Back in May 2016, I picked up Ron Chernow’s book Alexander Hamilton shortly after the fiftieth time listening to the cast recording of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Something inside me just clicked and I fell in love with biographies with an emphasis on American and political history. I realized though that I really had little to no knowledge of large segments of history. So I set out on a personal journey to learn more about US history by reading a biography for each of the 44 men (and hopefully soon, some women!) who have risen to the highest office in the land. The books I’ve read to date are below. I will update the list as I continue my way through history and will also try to go back and provide details on each at some point. If you too are a fan of history and biographies and have a recommendation, please leave a comment.
- His Excellency by Joseph J Ellis
- John Adams by David McCullough
- Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
- The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation’s Call to Greatness by Harlow Giles Unger
- James Madison: A Life Reconsidered by Lynne Cheney
- John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life by Paul Nagel
- Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times by H.W. Brands
- Martin Van Buren and the American Political System by Donald Cole
- Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Times by Freeman Cleaves
- John Tyler by Gary May
- Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America by Walter Borneman
- Zachary Tyler: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest by K. Jack Bauer
- Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President by Robert Rayback
- Franklin Pierce: The 14th President By Michael Holt. Read my review here.
- President James Buchanan: A Biography by Philip S. Klein. Read my review here.
- Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
- Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy by David O. Stewart
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