Reading Challenge 2018


For 2018, I've decided to forgo a quantitative-based reading challenge in favor of something more substantial. Inspired by Lillian Cunningham's Washington Post podcast, Presidential, I decided to read a biography of each United States President. Each of the selected titles is noted below the associated portrait. Once a title is complete, the portrait will be updated and appear in color. Twelve additional titles (also inspired by the podcast) have been added to the bottom of my list for a grand total of fifty-six titles on American political history.

Wish me luck!

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George Washington
Washington: A Life
by Ron Chernow


John Adams
John Adams
by David McCullough

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
by Jon Meacham
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James Madison
James Madison: A Biography
 by Ralph Ketchem


James Monroe
The Last Founding Father
by Harlow Giles Unger

John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams: American
Visionary by Fred Kaplan
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Andrew Jackson
American Lion
by Jon Meachem

Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren: The Romantic Age
of American Politics by John Niven
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
by Gail Collins
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John Tyler
John Tyler: Champion of the
Old South by Oliver P. Chitwood

James Polk
The Man Who Transformed the
Presidency by Walter R. Borneman

Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor
by K. Jack Bauer

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Millard Fillmore
Millard Fillmore
by Robert J. Rayback


Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce
by Michael Holt

James Buchanan
President James Buchanan
by Philip S. Klein
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Abraham Lincoln
Team of Rivals
by Doris Kearns Goodwin


Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
by Annette Gordon-Reed

Ulysses S. Grant
Grant
by Ron Chernow
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Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford B. Hayes
by Hans Trefousse


James Garfield
Destiny of the Republic
by Candice Millard

Chester Arthur
Chester Alan Arthur
by Zachary Karabell
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Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
by Henry F. Graff


Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison
by Charles W. Calhoun

William McKinley
Presidency of William McKinley
by Lewis. L. Gould
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Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Rex
by Edmund Morris


William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft
by Jeffrey Rosen

Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson: A Biography
by John Milton Cooper Jr.
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Warren G. Harding
The Shadow of Blooming Grove
by Francis Russell


Calvin Coolidge
Coolidge, An American Enigma
by Robert Sobel

Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
by William E. Leuchtenburg
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Franklin Roosevelt
No Ordinary Time
by Doris Kearns Goodwin


Harry S. Truman
Truman
by David McCullough

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eisenhower in War and Peace
by Jean Edward Smith
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John F. Kennedy
An Unfinished Life
by Robert Dallek


Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson: Portrait of a
President by Robert Dallek

Richard Nixon
Nixonland
by Richard Perlstein
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Gerald Ford
Gerald R. Ford
by Douglas Brinkley


Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
by Julian E. Zelizer

Ronald Reagan
President Reagan: The Role of a
Lifetime by Lou Cannon
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George H.W. Bush
41
by George W. Bush


Bill Clinton
The Survivor: Bill Clinton in the
White House by John F. Harris

George W. Bush
Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in
the White House by Peter Baker
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Barack Obama
Obama's Wars
by Bob Woodward

Donald Trump
Understanding Trump
by Newt Gingrich
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Supplemental Reading

  • Monument Wars: Washington, DC, the National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape by Kirk Savage
  • Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson by Paul Finkelman
  • The Founding Foodies: How Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin Revolutionized American Cuisine by Dave DeWitt
  • Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution by Jack Rakove
  • The Complete Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant by Ulysses S. Grant
  • The Day Freedom Died by Charles Lane
  • The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • All the President's Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
  • Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham
  • Giant in the Shadows by Jason Emerson
  • To the Best of My Ability edited by James M. McPherson
  • Jefferson Davis, American by William J. Cooper Jr.

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