My mom had this idea years ago to read a biography of every president, in order. I think it's genius and I want to do it. But there are so many I'm wondering if you guys can recommend your favorites so I don't read the bad ones. I used to have a master list, but that's long since lost. Here are some I've already read, and I'd love your suggestions.
- •His Excellency by Joseph EllisI found Joseph Ellis by picking up "Founding Brothers," which was great. This was a short book mostly focused on Washington's military career and shaping of the Presidency
- •John Adams by David McCulloughListen, if you don't want to read the book, which was beautifully done, definitely get your hands on the HBO miniseries based on the book. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney were magnificent.
- •Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns GoodwinIs it possible I remember Doris Kearns Goodwin from appearances on Meet the Press? Anyway, this was enlightening both for its portrayal of Lincoln and also the political motivations behind the Civil War.
- •River of Doubt by Candice MillardThis book might not count for this project anyway, because it's an account of what Theodore Roosevelt did after losing this third bid for presidency. In his depression and humiliation he decided to go to Brazil and map the River of Doubt, a dangerous, tumultuous tributary of the Amazon river. Want to know what I do when I'm depressed and humiliated? Hint: it's not to undertake an exploration that will literally change the map of the Western Hemisphere.
- •Ok, next are some suggestions I've put on my list but haven't read.
- •William Lee Miller's books on LincolnThe Duty of a Statesman and Lincoln's virtues. I haven't read these, but they come highly recommended.
- •Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward SmithAnother suggestion from a reliable book source.
- •Eisenhower: A Life by Paul JohnsonAnother recommendation
- •This Huge Series on Lyndon Johnson by Robert CaroI think each of these books is 600+ pages, but I've heard incredible things.
- •Ok, that's all I've got now, but can you help me with your recommendations?Don't worry about the order and don't worry about the length of the book. I expect this task to take a few years.
- •The American PresidentSo this is sort of a cheat. I once had this same goal and I read the same Washington and Adams bios you've listed. But then I started getting overwhelmed and found this book. Now my goal is reading this whole thing and then reading more in-depth bios only on the ones I find most interesting.Suggested by @KikiHines
- •The President is a Sick Man by Matthew AlgeoThis is a well-researched fascinating case study of how Grover hid his cancer surgery from America. It's an interesting aside of a mostly forgotten incident in an other wise fairly epic career...Suggested by @andersun
- •An Honest President: The Life And Presidencies Of Grover Cleveland by HP JeffersHe's my favorite dead president ...Suggested by @andersun
- •The Last Hundred Days, by Thurston ClarkeVery interesting read and though Clarke aims to be objective, he clearly admires JFK. (Also, love this list - I'm trying to tackle this, too!)Suggested by @megplate