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The Best Books About Every US President

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(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

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Unique Books For Each President

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Number Of Articles Top Book(s) Appear On

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



 

President # 1

George Washington

Top BookWashington: A Life
AuthorRon 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
AuthorDavid 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 BookJames Madison: A Biography
AuthorRalph Ketcham 
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:7

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



 

President # 5

James Monroe

Top BookThe 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 BookJohn Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life
AuthorPaul 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 BookAmerican Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
AuthorJon 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
AuthorRobert Owens
Top Book (Tie)Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Time
AuthorFreeman 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 BookJohn Tyler
AuthorGary 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 BookA Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk
AuthorRobert 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 BookZachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest
AuthorK. 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 BookMillard Fillmore: Biography of a President
AuthorRobert 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 BookFranklin Pierce (The American Presidents Series)
AuthorMichael 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 BookPresident James Buchanan: A Biography
AuthorPhilip 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 BookLincoln
AuthorDavid Herbert Donald
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 14

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald
See Full List of Books



 

President # 17

Andrew Johnson

Top BookImpeached: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy
AuthorDavid 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 BookGrant
AuthorJean 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 BookRutherford B. Hayes (The American Presidents Series)
AuthorHans 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 BookDestiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
AuthorCandice 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 BookGentleman Boss: The Life of Chester Alan Arthur
AuthorThomas 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
AuthorH. Paul Jeffers
Top Book (Tie)Grover Cleveland: A Study in Character
AuthorAlyn 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)
AuthorCharles W. Calhoun
Top Book (Tie)Benjamin Harrison: Hoosier Statesman (Vol 2)
AuthorHarry 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 BookThe Presidency of William McKinley
AuthorLewis. 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
AuthorEdmund Morris
Top Book (Tie)Theodore Rex
AuthorEdmund 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 BookThe Life & Times of William Howard Taft
AuthorHarry 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 BookWilson
AuthorA. 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 BookWarren G. Harding (The American Presidents Series)
AuthorJohn 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 BookCoolidge, An American Enigma
AuthorRobert 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
AuthorRichard Norton Smith
Top Book (Tie)Herbert Hoover
AuthorWilliam E. Leuchtenburg
Top Book (Tie)Herbert Hoover: A Public Life
AuthorDavid 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 BookFDR
AuthorJean 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 BookTruman
AuthorDavid McCullough
Number Of Articles Book Appears on:7

Truman by David McCullough
See Full List of Books



 

President # 34

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Top BookEisenhower: Soldier and President
AuthorStephen 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 BookAn Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917-1963
AuthorRobert 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 BookThe Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Book One)
AuthorRobert 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
AuthorStephen E. Ambrose
Top Book (Tie)Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of An American Politician
AuthorRoger 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 BookGerald R. Ford
AuthorDouglas 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 BookJimmy Carter: A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Post-Presidency
AuthorPeter 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 BookPresident Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime
AuthorLou 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 BookDestiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush
AuthorJon 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 BookFirst in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton
AuthorDavid 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
AuthorJean Edward Smith
Top Book (Tie)Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House
AuthorPeter Baker
Top Book (Tie)Decision Points (Bush’s memoir)
AuthorGeorge Bush
Top Book (Tie)First Son : George W. Bush and the Bush Family Dynasty
AuthorBill 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 BookBarack Obama: The Story
AuthorDavid Maraniss
Number Of Articles Book Appears on: 4

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



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