The 200 Best Books About American Presidents

Voted on by Goodreads readers. The more votes a book gets, the higher it ranks on the list.

1. John Adams by David McCullough

2. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin

3. Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow

4. Truman by David McCullough

5. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

6. Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris

7. Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

8. American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham

9. His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis

10. The Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, #1) by Robert A. Caro

11. No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II by Doris Kearns Goodwin

12. The Passage of Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, #4) by Robert A. Caro

13. Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough

14. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham

15. Master of the Senate (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, #3) by Robert A. Caro

16. Means of Ascent (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, #2) by Robert A. Caro

17. American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis

18. Lincoln by David Herbert Donald

19. The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin

20. Eisenhower in War and Peace by Jean Edward Smith

21. Grant by Jean Edward Smith

22. John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, a Private Life by Paul C. Nagel

23. With Malice Toward None: A Biography of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen B. Oates

24. Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times by H.W. Brands

25. Decision Points by George W. Bush

26. Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years by Carl Sandburg

27. The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard

28. Eleanor and Franklin by Joseph P. Lash

29. A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent by Robert W. Merry

30. A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

31. Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Wolf Shenk

32. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

33. First Family: Abigail and John Adams by Joseph J. Ellis

34. Wilson by A. Scott Berg

35. Washington: The Indispensable Man by James Thomas Flexner

36. An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 by Robert Dallek

37. Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

38. Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fischer

39. Coolidge by Amity Shlaes

40. Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly

41. Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History by Fawn M. Brodie

42. The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner

43. Personal Memoirs by Ulysses S. Grant

44. My Life by Bill Clinton

45. Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

46. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by Barack Obama

47. Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America by Walter R. Borneman

48. Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief by James M. McPherson

49. An American Life by Ronald Reagan

50. Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams by Joseph J. Ellis

51. Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein

52. Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield by Kenneth D. Ackerman

53. The Life of Andrew Jackson by Robert V. Remini

54. Write It When I’m Gone: Remarkable Off-the-Record Conversations With Gerald R. Ford by Thomas M. DeFrank

55. A. Lincoln by Ronald C. White Jr.

56. The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace by H.W. Brands

57. The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation’s Call to Greatness by Harlow Giles Unger

58. Eisenhower: The White House Years by Jim Newton

59. Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by H.W. Brands

60. Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Empire, 1767–1821 by Robert V. Remini

61. James Madison: A Biography by Ralph Louis Ketcham

62. FDR by Jean Edward Smith

63. Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life by Kathleen Dalton

64. The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century by Scott Miller

65. T.R.: The Last Romantic by H.W. Brands

66. John Adams: A Life by John Ferling

67. American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant by Ronald C. White Jr.

68. Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy by David O. Stewart

69. Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan by Edmund Morris

70. Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward

71. Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Freedom, 1822–1832 by Robert V. Remini

72. Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America by David O. Stewart

73. The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope by Jonathan Alter

74. 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents by David Pietrusza

75. Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox, 1882–1940 by James MacGregor Burns

76. Woodrow Wilson: A Biography by John Milton Cooper Jr.

77. James Madison: A Life Reconsidered by Lynne Cheney

78. Thomas Jefferson by R.B. Bernstein

79. Eisenhower, Volume #1: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect, 1890–1952 by Stephen E. Ambrose

80. Jefferson and the Rights of Man by Dumas Malone

81. Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty by Dumas Malone

82. The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed

83. The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley

84. Jefferson the President: First Term, 1801–1805 by Dumas Malone

85. The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It by Richard Hofstadter

86. Jefferson the Virginian by Dumas Malone

87. Jefferson the President: Second Term, 1805–1809 by Dumas Malone

88. The Age of Jackson by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

89. Eisenhower: Soldier And President by Stephen E. Ambrose

90. Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab by Steve Inskeep

91. James Madison by Garry Wills

92. Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O’Reilly

93. The Coming of the New Deal 1933–35 (The Age of Roosevelt, Vol 2) by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

94. Chester Alan Arthur (The American Presidents, #21) by Zachary Karabell

95. Arguing about Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the United States Congress by William Lee Miller

96. The First of Men: A Life of George Washington by John Ferling

97. Mr. Adams’s Last Crusade: The Extraordinary Post-presidential Life of John Quincy Adams by Joseph Wheelan

98. The Politics of Upheaval 1935–36 (The Age of Roosevelt, Vol 3) by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

99. The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton by Joe Klein

100. The Sage of Monticello by Dumas Malone

101. Adams Vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 by John Ferling

102. The Crisis of the Old Order 1919–33 (The Age of Roosevelt, Vol 1) by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

103. Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Democracy, 1833–1845 by Robert V. Remini

104. Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy by Bill Clinton

105. Nation Builder: John Quincy Adams and the Grand Strategy of the Republic by Charles N. Edel

106. Rutherford B. Hayes: Warrior and President by Ari Hoogenboom

107. John Quincy Adams: American Visionary by Fred Kaplan

108. Franklin Pierce: Martyr for the Union by Peter A. Wallner

109. In the Arena: A Memoir of Victory, Defeat, and Renewal by Richard M. Nixon

110. The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge by Calvin Coolidge

111. James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity by Harry Ammon

112. The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon by John Ferling

113. A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico by Amy S. Greenberg

114. President Kennedy: Profile of Power by Richard Reeves

115. Garfield by Allan Peskin

116. Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom by Conrad Black

117. Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution by James M. McPherson

118. The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s by Gil Troy

119. Reelecting Lincoln: The Battle for the 1864 Presidency by John C. Waugh

120. 41: A Portrait of My Father by George W. Bush

121. Bush by Jean Edward Smith

122. The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton by Joe Conason

123. Two Americans: Truman, Eisenhower, and a Dangerous World by William Lee Miller

124. The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It by John W. Dean

125. Coolidge: An American Enigma by Robert Sobel

126. Theodore Roosevelt (The American Presidents, #26) by Louis Auchincloss

127. John Tyler: The Accidental President by Edward P. Crapol

128. Andrew Jackson (The American Presidents, #7) by Sean Wilentz

129. Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths by Stephen B. Oates

130. The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With the President by Taylor Branch

131. A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland by Charles Lachman

132. State of Denial by Bob Woodward

133. The Shadow of Blooming Grove: Warren G. Harding in His Times by Francis Russell

134. Presidents of the United States: Biographies in Brief by Nathan Lee

135. The Presidents of the United States by Richard S. Hartmetz

136. Barack Obama: A Detailed Response to Benghazi by Illumination Publishing

137. Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves by Henry Wiencek

138. Warren G. Harding (The American Presidents, #29) by John W. Dean

139. Survivor’s Guilt: The Secret Service and the Failure to Protect President Kennedy by Vincent Michael Palamara

140. George Washington: Life and Death by George Roseman

141. All Cloudless Glory Boxed Set by Harrison Clark

142. Murdering McKinley: The Making of Theodore Roosevelt’s America by Eric Rauchway

143. John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit by James Traub

144. Presidential Inaugural Addresses 1789–2009 by Richard S. Hartmetz

145. The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Henry Ketcham

146. Franklin Pierce: New Hampshire’s Favorite Son by Peter A. Wallner

147. In Lincoln’s Hand: His Original Manuscripts with Commentary by Distinguished Americans by Joshua Wolf Shenk

148. Andrew Jackson: Symbol for an Age by John William Ward

149. The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974–2008 by Sean Wilentz

150. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (The American Presidents, #32) by Roy Jenkins

151. Andrew Johnson: Plebeian and Patriot by Robert W. Winston

152. RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, with a New Introduction by Richard M. Nixon

153. President Nixon: Alone in the White House by Richard Reeves

154. The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick

155. Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham

156. The Age of Reagan: The Conservative Counterrevolution: 1980–1989 by Steven F. Hayward

157. Eisenhower: A Soldier’s Life by Carlo D’Este

158. Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation by Richard Norton Smith

159. An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover by Richard Norton Smith

160. Gentleman Boss: The Life of Chester Alan Arthur by Thomas C. Reeves

161. The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order, 1964–1980 by Steven F. Hayward

162. Millard Fillmore by Robert Scarry

163. A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford by Gerald R. Ford

164. Lincoln Reconsidered: Essays on the Civil War Era by David Herbert Donald

165. Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage by Allan Nevins

166. The Young Jefferson 1743–1789 by Claude Gernade Bowers

167. Jefferson and Hamilton the Struggle for Democracy in America by Claude Gernade Bowers

168. John Tyler (The American Presidents, #10) by Gary May

169. Abraham Lincoln by Thomas Keneally

170. Jefferson in Power — The Death Struggle of the Federalists by Claude Gernade Bowers

171. FDR: A BIOGRAPHY by Ted Morgan

172. The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence by Gerald Blaine

173. Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full by Conrad Black

174. James K. Polk (The American Presidents, #11) by John Seigenthaler

175. Martin Van Buren and the American Political System by Donald B. Cole

176. Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House by Richard Wolffe

177. Ike: An American Hero by Michael Korda

178. Showdown: The Inside Story of How Obama Fought Back Against Boehner, Cantor, and the Tea Party by David Corn

179. George Washington and Benedict Arnold: A Tale of Two Patriots by Dave R. Palmer

180. Richard Milhous Nixon: The Rise of an American Politician by Roger Morris

181. John Adams by Page Smith

182. Plan of Attack by Bob Woodward

183. Herbert Hoover: A Public Life by David Burner

184. Bush at War by Bob Woodward

185. Realistic Visionary: A Portrait of George Washington by Peter R. Henriques

186. Harry S. Truman: A Life by Robert H. Ferrell

187. The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898 by Evan Thomas

188. Roosevelt’s Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage by Joseph E. Persico

189. The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006–08 by Bob Woodward

190. James Madison and the Making of America by Kevin R.C. Gutzman

191. The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan

192. General George Washington: A Military Life by Edward G. Lengel

193. The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman & the Destruction of Hitler’s Germany 1941–45 by Michael R. Beschloss

194. Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington by Richard Brookhiser

195. The Rough Rider (Teddy Roosevelt Centennial Classics Illustrated 1957 special issue comic) (HRN-141) (№149) by Theodore Roosevelt

196. Inventing a Nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson by Gore Vidal

197. George Washington by Ingri d’Aulaire

198. Lincoln for Beginners by Paul M. Buhle

199. Abraham Lincoln (with panel zoom) — Classics Illustrated by Classic Comic Store

200. Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on Our Sixteenth President (C-Span Books) by Brian Lamb


Categories: Literature & Fiction

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