Presidential Biographies

I want to read a biography on every president. For some, that will be multiple. Here’s the list of what I’ve compiled so far. If you have read any of these, or if you have a suggestion, weigh in. Thanks.

Also I’m just listing the author names on the bio of that particular president. I’m not putting 40+ links here.

Italics = I’ve already read one.

Note: I’m only looking on Audible.

Washington: I have a bio of him written by Washington Irving, which I will read first. After that I’ll read Chernow’s biography.

Adams: I’ve read McCullough’s.

Jefferson: Jon Meacham’s ART OF POWER

Madison: Ralph Ketchum has one that’s 34 hours long on audio and apparently the narrator is bad, so I’m putting Noah Feldman’s here, which is also 34 hours.

Monroe: Tim McGrath

(Quincy) Adams: Harlow Giles Unger wrote one.

Jackson: Jon Meacham’s AMERICAN LION.

Van Buren: I can’t find anything substantial on this guy, the longest Audible bio on him is only 2 hours. Make a recommendation, please.

(Henry) Harrison: Same problem as Van Buren.

Tyler: Edward Crapol has a book called “The Accidental President” but the tone sounds rather aggressive, so it might be more a challenge and less a biography. Make a recommendation.

Polk: Walter Borneman’s POLK

Taylor: Same problem as the ones above.

Fillmore: Same problem. Jeez, none of these guys were very interesting. I suppose that might have been good for the country.

Pierce: SAME PROBLEM

Buchanan: Apparently a lot of people hated this dude so I’m not finding biographies, just books about how terrible he was. Help a guy out.

Lincoln: Oof, no shortage here. Michael Burlingame has a huge book on him, which is fine, I’m just also open to suggestions. You can read big tomes that just cover a few years of Lincoln’s life.

Johnson: Not a lot of books about the man’s life, just his impeachment. Why does he look like Tommy Lee Jones time traveled?

Grant: I’ve read the Chernow biography and it was superb.

Hayes: Oooh, Hans Trefousse has one, and it looks like there’s a whole series…this might be a safe fallback if I can’t find anything good on someone.

Garfield: Like Andrew Johnson, there are only books about his assassination. Ugh.

Arthur: Another “accidental/unexpected” president. I’ll pencil in Greenberger’s book for now.

Cleveland: Jeffers’ AN HONEST PRESIDENT.

Harrison: Make a rec.

McKinley: Richard Rohan has one.

T. Roosevelt: I’ve read McCullough’s book that covers TR’s life up to the point he entered politics. Turns out he has an autobiography though so I will read that before anything else.

Taft: Goodwin’s THE BULLY PULPIT focuses more on his fight with TR, so make a rec here.

Wilson: This absolute bastard. Do I even dare? Yeah, I should read an entire bio. I’ve read enough about his president. John Milton Cooper has one.

Harding: Ryan Walters’ THE JAZZ AGE PRESIDENT.

Coolidge: I’ve read Amity Shlaes’ book.

Hoover: Glen Jeansonne has one.

F. Roosevelt: This MFer…Jean Edward Smith has one on him, I guess I’ll put that in for now.

Truman: I’ve read McCullough’s, and I recommend it.

Eisenhower: Hitchcock and Smith both have length books one him. Whichever I read, I’ll supplement it with Stephen Ambrose’s THE SUPREME COMMANDER.

Kennedy: Frederik Logevall has one, I’ll try that. Bill O’Reilly and Chris Matthews each have one too, but I don’t know how willing I am to listen to partisan blowhard j*urnolists weigh in on someone. Might also listen to/read a lot of his speeches.

Johnson: Another total bastard. Robert Caro wrote 62 hours’ worth of audio on this guy and I don’t want to listen to any of it. Make a rec.

Nixon: Another huge POS. Make a rec.

Ford: You want to talk about accidental presidents? Hit me. This dude went from 13-term Congressman, to Speaker, to VP, to President, to unemployed in like, five years.

Carter: Jonathan Alter’s book.

Reagan: H.W. Brands has one. Lots of books on this dude.

H.W. Bush: Too many of these books focus on one particular element of his life, so make a rec.

Clinton: UGGH

W. Bush: Damn dude I really don’t want to. I read his DECISION POINTS book and it was interesting, but it was also him talking about himself, sooooooooooooooo

I don’t think I trust anything current about Obama, it’ll be too polarizing. People either love him or hate him and that messes with honest assessments.

Debating whether to read one on Trump. Maybe if there was one that came out before he ran, when Democrats still liked him. Everything since then will just be horse manure.

I’m not reading a biography of Biden, hell with that guy. He’s not a real president because he wasn’t installed by real voters. Even before he ran he was scum. I’ll read a book on Jefferson Davis first, who at least had the balls to install himself as president at gunpoint after making his own country with blackjack and hookers.

Anyway, that’s where I’m at. Open to many suggestions.

Currently reading:

William Bradford catalogued the first few decades of events at Plymouth Plantation (the Mayflower colony) in a single manuscript that was entrusted to his sons and grandsons.

It eventually made its way back to England, and was returned to the US in the late 18th or 19th Century. Harold Paget put together this edition in 1920, on the 300th anniversary of the voyage that brought Bradford & Co. to Massachusetts.

We’ve since had the 400th anniversary. This is a good book, go read it.

Also I’ve assembled a YT playlist for all of my Pilgrim-related videos.

They filmed “Kingdom of Heaven” here.

Ridley Scott plays fast and loose with history, and his 2005 movie Kingdom Of Heaven was the fastest and loosest. You might think Saladin was some kind of righteous liberator, and Christians were all mean and bad, if you thought his retelling of the story was accurate.

But that’s not important right now. We’re here to talk about the Castillo de Loarre, in Huesca, Spain. See it on Google Maps here: https://goo.gl/maps/1RvG5NL9Qchn1r3Q8

Scott and his crew were filming in Huesca around January of 2004. It’s very old and remarkably intact. In March of that same year some very nice Spaniards took me and my mission companion north of Zaragoza to see the place, and I snapped a bunch of pictures. Here they are in no particular order.

Also, if you’re keen, I recapped all two years of my mission to Spain on the “Welcome to the Faro” podcast. Find it on Google, Spotify, Apple podcasts, and more.

“On a final note…” (20 minutes later)

S/o to Ben for catching that, haha.

I did a review on a book that made my best-of list for 2014. Links are in the video description. It’s about the philosophy of work, and the way people change when they’re in an environment where the quality of their work isn’t the deciding factor in assessing their contributions to the company.

Go watch it. Ran a little longer than I planned, but it’s good.

State of the Dread: November 2022

Last month was a little weird, and full of distractions.

Reading: I only read 5 books last month, did a lot of other listening and stuff.

Writing: Made progress in a very stubborn manuscript, which is still coming together like a hot mess. I’m actively working to fight off other ideas so I can work exclusively on this stupid manuscript and get it donw.

Drawing: Did some Inktober, but didn’t finish. Follow me on Insta.

Video: I hit a thousand subs on YouTube! Thanks guys. Subscribe here if you haven’t already.

Fitness: Got down to about 210. Must keep at it, this is the fattening stretch of the year. Easy to fail.

Okay, back to work now.