Presidents’ Day: most reviewed books by President

Presidents’ Day: most reviewed books by President

February 16th, 2015 was Presidents’ Day in the USA.

That’s still something I consider to be a combined holiday.

When I was a kid, we got Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday as two different holidays.

That mattered to me, because my birthday happens to be the same as Abraham Lincoln’s. That meant that my birthday was always a day off from school…and we could invite my friends to a party accordingly.ūüėČ

Then, they decided that having two Presidential holidays was too much, so they combined it into one day honoring all of the Presidents.

I still took my birthday off this year, though.ūüôā

So, in case a day of scholarly reflection on and discussion of our Chiefs of State (that’s how you spent the day, right?)ūüėČ whetted your appetite for more, I thought I’d take a look at the Kindle store to look for the most reviewed books about the Presidents. Note: I did do a bit of choosing to get a book which really focused on the President, or at least not on several Presidents. Otherwise¬†Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln would have shown up for several Presidents¬†as the most reviewed in the search.ūüėČ

  1. George Washington:¬†George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution
    by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
  2. John Adams:
    John Adams
    by David McCullough
  3. Thomas Jefferson: Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
    by Jon Meacham
  4. James Madison: James Madison: A Life Reconsidered
    by Lynne Cheney
  5. James Monroe:¬†The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation’s Call to Greatness
    by Harlow Giles Unger
  6. John Quincy Adams: John Quincy Adams
    by Harlow Giles Unger
  7. Andrew Jackson: American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
    by Jon Meacham
  8. Martin Van Buren: Martin Van Buren: The American Presidents Series: The 8th President, 1837-1841
  9. William Henry Harrison: William Henry Harrison: The American Presidents Series: The 9th President,1841
    by Gail Collins and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  10. John Tyler: John Tyler, the Accidental President
    by Edward P. Crapol
  11. James K. Polk: A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent
    by Robert W. Merry
  12. Zachary Taylor: Zachary Taylor: The American Presidents Series: The 12th President, 1849-1850
    by John S. D. Eisenhower and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  13. Millard Fillmore:¬†Yo, Millard Fillmore! (and all those other Presidents you don’t know)
    by Will Cleveland and Mark Alvarez
  14. Franklin Pierce: Franklin Pierce: The American Presidents Series: The 14th President, 1853-1857
    by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. and Michael F. Holt
  15. James Buchanan: James Buchanan: The American Presidents Series: The 15th President, 1857-1861
    by Jean H. Baker and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  16. Abraham Lincoln: Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever
    by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  17. Andrew Johnson:
    Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy
    by David O. Stewart
  18. Ulysses S. Grant: Grant
    by Jean Edward Smith
  19. Rutherford B. Hayes: Fraud of the Century: Rutherford B. Hayes, Samuel Tilden, and the Stolen Election of 1876
    by Roy Morris Jr.
  20. James A. Garfield: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
    by Candice Millard
  21. Chester A. Arthur:
    Chester Alan Arthur: The American Presidents Series: The 21st President, 1881-1885
    by Zachary Karabell and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  22. Grover Cleveland:¬†The President Is a Sick Man: Wherein the Supposedly Virtuous Grover Cleveland Survives a Secret Surgery at Sea…
    by Matthew Algeo (Kindle Unlimited)
  23. Benjamin Harrison: Benjamin Harrison: The American Presidents Series: The 23rd President, 1889-1893
    by Charles W. Calhoun and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  24. Grover Cleveland (again)
  25. William McKinley: The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century
    by Scott Miller
  26. Theodore Roosevelt: The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism
    by Doris Kearns Goodwin
  27. William Howard Taft: The Roots of Modern Conservatism: Dewey, Taft, and the Battle for the Soul of the Republican Party
    by Michael Bowen
  28. Woodrow Wilson: Wilson
    by A. Scott Berg
  29. Warren G. Harding:
    Warren G. Harding: The American Presidents Series: The 29th President, 1921-1923
    by John W. Dean and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  30. Calvin Coolidge: Coolidge
    by Amity Shlaes
  31. Herbert Hoover:¬†Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover’s Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath
    by George H. Nash (Kindle Unlimited)
  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt: Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
    by Jon Meacham
  33. Harry S Truman: Truman
    by David McCullough
  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower:¬†Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World
    by Evan Thomas
  35. John F. Kennedy: Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot
    by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
  36. Lyndon B. Johnson: The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson IV
    by Robert A. Caro
  37. Richard Nixon: The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan
    by Rick Perlstein
  38. Gerald Ford: Gerald R. Ford: The American Presidents Series: The 38th President, 1974-1977 by Douglas Brinkley and Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr.
  39. Jimmy Carter:¬†Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis
    by Jimmy Carter
  40.  Ronald Reagan: The Reagan Diaries
    by Ronald Reagan
  41. George H. W. Bush: 41: A Portrait of My Father
    by George W. Bush
  42. Bill Clinton: Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas
    by Edward Klein
  43. George W. Bush: Decision Points
    by George W. Bush
  44. Barack Obama: The Amateur
    by Edward Klein

That was fun and interesting! I tried to avoid books labeled as fiction, and I’m guessing I did. I wouldn’t have thought that the President who wrote a book on another President and who had two books on this list would have been…George W. Bush. If I’d thought about it, I might have gotten that, though. Jimmy Carter is another President with a book on the list. One reason for that might be that more recent books tend to be reviewed more…just the nature of when book reviews became possible at Amazon, and that people don’t tend to write reviews of books they read a long time ago.

Bonus deal:

Disney app sale for $0.99 each (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

This is a good deal which might be ending today on more than ten Disney apps…in some cases half off, in some cases two thirds off.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite book you have read on a President? I stayed away from fiction, but what about something with a President as a character in fiction? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

8 Responses to “Presidents’ Day: most reviewed books by President”

  1. Jerry Zinser Says:

    I think your memory of “Team of Rivals” is a bit flawed. It does not focus on several presidents. Yes, others are mentioned (e.g., Buchanan, Johnson, Grant), but I submit that every presidential biography mentions two or three other presidents. “Team of Rivals” focuses on one president and on his cabinet appointees. Very rounded descriptions are given to cabinet members, but they all add depth and resonance to the portrayal of Lincoln. Or do you feel that the time/space given to the cabinet members diminishes the degree to which the book is a story of Lincoln’s mobilization and leadership of their personalities, skills and foibles?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jerry!

      Your hypothesis is an interesting one, but I wasn’t basing it on my memory (which can be flawed, certainly)ūüôā, but on the actual search results I was getting.

      For example, Team of Rivals comes up as the most reviewed book when I use the search term of “John Adams”.

      My concern wasn’t that Lincoln would be slighted, but that John Adams might be better served by a different book which focused more on the 2nd President than on the 16th.ūüôā

      My apologies if that wasn’t clear…perhaps italicizing the name of Team of Rivals might have made that clearer, by separating Lincoln’s name more from the point.

      I’m not sure why Amazon’s search algorithms return Team of Rivals at the top for the term “John Adams”, by the way. I think they may use tags and comments as part of it, but I don’t really know. Interestingly, Team of Rivals is third for “Abraham Lincoln” the way I was doing the search…after the one I listed and 12 Years a Slave.

      I appreciate you taking the time and energy to write. I like it when people try to make the blog better in that way while still being respectful.

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I don’t think I’ve read any of these books — I may have read in-depth reviews of one or two, however. I do from time to time read Wikipedia articles on individual presidents when their names come up in some context or other.

    In the spirit of presidents day (:grin) I thought I would compile a somewhat idiosyncratic list of presidents that have interested me. I exclude Washington and Lincoln from this list because of their almost hagiographic status (and anyway It would be a bit of a cliche to include them :grin).

    Grover Cleveland
    Theodore Roosevelt
    Calvin Coolidge
    Dwight Eisenhower

    I also don’t include any modern presidents that I might have had the opportunity to vote for (:grin). At the turn of the millennium, there were many best of the twentieth century lists. One of these was for political leaders, and FDR came out on top. FDR doesn’t interest me much, but a contemporary, Winston Churchill does.

    Of these I would have most liked to sit for an afternoon of conversation with Teddy R (whom Mark Twain disliked intensely), and Churchill. Churchill’s family tree is sprinkled with many interesting relations such as Sarah Churchill (1660-1744), and Princess Diana. His closest female friend (other than his wife) was Violet Bonham-Carter, a daughter of H.H. Asquith (the last liberal party PM), and the grandmother of Helena Bonham-Carter, the actress.

    For many years I lived in Northern NH where I made the acquaintance of George Cleveland, the grandson of Grover. Grover, though he lived in retirement in Princeton, NJ — and is buried there, summered in Tamworth, NH. Most of his family ended up living there, and a son, Francis, was responsible for creating the Barnstormers Theater in Tamworth, one of the earliest summer stock theaters in the US.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      Well, I have to admit that Calvin Coolidge’s name attracted me, even though it’s a first name for the President and a last name for me.ūüôā Still, Coolidge was a fascinating character…who did things in a different way.

      Perhaps my favorite “Silent Cal” story, which may be completely made up, was Coolidge being invited to a society event. Coolidge was famously not a talker. The story goes that the host of the party came up to Coolidge and said, “I bet my friend that I can get you to say more than two words tonight.” Coolidge legendarily replied, “You lose,” and said nothing more.ūüôā

      Millard Fillmore is another interesting one for me. Fillmore is considered trivial by many people (I even judged the Millard Fillmore Trivia Hunt twice), but I find it fascinating that, while opposing slavery personally (although perhaps not adamantly), it was under Fillmore that the Missouri compromise happens.

      Churchill is another of my favorites…and when I tell Churchill stories, I can do the voice reasonably well.ūüėČ

      • Edward Boyhan Says:

        On Calvin Coolidge — as you say, you get last name bragging rights, but I’m afraid old Cal only gets middle name kudos (his full name was John Calvin Coolidge). So who gets first name bragging rights? I’m afraid it must fall to Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes fame (:grin).

        2015 is the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death. In honor of which there are two shows opening in NYC in the coming weeks (one on Broadway; one off) with Winston Churchill as the leading character.

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Edward!

        I’m afraid I’m nowhere near the most famous last name Calvin.ūüôā There is John Calvin (presumably, Coolidge’s namesake), and I have a relative who won the Nobel Prize. If anyone took a class in organic chemistry in the past half century or so, they may remember taking a test on the “Calvin cycle”…which they hated, because it was hard.ūüėČ

        As to first names…I would think that Calvin Klein is probably the most famous. We had a dog named Klein Calvin…people were amused by that, and it was easy to remember.

  3. Phink Says:

    Speaking of books about President’s I have a suggestion for some. Ron Chernow won the Pulitzer for ‘Washington: A Life’. I read it two years ago and wound up rating it 9.83 out of 10 and it ranks today as my 4th favorite book of all time and favorite Non-Potter book of all time. For anyone who enjoys historical non-fiction this is a fantastic book. Another great, fantastic read is ‘Killing Lincoln’. Love the author or hate him should not matter. It’s nothing to do with politics and is simply a non-fiction read. I rated it 9.4 and #11 on my all time list.

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