The Fix‘s Chris Natalie Jennings and Sean Sullivan made a call to readers to submit their favorite presidential biography. Then they compiled a list containing the best one or two biographies on all 43 U.S. presidents. How fun would it be to start with Washington and read one biography on each president through Obama? I think it would be such a more effective way to read presidential biographies instead of picking and choosing here and there (Although you’d have to suffer through 272 pages on Millard Fillmore). And you’d have to slog through some really long books. For instance Ambrose’s book on Eisenhower is a mother-long book. It says only 650 pages, but it’s small writing on packed pages – still a great read. Here’s their list. Anything you would change? How about a biography of Josiah Bartlett or Andrew Shepherd?
* John Adams: John Adams, by David McCullough; Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams, by Joseph J. Ellis.
* Thomas Jefferson: Jefferson and His Time, by Dumas Malone; American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, by Joseph J. Ellis; Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, by Jon Meacham.
* James Madison: James Madison: A Biography, by Ralph Ketchem.
* James Monroe: The Last Founding Father: James Monroe and a Nation’s Call to Greatness, by Harlow Giles Unger.
* John Quincy Adams: John Quincy Adams (The American Presidents Series), by Robert V. Remini.
* Martin Van Buren: Martin Van Buren (The American Presidents Series), by Ted Widmer; Martin Van Buren : The Romantic Age of American Politics, by John Niven.
* William Henry Harrison: William Henry Harrison (The American Presidents Series) by Gail Collins; Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Times, by Freeman Cleaves.
* James K. Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America, by Walter R. Borneman.
* Zachary Taylor: Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest, by K. Jack Bauer.
* Millard Fillmore: The Remarkable Millard Fillmore: The Unbelievable Life of a Forgotten President, by George Pendle.
* Franklin Pierce: Franklin Pierce (The American Presidents Series), by Michael Holt.
* James Buchanan: President James Buchanan: A Biography, by Philip S. Klein.
* Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln, by David Herbert Donald; Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin; With Malice Toward None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln, by Stephen B. Oates; Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years, by Carl Sandburg; Abraham Lincoln, by Lord Charnwood.
* Andrew Johnson: Andrew Johnson (The American Presidents Series), by Annette Gordon-Reed.
* James Garfield: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, by Candice Millard.
*Chester Arthur: Chester Alan Arthur (The American Presidents Series), by Zachary Karabell; Gentleman Boss: The Life of Chester Alan Arthur, by Thomas C. Reeves.
* Benjamin Harrison: Benjamin Harrison (The American Presidents Series), by Charles W. Calhoun; Benjamin Harrison: Hoosier statesman, by Harry Joseph Sievers.
* William McKinley: Presidency of William McKinley, by Lewis. L. Gould.
* Theodore Roosevelt: Edmund Morris’s Theodore Roosevelt Trilogy; Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt, by David McCullough.
* William Howard Taft: The Life & Times of William Howard Taft, by Harry F. Pringle.
* Woodrow Wilson: Woodrow Wilson: A Biography, by John Milton Cooper Jr.
* Warren G. Harding: The Shadow of Blooming Grove: Warren G. Harding in His Times, by Francis Russell; Warren G. Harding (The American Presidents Series), by John W. Dean.
* Calvin Coolidge: Coolidge, An American Enigma, by Robert Sobel.
* Herbert Hoover: Herbert Hoover (The American Presidents Series), by William E. Leuchtenburg.
*Gerald Ford: Gerald R. Ford (The American Presidents Series) by Douglas Brinkley.
*Jimmy Carter: Jimmy Carter, by Julian E. Zelizer (The American Presidents Series).
*George H.W. Bush: George H.W. Bush (The American Presidents Series), by Timothy Naftali.
*George W. Bush: Decision Points (Bush’s memoir); Peter Baker’s forthcoming Bush book.