Best Books, Best US President Books, History

The Best Books About Every US President

September 26, 2016

(You can view the rest of our presidential Best Book lists by going to our Best US President Books page.)

 

If you are reading this before November 8th 2016 enjoy our countdown to election day with the best books to learn about every US President. If you are reading this on or after November 8th, enjoy a completed list of the best books and articles about every US president and ignore any of the now incorrect word tenses we may use.

We are starting this countdown 43 days before the election so we can go president by president, starting with George Washington and ending with Obama on November 7th. There have technically been 44 different presidents, but we aren’t going to do an article for each of Grover Cleveland’s non-consecutive terms.

This is probably as good a place as any to quickly go over how we arrived at the top books for every president. We do have a page that goes over how these articles are created (here). Essentially we look at other “Best Books about _____” lists that have been created online and give a point for every book that is mentioned on each list. The ranking of the books doesn’t matter, just that they appeared. After we have found at least 10 different lists (usually more), we rank the books by which ones appeared the most. It is an incredibly unscientific process, but at the end of the day it still provides a pretty great list of books to read on whatever subject we are covering. New books and lists are coming out all of the time, so consider these as more of a good starting point instead of a complete master list (as you should with any list of books).

Before we get to the top books and links to the articles with the full lists we thought we would take a quick look at some of the statistics. (The main takeaway from most of that data is that Lincoln is by far the most popular president.)

Number of Sources For Each Article

number-of-sources

Unique Books For Each President

unique-books

Number Of Articles Top Book(s) Appear On

number-of-lists

 

Alright, on to the best book(s) about every president!



 

President # 1

George Washington

Top Book Washington: A Life
Author Ron Chernow
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 9

Washington- A Life by Ron Chernow
See Full List of Books



 

President # 2

John Adams

Top Book  John Adams
Author David McCullough 
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 9

John Adams by David McCullough

See Full List of Books



 

President # 3

Thomas Jefferson

Top Book  Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
Author  Jon Meacham
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 9

Thomas Jefferson- The Art of Power by Jon Meacham

See Full List of Books



 

President # 4

James Madison

Top Book James Madison: A Biography
Author Ralph Ketcham 
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 7

James Madison- A Biography Ralph Ketcham
See Full List of Books



 

President # 5

James Monroe

Top Book The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation’s Call to Greatness
Author  Harlow Giles Unger
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 6

Harlow Giles Unger
See Full List of Books



 

President # 6

John Quincy Adams

Top Book John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life
Author Paul C. Nagel
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 7

John Quincy Adams- A Public Life, a Private Life by Paul C. Nagel
See Full List of Books



 

President # 7

Andrew Jackson

Top Book American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
Author Jon Meacham
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 7

American Lion- Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham
See Full List of Books



 

President # 8

Martin Van Buren

Top Book (Tie)  Martin Van Buren : The Romantic Age of American Politics
Author  John Niven
Top Book (Tie)  Martin Van Buren (The American Presidents Series)
Author  Ted Widmer
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 5

Martin Van Buren- The Romantic Age of American Politics by John Niven, Katherine Speirs

Martin Van Buren (The American Presidents #8) by Ted Widmer, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

See Full List of Books



 

President # 9

William Henry Harrison

Top Book (Tie) Mr. Jefferson’s Hammer: William Henry Harrison
Author Robert Owens
Top Book (Tie) Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time
Author Freeman Cleaves
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 6

Mr. Jefferson's Hammer- William Henry Harrison and the Origins of American Indian Policy by Robert M. Owens

Old Tippecanoe- William Henry Harrison and His Time by Freeman Cleaves

See Full List of Books



 

President # 10

John Tyler

Top Book John Tyler
Author Gary May
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  7

John Tyler (The American Presidents #10) by Gary May, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
See Full List of Books



 

President # 11

James K. Polk

Top Book A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk
Author Robert Merry
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  5

A Country of Vast Designs- James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent by Robert W. Merry
See Full List of Books



 

President # 12

Zachary Taylor

Top Book Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest
Author K. Jack Bauer
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  8

Zachary Taylor- Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest by K. Jack Bauer
See Full List of Books



 

President # 13

Millard Fillmore

Top Book Millard Fillmore: Biography of a President
Author Robert J. Rayback
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  7

Millard Fillmore- Biography of a President by Robert J. Rayback
See Full List of Books



 

President # 14

Franklin Pierce

Top Book Franklin Pierce (The American Presidents Series)
Author Michael Holt
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  5

Franklin Pierce (The American Presidents #14) by Michael F. Holt, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (Editor), Sean Wilentz (Editor)
See Full List of Books



 

President # 15

James Buchanan

Top Book President James Buchanan: A Biography
Author Philip S. Klein
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  7

President James Buchanan- A Biography by Philip Shriver Klein
See Full List of Books



 

President # 16

Abraham Lincoln

Top Book Lincoln
Author David Herbert Donald
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  14

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald
See Full List of Books



 

President # 17

Andrew Johnson

Top Book Impeached: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy
Author David O. Stewart
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  5

Impeached- The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy by David O. Stewart
See Full List of Books



 

President # 18

Ulysses S. Grant

Top Book Grant
Author Jean Edward Smith
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  7

Grant by Jean Edward Smith
See Full List of Books



 

President # 19

Rutherford B. Hayes

Top Book Rutherford B. Hayes (The American Presidents Series)
Author Hans Trefousse 
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  6

Rutherford B. Hayes (The American Presidents #19) by Hans L. Trefousse, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
See Full List of Books



 

President # 20

James A. Garfield

Top Book Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
Author Candice Millard
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  7

Destiny of the Republic- A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
See Full List of Books



 

President # 21

Chester A. Arthur

Top Book Gentleman Boss: The Life of Chester Alan Arthur
Author Thomas C. Reeves
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  8

Gentleman Boss- The Life of Chester Alan Arthur (Signature) by Thomas C. Reeves, Katherine E. Speirs
See Full List of Books



 

President # 22 & 24

Grover Cleveland

Top Book (Tie) An Honest President: The Life & Presidencies of Grover Cleveland
Author H. Paul Jeffers
Top Book (Tie) Grover Cleveland: A Study in Character
Author Alyn Brodsky
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  5

An Honest President- The Life and Presidencies of Grover Cleveland by H. Paul Jeffers

Grover Cleveland- A Study in Character by Alyn Brodsky
See Full List of Books



 

President # 23

Benjamin Harrison

Top Book (Tie) Benjamin Harrison (The American Presidents Series)
Author Charles W. Calhoun
Top Book (Tie) Benjamin Harrison: Hoosier Statesman (Vol 2)
Author Harry J. Sievers
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 6

Benjamin Harrison (The American Presidents #23) by Charles W. Calhoun, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

Benjamin Harrison Vol. 2- Hoosier Statesman (Benjamin Harrison #2) by Harry J. Sievers
See Full List of Books



 

President # 25

William McKinley

Top Book The Presidency of William McKinley
Author Lewis. L. Gould
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 5

The Presidency of William McKinley (American Presidency Series) by Lewis L. Gould
See Full List of Books



 

President # 26

Theodore Roosevelt

Top Book (Tie) The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
Author Edmund Morris
Top Book (Tie) Theodore Rex
Author Edmund Morris
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 10

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Theodore Roosevelt #1) by Edmund Morris

Theodore Rex (Theodore Roosevelt #2) by Edmund Morris
See Full List of Books



 

President # 27

William Howard Taft

Top Book The Life & Times of William Howard Taft
Author Harry F. Pringle
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 6

The Life & Times of William Howard Taft Harry F. Pringle
See Full List of Books



 

President # 28

Woodrow Wilson

Top Book Wilson
Author A. Scott Berg
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 6

Wilson by A. Scott Berg
See Full List of Books



 

President # 29

Warren G. Harding

Top Book Warren G. Harding (The American Presidents Series)
Author John W. Dean
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 6

Warren G. Harding (The American Presidents #29) by John W. Dean, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
See Full List of Books



 

President # 30

Calvin Coolidge

Top Book Coolidge, An American Enigma
Author Robert Sobel
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 5

Coolidge- An American Enigma by Robert Sobel
See Full List of Books



 

President # 31

Herbert Hoover

Top Book (Tie) An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover
Author Richard Norton Smith
Top Book (Tie) Herbert Hoover
Author William E. Leuchtenburg
Top Book (Tie) Herbert Hoover: A Public Life
Author David Burner
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  4

An Uncommon Man- The Triumph of Herbert Hoover by Richard Norton Smith

Herbert Hoover (The American Presidents #31) by William E. Leuchtenburg, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (Editor), Sean Wilentz (Editor)

Herbert Hoover- A Public Life (Signature) by David Burner
See Full List of Books



 

President # 32

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Top Book FDR
Author Jean Edward Smith
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 8

FDR by Jean Edward Smith
See Full List of Books



 

President # 33

Harry S. Truman

Top Book Truman
Author David McCullough
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 7

Truman by David McCullough
See Full List of Books



 

President # 34

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Top Book Eisenhower: Soldier and President
Author Stephen E. Ambrose
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 6

Eisenhower- Soldier and President by Stephen E. Ambrose
See Full List of Books



 

President # 35

John F. Kennedy

Top Book An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917-1963
Author Robert Dallek
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 10

An Unfinished Life- John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek
See Full List of Books



 

President # 36

Lyndon B. Johnson

Top Book The Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Book One)
Author Robert A. Caro
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 6

The Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson #1) by Robert A. Caro
See Full List of Books



 

President # 37

Richard Nixon

Top Book (Tie) Nixon, Vol. 3: Ruin and Recovery, 1973-1990
Author Stephen E. Ambrose
Top Book (Tie) Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of An American Politician
Author Roger Morris
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 2

Nixon Volume #3- Ruin and Recovery 1973-1990 (Nixon #3) by Stephen E. Ambrose

Richard Milhous Nixon- The Rise of an American Politician by Roger Morris
See Full List of Books



 

President # 38

Gerald Ford

Top Book Gerald R. Ford
Author Douglas Brinkley
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 7

Gerald R. Ford (The American Presidents #38) by Douglas Brinkley, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (Editor)
See Full List of Books



 

President # 39

Jimmy Carter

Top Book Jimmy Carter: A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Post-Presidency
Author Peter G. Bourne
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 4

Jimmy Carter- A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Post-Presidency by Peter G. Bourne
See Full List of Books



 

President # 40

Ronald Reagan

Top Book President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime
Author Lou Cannon
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 5

President Reagan- The Role of a Lifetime by Lou Cannon
See Full List of Books



 

President # 41

George H. W. Bush

Top Book Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush
Author Jon Meacham
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 5

Destiny and Power- The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham
See Full List of Books



 

President # 42

Bill Clinton

Top Book First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton
Author David Maraniss
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 6

First in His Class- A Biography of Bill Clinton by David Maraniss
See Full List of Books



 

President # 43

George W. Bush

Top Book (Tie) Bush
Author Jean Edward Smith
Top Book (Tie) Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House
Author Peter Baker
Top Book (Tie) Decision Points (Bush’s memoir)
Author George Bush
Top Book (Tie) First Son : George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty
Author Bill Minutaglio
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 2

Bush by Jean Edward Smith

Days of Fire- Bush and Cheney in the White House by Peter Baker

Decision Points by George W. Bush

First Son- George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty by Bill Minutaglio
See Full List of Books



 

President # 44

Barack Obama

Top Book Barack Obama: The Story
Author David Maraniss
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:  4

Barack Obama- The Story by David Maraniss
See Full List of Books



You Might Also Like