Collection of Presidential Biographies

Presidential Biographies

Those in italics are those I have in my library


Ron Chernow, Washington, A Life 2010

Douglas Southall Freeman:  Washington  (Abridgment of 7 volume)

Richard Brookhiser:  Rediscovering George Washington:  Founding Father

Morris H. Hancock:  Washington’s Life and Military Career, 1902

James Thomas Flexner, George Washington:  The Forge of Experience, 1965

James Thomas Flexner, George Washington in the American Revolution, 1967

James Thomas Flexner, George Washington and the New Nation, 1970

James Thomas Flexner, George Washington:  Anguish and Farewell  1972

(SF Recommended:  Flexner’s 4 volume)

James Thomas Flexner, Washington:  The Indispensable Man (abridgment 1974)

Joseph Ellis, His Excellency:  George Washington

Richard Norton Smith, Patriarch:  George Washington and the New American Nation

            (SF:  dry, narrow, focus on presidency)

John Ferlin, The Ascent of George Washington

            (SF:  a negative argument)

David O. Stewart, George Washington:  The Political Rise of America’s Founding Father              (2021, (read from library, excellent)

J. Adams

David McCullough, John Adams  2001

Page Smith, John Adams (2 Vol) 1962

John Ferling, John Adams:  A Life

James Grant:  John Adams: Party of One 

            (SF:  poorly written, good focus on economics)

Joseph Ellis, Passionate Sage:  The Character and Legacy of John Adams)

            (SF:  dry, academic, character analysis, philosophical treatise)

Joseph Ellis, First Family:  Abigail and John Adams

Stephen G. Kurtz:  The Presidency of John Adams:  The Collapse of Federalism 1795-1800 

Lynne Withey:  Dearest Friend, A Life of Abigail Adams


Dumas Malone, Jefferson the Virginian

Dumas Malone, Jefferson and the Rights of Man

Dumas Malone, Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty

Dumas Malone, Jefferson the President First Term

Dumas Malone, Jefferson the President Second Term

Dumas Malone, The Sage of Monticello

Merrill Peterson, Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation  1970

Joseph Ellis, American Sphinx:  The Character of Thomas Jefferson

Alan Pell Crawford, Twilight at Monticello:  The Final Years of Thomas Jefferson 2008

Jon Meacham, Thomas Jefferson:  The Art of Power

Willard Sterne Randall, Thomas Jefferson:  A Life

            (SF:  least favorite, focus on legal studies and career)

John Ferling:  Jefferson and Hamilton: The Rivalry That Forged a Nation


John Ferling: Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800


Ralph Ketcham, James Madison:  A Biography  1971

Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg, Madison and Jefferson

Richard Brookhiser, James Madison

Kevin Gutzman, James Madison and the Making of America

            (SF:  more about the making of the constitution)

Lynn Cheney, James Madison:  A Life Reconsidered  2014

Bruce Chadwick:  James and Dolley Madison

Garry Wills:  James Madison AP

Elizabeth Dowling Taylor:  A Slave in the White House:  Paul Jennings and the Madisons

Noah Feldman:  The Three Lives of James Madison


Harry Ammon, James Monroe:  The Quest for National Identity

Harlow Unger, The Last Founding Father:  James Monroe

            (SF:  not an objective historian)

Tim McGrath, James Monroe:  A Life

J. Q. Adams

Marie Hecht, John Quincy Adams:  A Personal History of an Independent Man

Paul Nagel, John Quincy Adams:  A Public Life, a Private Life

Joseph Wheelan, Mr. Adams’s Last Crusade

Harlow Unger, John Quincy Adams

Lynn Hudson Parsons:  John Quincy Adams

James Traub, John Quincy Adams:  Militant Spirit


Marquis James, The Life of Andrew Jackson (1930)

Arthur Schlesinger, The Age of Jackson

            (SF:  more a history of the time)

Robert Remini, Andrew Jackson:  The Course of American Empire

Robert Remini, Andrew Jackson:  The Course of American Freedom

Robert Remini, Andrew Jackson:  The Course of American Democracy

Robert Remini, The Life of Andrew Jackson

Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger:  Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans

H.W. Brands, Andrew Jackson:  This Life and Times  2005

Jon Meacham, American Lion:  Andrew Jackson in the White House  2008

Van Buren

John Niven, Martin Van Buren:  The Romantic Age of American Politics

            (SF:  very detailed, with little guidance through facts)

Donald Cole:  Martin Van Buren and the American Political System

Ted Widmer, Martin Van Buren AP

Major Wilson, The Presidency of Martin Van Buren APS

W. Harrison

Freeman Cleaves, Old Tippecane:  William Henry Harrison and His Time, 1939

Robert Owens, Mr. Jefferson’s Hammer:  William Henry Harrison and the Origins of American Indian Policy

Gail Collins:  William Henry Harrison

Richard Hildreth:  The People’s Presidential Candidate:  Or the Life of William Henry Harrison

Norma Lois Peterson:  The Presidencies of William Henry Harrison and John Tyler 


Oliver Chitwood, John Tyler:  Champion of the Old South

Edward Crapol, John Tyler:  The Accidental President

Gary May, John Tyler

Christopher Leahy, President without a Party:  The Life of John Tyler

J. J. Perling:  The President Take a Wife  

            Julia Gardiner Tyler biography

Norma Lois Peterson:  The Presidencies of William Henry Harrison and John Tyler 

Robert Seager II:  And Tyler Too 


Robert Merry, A Country of Vast Designs:  James Polk, the Mexican War, and the Conquest of the American Continent

Walter Borneman, Polk:  The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America  2008

Sam Haynes, James K. Polk and the Expansionist Impulse

John Seigenthaler:  James K. Polk AP


Jack Bauer, Zachary Taylor:  Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest 1985

John Eisenhower, Zachary Taylor 2008

Holman Hamilton:  Zachary Taylor:  Soldier in the White House

Elbert B. Smith:  The Presidencies of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore APS


Elbert B. Smith:  The Presidencies of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore APS

Robert Rayback, Millard Fillmore:  Biography of a President, 1959

Paul Finkelman, Millard Fillmore 2011 (very prejudiced against Fillmore, not valid history)

Charles M. Snyder:  The Lady and the President:  The Letters of Dorthea Dix and Millard Fillmore


Roy Nichols, Franklin Pierce:  Young Hickory of the Granite Hills  1931

Peter Wallner, Franklin Pierce:  New Hampshire’s Favorite Son  2004

Peter Wallner, Franklin Pierce:  Martyr for the Union 2007

Michael Holt, Franklin Pierce  2010


Philip Klein, President James Buchanan:  A Biography  1962

            (SF:  errors in being too forgiving)

Jean Baker, James Buchanan 2004

            (SF:  one sided and harsh)

John Quist and Michael Birkner:  James Buchanan and the Coming of the Civil War

Elbert B. Smith:  The Presidency of James B. Buchanan  APS


Doris Kearns Goodwin, The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln:  A Life (2 volumes) 2008

Ronald White, A. Lincoln:  A Biography  2009

David Donald, Lincoln 1995

Stephen Oates, With Malice Toward None:  The Life of Abraham Lincoln 1977

Benjamin Thomas, Abraham Lincoln 1952

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals:  The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln 2005

Eric Foner, The Fiery Trial:  Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery 2010 (Pulitzer)

James McPherson, Tried by War:  Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief 2008

Allen Guelzo, Abraham Lincoln:  Redeemer President

            (SF:  tedious except for exceptional last chapter)

Douglas Wilson:  Lincoln’s Sword:  The Presidency and the Power of Words

Garry Wills:  Lincoln at Gettysburg:  The Words That Remade America

Joe Wheeler:  Abraham Lincoln:  A Man of Faith and Courage

Abraham Lincoln:  Speeches, Letters, Miscellaneous Writings, Lincoln Douglas Debates 1832-1859

Abraham Lincoln:  Speeches, Letters, Miscellaneous Writings, Presidential Messages and Proclamations, 1859-1865

Mario Cuomo and Harold Holzer:  Lincoln on Democracy:  His Own Words, with Essays by America’s Foremost Civil War Historians

Douglas L. Wilson:  Lincoln Before Washington:  New Perspectives on the Illinois Years

William Marvel:  Mr. Lincoln Goes to War

Douglas Wilson:  Honor’s Voice:  The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln

Philip Van Doren Stern:  The Life and Writings of Abraham Lincoln

Martha Hodes:  Mourning Lincoln

L. Pierce Clark:  Lincoln:  A Psycho-Biography

Richard Carwardine:  Lincoln:  A Life of Purpose and Power

John C. Waugh:  Re-electing Lincoln:  The Battle for the 1864 Presidency

A. Johnson

Hans Trefousse, Andrew Johnson:  A Biography

Howard Means, The Avenger Takes His Place:  Andrew Johnson and the 45 Days that Changed a Nation 2006

            (SF:  insightful but scattered)

David Stewart, Impeached:  The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy 

Eric McKitrick, Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction 1960

Annette Gordon-Reed:  Andrew Johnson  AP

Albert Castel, The Presidency of Andrew Johnson  APS

Lately Thomas:  The First President Johnson:  The Three Lives of the Seventeenth President of the United States of America

Brenda Wineapple:  The Impeachers


William McFeely, Grant:  A Biography  1981

            (SF:  well known for negative feelings about Grant)

Geoffrey Perret, Ulysses S. Grant:  Soldier and President 1997

            (SF: hyperbole, fawning, but captivating)

Brooks Simpson, Ulysses S. Grant:  Triumph Over Adversity 1822-1865

Jean Edward Smith, Grant 2001 

Josiah Bunting, Ulysses S. Grant (American Presidents)

H.W. Brand, The Man Who Saved the Union:  Ulysses S. Grant in War and Peace  2012

Ronald White, American Ulysses:  A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

Ron Chernow, Grant 2017

U.S. Grant:  Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant


Ari Hoogenboom, Rutherford B. Hayes: Warrior and President  1995

Hans Trefousse, Rutherford B. Hayes

Harry Barnard, Rutherford B. Hayes:  And His America 1954

Ari Hoogenboom:  The Presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes  APS

Charles Richard Williams: The Life of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volumes I and II


Roy Morris, Jr.: Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876


Millard, Candice, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President 2011

Kenneth Ackerman, Dark Horse:  the Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield  2003

Allan Peskin, Garfield:  A Biography  1978

Margaret Leech, The Garfield Orbit

Justus D. Doenecke, The Presidencies of James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur


Thomas Reeves, Gentleman Boss:  The Life and Times of Chester Alan Arthur 1975

Zachary Karabell, Chester Alan Arthur  2004 AP

Justus D. Doenecke, The Presidencies of James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur

Scott S. Greenberger:  The Unexpected President:  The Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur


Robert McElroy, Grover Cleveland: The Man and the Statesman, Volumes I and II

Allan Nevin, Grover Cleveland:  A Study in Courage  1932

H. Paul Jeffers, An Honest President:  The Life and Presidencies of Grover Cleveland  2000

Alyn Brodsky, Grover Cleveland:  A Study in Character  

Horace Samuel Merrill, Bourbon Leader:  Grover Cleveland and the Democratic Party 1957

            (SF:  intended to present negative view of subject)

Matthew Algeo:  The President is a Sick Man:  Grover Cleveland…Secret Surgery…Vilifies Press

Richard E. Welch, Jr.:  The Presidencies of Grover Cleveland APS

Henry Graff:  Grover Cleveland AP

B. Harrison

Charles Calhoun, Benjamin Harrison

Harry J. Sievers, Benjamin Harrison:  Hoosier Warrior

Harry J. Sievers, Benjamin Harrison:  Hoosier Statesman

Harry J. Sievers, Benjamin Harrison:  Hoosier President

Homer Socolofsky and Allan Spetter, The Presidency of Benjamin Harrison 1987


Margaret Leech, In the Days of McKinley  1959

Wayne Morgan, William McKinley and His America 1963

Louis Gould, The Presidency of William McKinley 1980

Scott Miller, The President and the Assassin:  McKinley, Terror and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century 2011 

Robert W. Merry:  President McKinley

T. Roosevelt

Edmund Morris, Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex

Edmund Morris, Colonel Roosevelt

Henry Pringle, Theodore Roosevelt:  A Biography 1931

John Blum, The Republican Roosevelt 1954

William Harbaugh, Power and Responsibility:  The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt  1961

David McCullough, Mornings on Horseback 1981

            (SF:  early life, colorful)

Nathan Miller, Theodore Roosevelt:  A Life

            (SF:  lifeless and anticeptic)

H.W. Brands, TR:  The Last Romantic  1997

Kathleen Dalton, Theodore Roosevelt:  A Strenuous Life  2001

            (SF:  in an attempt at balance, loses the extremes of Roosevelt)

Candice Millard, The River of Doubt:  Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey 2005

Jean Yarbrough, Theodore Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition 2012

Doris Kearns Goodwin, The Bully Pulpit:  Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism 2013

Patricia O’Toole, When Trumpets Call:  Theodore Roosevelt After the White House  2005


Henry Pringle, The Life and Times of William Howard Taft 1939

Louis Gould, The William Howard Taft Presidency

Doris Kearns Goodwin, The Bully Pulpit:  Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism 2013


Arthur Walworth, Woodrow Wilson:  American Prophet

Arthur Walworth, Woodrow Wilson:  World Prophet

            Now in one volume

John Milton Cooper, The Warrior and the Priest:  Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt 1983

Kendrick Clements, Woodrow Wilson:  World Stateman 1987

            (SF:  filled with facts and readable, but too thin)

August Heckscher, Woodrow Wilson:  A Biography 1991

Louis Auchincloss:  Woodrow Wilson

John Milton Cooper, Woodrow Wilson:  A Biography  2010

A. Scott Berg, Wilson  2013

Ray Stannard Baker, Woodrow Wilson:  Life and Letters (7 or 8 volumes)

Arthur S. Link, (five volumes through first part of presidency, never finished)

Arthur Link:  Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era, 1910-1917

Phyllis Lee Levin:  Edith and Woodrow


Francis Russell, The Shadow of Blooming Grove:  Warren G. Harding and His Times 1968

            (SF:  more of a tabloid expose)

John Dean, Warren G. Harding

Andrew Sinclair, The Available Man:  The Life Behind the Masks of Warren Gamaliel Harding  1965

            (SF:  broad, hurried, platitudes)

Robert Murray, The Harding Era:  Warren G. Harding and His Administration 1969

Samuel H. Adams, Incredible Era:  The Life and Times of Warren Gamaliel Harding 1939

Robert H. Ferrell:  The Strange Death of President Harding

Carl Sferrazza Anthony:  Florence Harding:  The First Lady, The Jazz Age, and the Death of America’s Most Scandalous President

Eugene P. Trani and David L. Wilson:  The Presidency of Warren G. Harding  APS


Amity Shalaes, Coolidge 2013

Robert A. Woods, The Preparation of Calvin Coolidge 1924

Horace Green, The Life of Calvin Coolidge 1924

Claude Fuess, Calvin Coolidge:  The Man from Vermont 1939

            (SF:  close to a hagiography)

William Allen White, A Puritan in Babylon:  the Story of Calvin Coolidge 1938

            (SF:  flawed and opinionated)

Donald McCoy, Calvin Coolidge:  The Quiet President 1967

Robert Sobel, Coolidge:  An American Enigma 1998

Robert Ferrell, The Presidency of Calvin Coolidge  APS


William E. Leuchtenburg, Herbert Hoover APS

David Burner, Herbert Hoover:  A Public Life 1979

            (SF:  a dull, lackluster writer)

Eugene Lyons, Herbert Hoover:  A Biography

            (SF:  a fan of Hoover, gives good insight into the personal side of Hoover)

Martin Fausold, The Presidency of Herbert C. Hoover 1984

Richard Norton Smith, An Uncommon Man:  The Triumph of Herbert Hoover

George Nash, The Life of Herbert Hoover:  The Engineer 

George Nash, The Life of Herbert Hoover:  The Humanitarian

George Nash, The Life of Herbert Hoover:  Master of Emergencies

Kendrick Clements, The Life of Herbert Hoover:  Imperfect Visionary

Glen Jeansonne, The Life of Herbert Hoover:  Fighting Quaker

Gary Dean Best, The Life of Herbert Hoover:  Keeper of the Torch

Charles Rappleye, Herbert Hoover in the White House:  The Ordeal of the Presidency 

F. Roosevelt

Jean Edward Smith, FDR

H.W. Brands, Traitor to His Class:  The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Conrad Black, Franklin Delano Roosevelt:  Champion of Freedom

            (SF:  many facts, too little analysis)

Frank Freidel, Franklin D. Roosevelt:  A Rendezvous with Destiny

            (SF:  a major project that fizzled)

Ted Morgan, FDR:  A Biography

            (SF:  many holes and disappointment in reading it)

James MacGregor Burns, Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox 1882-1940

James MacGregor Burns, Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom 1940-1945

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Roosevelt:  The Crisis of the Old Order 1919-1933

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Roosevelt:  The Coming of the New Deal 1933-1935

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Roosevelt:  The Politics of Upheaval 1935-1936

Geoffrey C. Ward, Before the Trumpet:  Young Franklin Roosevelt 1882-1905

Geoffrey C. Ward, A First-Class Temperament:  The Emergence of Franklin Roosevelt 1905-28

Doris K. Goodwin, No Ordinary Time:  Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt

Jeff Shesol, Supreme Power:  Franklin Roosevelt vs. the Supreme Court

Adam Cohen, Nothing to Fear:  FDR’s Inner Circle and the 100 Days that Created Modern America

Jonathan Alter, The Defining Moment:  FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope

Joseph Lash, Eleanor and Franklin

Robert Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins:  An Intimate History

Peter Collier, The Roosevelts:  An American Saga

            (SF:  trying to prove a yellow journalism thesis, doesn’t work)

Alonzo Hamby, Man of Destiny:  FDR and the Making of the American Century

Jim Bishop:  FDR’S Last Year

Franklin Roosevelt:  The Essential Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Robert H. Jackson:  That Man:  An Insider’s Portrait of Franklin D. Roosevelt

Robert H. Ferrell:  The Dying President:  Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1944-45


David McCullough, Truman 1992

Robert Ferrell, Harry S. Truman:  A Life  1994

Robert Dallek, Harry S. Truman  2008 (APS)

Alonzo Hamby, Man of the People:  A Life of Harry S. Truman 1995

A.J. Baime:  The Accidental President:  Harry S. Truman and the Four Months that Changed the World

Matthew Algeo:  Harry Truman’s Excellent Adventure


Jean Edward Smith, Eisenhower in War and Peace  2012

David A. Nichols:  A Matter of Justice:  Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution

David A. Nichols:  Eisenhower 1956

 Michael Korda:  Ike:  An American Hero

Carlo D’Este, Eisenhower, A Soldier’s Life

            (SF:  excellent up until 1942)

Geoffrey Perret, Eisenhower

Peter Lyon, Eisenhower:  Portrait of a Hero

            (SF:  dense and dry)

Jim Newton, Eisenhower:  The White House Years 2011

Fred Greenstein, The Hidden-Hand Presidency:  Eisenhower as Leader

Evan Thomas, Ike’s Bluff:  President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World

Jeffrey Frank, Ike and Dick:  Portrait of a Strange Political Marriage

Stephen Ambrose, Eisenhower:  Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect

Stephen Ambrose, Eisenhower:  The President

Stephen Ambrose, Eisenhower:  Soldier and President (one volume)  

            (SF:  better than the two-volume)

Dwight D. Eisenhower:  Mandate for Change:  The White House Years


Robert Dallek, An Unfinished Life:  JFK 1917-1963

Nigel Hamilton, JFK:  Reckless Youth

            (SF:  best early life, but family withdrew cooperation for later volumes)

Ted Sorensen, Kennedy:  The Classic Biography

Michael O’Brian, John F. Kennedy:  A Biography

            (SF:  unnecessary verbiage)

Geoffrey Perret, Jack:  A Life Like No Other

            (SF:  light, unfulfilling)

Thomas Reeves, A Question of Character:  A Life of John F. Kennedy

            (SF:  hatchet job)

Herbert Parmet, Jack:  The Struggles of John F. Kennedy

Herbert Parmet, JFK:  The Presidency of John F. Kennedy 

            (SF:  thorough, flat, before some documents released)

Doris Kearns Goodwin, The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., A Thousand Days:  JFK in the White House

            (SF:  dense, dry, tedious, prejudiced)

Richard Reeves, President Kennedy:  Profile of Power 1993

Thurston Clarke, JFK’s Last Hundred Days:  The Transformation of the Man and the Emergence of a Great President  2013

William Manchester:  Portrait of a President:  John F. Kennedy in Profile

Chris Matthews:  Jack Kennedy:  Elusive Hero

Ellen J. Hammer:  A Death in November:  America in Vietnam 1963

Ralph G. Martin:  A Hero for Our Time:  An Intimate Story of the Kennedy Years

Barbara Leaming:  Jack Kennedy:  The Education of a Statesman

James W. Douglas:  JFK and the Unspeakable:  Why He Died and Why It Matters

L. Johnson

Robert Dallek, Lone Star Rising:  Lyndon Johnson and His Times 1908-1960

Robert Dallek, Flawed Giant:  Lyndon Johnson and His Times 1961-1973

Robert Dallek, Lyndon B. Johnson:  Portrait of a President 2004 abridgement 

Robert Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson:  The Path to Power

Robert Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Means of Ascent

Robert Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate

Robert Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power

Kyle Longley:  LBJ’s 1968

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream

Joseph Califano, Jr., The Triumph and Tragedy of Lyndon Johnson

Randall Woods, LBJ:  Architect of American Ambition

Irwin Unger, LBJ: A Life

Lyndon Johnson:  The Vantage Point

Brian Schulman:  Lyndon B. Johnson and American Liberalism:  A Brief Biography with Documents

Charles Peters:  Lyndon B. Johnson AP

Betty Boyd Caroll:  Lady Bird and Lyndon


Conrad Black, Richard Nixon:  A Life in Full

Richard Farrell, Richard Nixon:  The Life

Evan Thomas, Being Nixon:  A Man Divided

Tom Wicker, One of Us:  Richard Nixon and the American Dream

Herbert Parmet, Richard Nixon and His America

            (SF:  incomplete, tedious)

Rick Perlstein, Nixonland:  The Rise of a President and the Fractuing of America

Richard Reeves, President Nixon:  Alone in the White House

Garry Wills, Nixon Agonistes:  The Crisis of the Self-Made Man

Roger Morris, Richard Milhous Nixon:  The Rise of an American Politician

            (SF:  first of a series never completed)

Steven Ambrose, Nixon:  The Education of a Politician 1913-62

Steven Ambrose, Nixon:  The Triumph of a Politician 1962-72

Steven Ambrose, Nixon:  Ruin and Recovery 1973-90

            (SF:  Ambrose attempts rigorous balance on the subject)

Jonathan Aitken, Nixon:  A Life

Douglas Schoen, The Nixon Effect:  How Richard Nixon’s Presidency Fundamentally Changed American Politics

Anthony Summer, The Arrogance of Power:  Nixon and Watergate

Tim Weiner, One Man Against the World:  The Tragedy of Richard Nixon

Theodore White:  Breach of Faith:  The Fall of Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon:  RN:  The Memoirs of Richard Nixon

Elizabeth Drew:  Richard Nixon AP

Stanley I. Kutler:  Abuse of Power:  The New Nixon Tapes


John Robert Greene, The Presidency of Gerald R. Ford

James Cannon, Time and Chance:  Gerald Ford’s Appointment with History

James Cannon, Gerald R. Ford:  An Honorable Life 2013

            (Replaces earlier work by Cannon)

Scott Kaufman, Ambition, Pragmatism, and Party:  A Political Biography of Gerald R. Ford

Douglas Brinkley, Gerald R. Ford (AP)

Yanek Mieczkowski, Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s

Donald Rumsfeld, When the Center Held:  Gerald Ford and the Rescue of the American Presidency

Thomas M. DeFrank:  Write it When I’m Gone:  Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford

Barry Werth:  31 Days (Ford’s first 31 days as President)


Peter Bourne, Jimmy Carter:  A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Post-Presidency

Stuart Eizenstat, President Carter:  The White House Years

Douglas Brinkley, The Unfinished Presidency:  Jimmy Carter’s Journey Beyond the White House

Jonathan Alter

Julian Zelizer, Jimmy Carter (APS)

Jimmy Carter:  White House Diary

Randall Balmer:  Redeemer:  The Life of Jimmy Carter


H.W. Brands, Reagan:  The Life

Iwan Morgan, Reagan:  American Icon

Bob Spitz, Reagan:  An American Journey

            (SF:  Good biography, poor political observer)

Peggy Noonan, When Character was King:  A Story of Ronald Reagan

Lou Cannon, Governor Reagan:  His Rise to Power

Lou Cannon, President Reagan:  The Role of a Lifetime

Steven Hayward, The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order

Steven Hayward, The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution

            (SF:  a conservative point of view)

Craig Shirley, Reagan’s Revolution:  The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All

Craig Shirley, Reagan Rising:  The Decisive Years  1976-80

Craig Shirley, Rendezvous with Destiny:  Ronald Reagan and the Campaign that Changed America

Craig Shirley, Last Act:  The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan

Richard Reeves, President Reagan

Sean Wilentz, The Age of Reagan

Paul Kengor, The Crusader:  Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism

Rick Perlstein

Matthew Dallek:  The Right Moment:  Ronald Reagan’s First Victory and the Decisive Turning Point in American Politics

Garry Wills:  Reagan’s America

Edmund Morris: Dutch

HW Bush

Jon Meacham, Destiny and Power:  The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush

Herbert Parmet, George Bush:  Life of a Lone Star Yankee

            (SF:  good pre-presidency coverage, more objective)

Timothy Naftali, George H.W. Bush  (AP)

Tom Wicker:  George Herbert Walker Bush

George H.W. Bush:  All the Best


Patrick Maney, Bill Clinton:  New Gilded Age President

David Maraniss, First in His Class:  A Biography of Bill Clinton

            (SF: one of the best pre-presidential biographies)

John F. Harris, The Survivor:  Bill Clinton in the White House 

            (SF:  Good coverage of presidency)

Joe Conason:  Man of the World:  The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton

Taylor Branch:  The Clinton Tapes:  Wrestling History with the President

Haynes Johnson:  The Best of Times:  America in the Clinton Years

Bill Clinton:  My Life

W Bush

Jean Edward Smith, Bush

Peter Baker, Days of Fire:  Bush and Cheney in the White House

Bill Minutaglio, First Son:  George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty

Bob Woodward:  State of Denial:  Bush at War, Part III

George Bush:  Decision Points


David Remnick, The Bridge:  The Life and Rise of Barak Obama

David Garrow, Rising Star:  The Making of Barak Obama

            (SF:  wordy and no discrimination of material)

David Maraniss, Barak Obama:  The Story

            (SF:  Obama up until age 30)

Richard Wolffe, Renegade:  The Making of a President

Barak Obama:  Dreams from My Father




1796: The First Presidential Contest

1800: John Ferling, Adams vs. Jefferson…1800 (Ferling)

1800: The Magnificent Catastrophe (Larson)

1840: The Carnival Campaign (Shafer)

1860: Team of Rivals (Goodwin)

1876: Fraud of the Century (Morris)

1896: McKinley, Bryan, & the People (Glad)

1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft, & Debs: The Election that Changed the Country

1920: The Year of Six Presidents (Pietrusza)

1948: Harry Truman’s Improbable Victory: The Year that Transformed America (Pietrusza)

1960: LBJ vs. JKF vs. Nixon (Pietrusza)

1960: The Making of the President (White)

1964: The Making of the President (White)

1968: The Making of the President (White)

1968: The Election that Changed America (Gould)

1968: An American Melodrama (Chester, Hodgson, Page)

1972: The Making of the President (White)

1976: Marathon: the Pursuit of the Presidency (Witcover)

1976: The Election of 1976

1988: What it Takes (Cramer)

1992: The 1992 Presidential Campaign (Denton)

1992: Strange Bedfellows (Rosenstiel)

1992: Mad As Hell (Germond and Witcover)

1996: The Choice (Woodward)

2004: One Car Caravan (Shapiro)