8 Best Presidential Biographies to Read in 2018

Because it’s President’s Day and most of us have some extra time on our hands (yay for long weekends), let’s take a moment to look at some of the best presidential biographies out now. These books, some newly-released and some not, are about past presidents that made their mark on this country – for better or for worse.

  • The cover of the book Richard Nixon

    Richard Nixon

    The Life

    From prize-winning biographer John A. Farrell comes this riveting portrait of Richard Nixon, a man who led America in a time of turmoil and left us a darker age. Nixon divided America through his decisions as the leader of this country: from the bombing of Cambodia and Laos, to the McCarthy era, and of course, the scandal of Watergate. Due to his own insecurities and paranoia, he encouraged Americans to view each other as enemies. Richard Nixon is a gripping and unsparing portrayal of one of our darkest presidents, and serves as reminder to us to learn from past mistakes.

  • The cover of the book Six Encounters with Lincoln

    Six Encounters with Lincoln

    A President Confronts Democracy and Its Demons

    Award-winning historian Elizabeth Brown Pryor takes an engrossing look at how Abraham Lincoln faced the challenges he encountered as the leader of our unruly democracy during his time as president. Based on extensive research that draws on hundreds of eyewitness letters, diaries, and newspaper excerpts, Six Encounters with Lincoln offers a never-before-seen portrait of Lincoln as the hard-pressed political figure who was not especially popular, and who had to face critics every step of the way throughout his career.

  • The cover of the book Grant


    Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow, author of Alexander Hamilton, dazzles again with his biography of one of our most compelling generals and presidents: Ulysses S. Grant. Chernow’s evocative portrait of Grant showcases the highs and lows he experienced throughout his life, and provides readers with a deeper understanding of one our most underappreciated presidents. Grant is a masterful combination of research and style – it exposes the true story behind a Midwesterner that became extraordinary.

  • The cover of the book The Three Lives of James Madison

    The Three Lives of James Madison

    Genius, Partisan, President

    Noah Feldman examines the Founding Father who transformed the United States in his “three lives” as a revolutionary thinker, a partisan political strategist, and as president. Madison was ahead of his time – he predicted that foreign threats would negatively affect civil liberties, he feared growing economic inequality, and believed that government by the people demanded resistance to wealth. Madison recognized the importance of the opinions of others, and thought of the media as a safeguard to liberty. His achievements and his struggles continue to impact the United States today.

  • The cover of the book Hoover


    An Extraordinary Life in Extraordinary Times

    This captivating biography documents the life of Herbert Hoover – one of the most remarkable Americans of the twentieth century. The text provides readers with an in-depth look at his life, his presidency, and his fight against the Great Depression that rocked this nation. Hoover’s vast successes and failures made him one of the most significant men in American history, and for the very first time, his momentous life is captured in a book for all to see.

  • The cover of the book Franklin D. Roosevelt

    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    A Political Life

    Considering the current state of our nation, there is no better time to dive into Robert Dallek’s Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life. Roosevelt was a man of compromise – he sought to unite a divided country, and succeeded to do so by exhibiting a great sense of humanity. Roosevelt became a champion of the poor, and won an unprecedented four presidential terms, transforming an isolationist country into an international superpower. This gripping biography contains valuable lessons for leaders around the world.

  • The cover of the book Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans

    Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans

    The Battle That Shaped America's Destiny

    During the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson was ordered to assemble a coalition of frontier militiamen, French-speaking Louisianans, Cherokee and Choctaw Indians, freed slaves, and even some pirates. And on top of that, he had to defeat the most powerful military force in the world in the complex terrain of the Louisiana bayous. Basically, Jackson needed a miracle. Kilmeade and Yaeger make history come alive with this mesmerizing page-turner. Readers will have a whole new understanding of this great American general, and a renewed appreciation for the brave men who fought so that our country could become what it is today.

  • The cover of the book Reagan


    The Life

    In this informative biography, H. W. Brands brilliantly establishes Ronald Reagan as one of the two great presidents of the twentieth century – a true peer to Franklin Roosevelt. Reagan examines how Reagan’s confidence, determination, and beliefs enabled him to start a conservative revolution in American politics and bring an end to communism in the Soviet Union. Reagan: The Life is a must-read for anyone looking to learn more about the underestimated politician whose skillful leadership transformed the nation.