he did to most of his writings. However, the marriage ended in tragedy, and Mill's only consolation was her daughter, who founded the organised Sufragettes movement.
Mill was a great man, and had an enthralling life. This is an excellent autobiography.