Books About The Presidency


(Generally, only one modern, authoritative biography is listed for each President. Often this has necessitated a quite arbitrary selection from among many excellent volumes. In a few cases, where the standard “life” is a multivolume work or when there is no clearly dominant interpretation, two books have been included.)

GEORGE WASHINGTON: Douglas S. Freeman, George Washington , 7 vols. (1948–57); Marcus Cunliffe, George Washington: Man and Monument (1958).

JOHN ADAMS: Gilbert Chinard, Honest John Adams (1933).

THOMAS JEFFERSON: Nathan Schachner, Thomas Jefferson: A Biography (1957).

JAMES MADISON: Irving Brant, James Madison , 6 vols. (1941–61).

JAMES MONROE: W. P. Cresson, James Monroe (1946).

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS: Samuel F. Bemis, John Quincy Adams , 2 vols. (1949, 1956).

ANDREW JACKSON: Marquis James, The Life of Andrew Jackson (1938).

MARTIN VAN BUREN: Edward M. Shepard, Martin Van Buren (1899).

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON: Freeman Cleaves, Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time (1939).

JOHN TYLER: Robert Seager II, And Tyler Too (1963).

JAMES K. POLK: Eugene I. McCormac, James K. Polk, A Political Biography (1922).

ZACHARY TAYLOR: Holman Hamilton, Zachary Taylor , 2 vols. (1941, 1951)

MILLARD FILLMORE: Robert J. Rayback, Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President (1959).

FRANKLIN PIERCE: Roy F. Nichols, Franklin Pierce, Young Hickory of the Granite Hills (1931).

JAMES BUCHANAN: Philip S. Klein, President James Buchanan: A Biography (1962).

ABRAHAM LINCOLN: James G. Randall, Lincoln the President , 4 vols. (vol. 4 with Richard N. Current) (1945–55); Benjamin P. Thomas, Abraham Lincoln (1952).

ANDREW JOHNSON: Lloyd P. Stryker, Andrew Johnson: A Study in Courage (1930); Eric L. McKitrick, Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction (1960).

ULYSSES S. GRANT: Bruce Catton, U. S. Grant and the American Military Tradition (1954).

RUTHERFORD B. HAYES: Harry Barnard, Rutherford B. Hayes and His America (1954).

JAMES A. GARFIELD: Robert G. Caldwell, James A. Garfield, Party Chieftain (1931).

CHESTER A. ARTHUR: George F. Howe, Chester A. Arthur; A Quarter-Century of Machine Politics (1934).

GROVER CLEVELAND: Allan Nevins, Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage (1932).

BENJAMIN HARRISON: Harry J. Sievers, Benjamin Harrison , 2 vols. (vol. 3 in preparation) (1952, 1959).

WILLIAM McKINLEY: H. Wayne Morgan, William McKinley and His America (1963).

THEODORE ROOSEVELT: William H. Harbaugh, Power and Responsibility: The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt (1961).

WILLIAM H. TAFT: Henry F. Pringle, The Life and Times of William Howard Taft , 2 vols. (1939).

WOODROW AVILSON: Arthur S. Link, Wilson ,’ $ vols, (more in preparation) (1947–60); John A. Garraty, Woodrow Wilson: A Great Life in Brief (1956).

WARREN G. HARDING: Samuel H. Adams, Incredible Era: The Life and Times of Warren Gamaliel Harding (1939).

CALVIN COOLIDGE: William A. White, A Puritan in Babylon: The Story of Calvin Coolidge (1938).

HERBERT HOOVER: Harris G. Warren, Herbert Hoover and the Great Depression (1959); Herbert Hoover, Memoirs , 3 vols. (1951–52).

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT: Frank Freidel, Franklin D. Roosevelt , 3 vols. (more in preparation) (1952–56); James M. Burns, Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox (1956).

HARRY S. TRUMAN: Alfred Steinberg, The Man from Missouri: The Life and Times of Harry S. Truman (1962).

DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER: Robert J. Donovan, Eisenhower: The Inside Story (1956); Marquis Childs, Eisenhower: Captive Hero (1958).

JOHN F. KENNEDY: James M. Burns, John Kennedy: A Political Profile (1960); Victor Lasky, J.F.K.: The Man and the Myth (1963).


Wilfred E. Binkley, The Man in the White House: His Powers and Duties (1959).