The 10 Best Presidential Biographies

Updated February 15, 2017

American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant
Truman biography
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
We spent 23 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Whether you're a history buff or a casual reader, this list of presidential biographies will leave you both enthralled and informed. Telling the stories of some of America's most prominent and memorable leaders, you'll learn about the political process and how the United States as we know it came to be. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best presidential biography on Amazon.

10. Reagan: The Life

Reagan: The Life by H.W. Brands covers the biography of this celebrity turned president who engineered a conservative revolution in American politics. This one draws from interviews of surviving members of the Reagan administration not previously available to biographers.
  • explores arms control with russia
  • in-depth discussion of first lady
  • not much background information
Publisher Reagan: The Life
Model n/a
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America

Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America by Walter R. Borneman delineates the accomplishments made by President Polk in his four year administration. Essential in expanding the USA, he brought Texas into the Union and gained California from Mexico.
  • fascinating overview of 1830s to 40s
  • not much coverage of early life
  • uses lots of military language
Publisher Borneman, Walter R.
Model n/a
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. President Coolidge

The biography of President Coolidge by Amity Shlaes delivers a provocative reexamination of America's 30th president. An advocate of women's suffrage and a radio pioneer, Coolidge and his strikingly modern beliefs during a presidency rife with corruption are explored.
  • comprehensive view of 1920s politics
  • includes economic analysis
  • does not cover much foreign policy
Publisher President Coolidge
Model n/a
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Mornings on Horseback

Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough tells the story of war hero and president, Theodore Roosevelt. It provides a riveting portrait of not only the United States' 26th leader but also of his family and roots leading up to an incredibly memorable administration.
  • work of social history
  • story of transformation and manhood
  • historical figures come to life
Publisher imusti
Model n/a
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Washington: A Life

Washington: A Life by biographer Ron Chernow provides a nuanced portrait of the father of the United States, delving deep into not only his presidency but also his early years. This one rebukes stereotypes of our first president, portraying his passion and charisma.
  • comprehensive and balanced
  • entertains as well as informs
  • depicts revolutionary war
Publisher Chernow, Ron
Model n/a
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant by Ronald C. White tells the story of the United States' 18th president in more depth than ever before. A brilliant general and defender of equal rights, Grant battled the Ku Klux Klan and stood up for Native Americans.
  • provides three-dimensional portrait
  • detailed discussion of civil war
  • exciting and poignant writing
Publisher American Ulysses: A Lif
Model n/a
Weight 2.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Truman biography

The Truman biography by David McCullough captures not only the determined nature of President Truman, but also the turbulent political situation in which he rose to power. Although he seemed like an ordinary man, he became one of the most courageous presidents in history.
  • covers outbreak of cold war
  • last president born in 19th century
  • over 1000 pages long
Publisher McCullough, David
Model n/a
Weight 3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. John Adams

John Adams, also by historian David McCullough, has won a Pulitzer prize and is the basis for a critically acclaimed HBO series. It focuses on politics, war, and social issues in early America but also tells the story of human nature, love, religion, and virtue.
  • relies on letters and correspondance
  • discusses declaration signing
  • fascinating picture of abigail adams
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Model n/a
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham illuminates Jefferson's role as the US's third president. Both a philosopher and politician, he fought fierce opposition to realize his vision for America, leading the nation through partisanship and warfare.
  • draws on multiple country's archives
  • demonstrates jefferson's passion
  • reads like a novel
Publisher imusti
Model n/a
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin traces Lincoln's origins from a one-term senator to president of the United States. She illuminates his skills as a leader dealing with incompetent generals and a hostile Congress.
  • fully captures political climate
  • great character study
  • very well researched account
Publisher Doris Kearns Goodwin
Model n/a
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

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Last updated on February 15, 2017 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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