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Books About The Presidency

April 2024
2min read

A Selective Bibliography


(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).

Edwin S. Corwin, The President: Office and Powers, 1787–1957 (1957).

Sidney Hyman, The American President (1954).

Richard E. Neustadt, Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership (1960).


William B. Brown, The People’s Choice: The Presidential Image in the Campaign Biography (1960).

Robert J. Donovan, The Assassins (1955): An account of presidential assassinations.

John and Alice Durant, Pictorial History of American Presidents (1964).

Richard F. Fenno, Jr., The President’s Cabinet, An Analysis of the Period from Wilson to Eisenhower (1959).

Bess Furman, White House Profile: A Social History of the White House, Its Occupants, and Its Festivities (1950).

Paul Lazarsfeld et al., The People’s Choice: How the Voter Makes Up His Mind in a Presidential Campaign (1960).

Stefan Lorant, The Presidency: A Pictorial History of Presidential Elections, from Washington to Truman (1951).

Rudolph Marx, The Health of the Presidents (1960).

Louise Overacker, Presidential Campaign Funds (1946).

James E. Pollard, The Presidents and the Press (1947).

Edgar E. Robinson, The Presidential Vote: 1896–1932 (1947).

Irving Stone, They Also Ran; The Story of the Men Who Were Defeated for the Presidency (1945).

Theodore H. White, The Making of the President, 1960 (1961).

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