readable book by Pankaj Mishra. His book is called "An end to Suffering: The Buddha in the World," It is more than just a biography. As one reviewer noted, it "is part biography, part history, part travel book, part philosophic treatise."
Mishra is not a Buddhist himself. He could not sit long enough to meditate but he did live in a small Himalayan village where he researched and wrote much of the book. Mishra's Buddha was not a prophet or religious figure, writes a NY Times reviewer, but a secular one.
Listen to Mishra's short interview with Krista Tippet on her show, On Being.