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President & First Lady Challenge


I am challenging myself to read more non-fiction works and decided a great place to start would be with the Presidents and First Ladies.  This is an area that I have always been interested in but never took the time to read about.  So my goal is to read at least 1 book about each President and First Lady (where there are books as some First Ladies do not have anything written on them).  I'm going to use this page to keep track of my progress, links to reviews, other thoughts, and also provide reading ideas for anyone else who might be interested in reading on these people.  Also, I am not reading anything on the most recent 4 presidents (Bush Sr. through Obama) because not enough time has passed (in my opinion) to look at their terms critically - but will at a later date.

Current read:





Below is what I am planning on reading:

George Washington
Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
Mr. President by Harlow Giles Unger - Completed 4/8/14 - Review
His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis - Completed 4/28/12 - Review

Martha Washington
Martha Washington: An American Life by Patricia Brady
Washington's Lady by Nancy Moser (Fiction) - Completed 10/22/13 - Review

John Adams
John Adams by David McCullough
First Family by Joseph Ellis - Completed 10/17/11 - Review
Descent from Glory: Four Generations of the John Adams Family by Paul C. Nagel
Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams by Joseph Ellis

Abigail Adams
Dearest Friend by Lynne Withey
The Adams Women: Abigail and Louisa Adams, their Sisters and Daughters by Paul C. Nagel

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson by R. B. Bernstein
American Sphinx by Joseph Ellis
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham - IN PROGRESS
Jefferson's War by Joseph Wheelan - Completed 7/24/12 - Review

Martha Jefferson (died before Presidency)
My Thomas by Roberta Grimes (Fiction)
The Women Jefferson Loved by Virginia Scharff
Dear Companion: The Inner Life of Martha Jefferson by Kelly Joyce Neff (Fiction)

James Madison
James Madison by Richard Bookhiser
Mr. & Mrs. Madison's War by Hugh Howard

Dolley Madison
A Perfect Union by Catherine Allgor - Completed 9/28/11 - Review
Strength and Honor: The Life of Dolley Madison by Richard N. Cote

James Monroe (no NF on Elizabeth Monroe)
Founding Rivals: Madison vs. Monroe, the Bill or Rights and the Election that Saved the Nation by Chris DeRose
The Last Founding Father by Harlow Unger

John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life by Paul Nagel - Completed 1/27/12 - Review
Mr. Adams's Last Crusade: John Quincy Adams's Extraordinary Post-Presidential Life in Congress by Joseph Wheelan

Louisa Catherine Adams
Mrs. Adams in Winter by Michael O'Brien
Cannibals of the Heart by Jack Shepherd

Andrew Jackson
American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham

Rachel Jackson
A Being So Gentle: The Frontier Love Story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson by Patricia Brady

Martin Van Buren (no NF on Hannah Van Buren)
Martin Van Buren by Ted Widmer

William Henry Harrison (no NF on Anna Harrison)
Mr. Jefferson's Hammer: William Henry Harrison and the Origins of American Indian Policy by Robert Owens
Goodbye, Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and his One Month Presidency by Keith Norris

John Tyler (No NF on Julia Tyler - however there is HF)
John Tyler, the Accidental President by Edward Crapol

James K. Polk
Polk: The Man Who Transformed the Presidency and America by Walter Borneman - Completed 8/16/13 - Review
A Country of Vast Designs by Robert Merry

Sarah Polk
Sarah Childress Polk by John R. Bumgarner - Completed 11/25/11 - Review

Zachary Taylor (No NF for Margaret Taylor)
Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest by K. Jack Bauer

Millard Fillmore (No NF for Abigail Fillmore)
The Remarkable Millard Fillmore by George Pendle

Franklin Pierce (No NF for Jane Pierce)
Franklin Pierce: New Hampshire's Favorite Son by Peter Walner

James Buchanan (Never married - niece, Harriet Lane, was his "First Lady"
James Buchanan by Jean Baker

Harriet Lane
Harriet Lane, America's First Lady by Milton Stern

Abraham Lincoln
Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O'Riley - Completed 10/27/11 - Review
A. Lincoln: A Biography by Ronald C. White Jr.
Lincoln by David Herbert Donald - Completed 12/26/12 - Review
The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner

Mary Todd Lincoln
The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy O'Brien (Fiction) - Completed 10/29/12  - Review - Mary is actually a character in the book, while the President is already deceased at the start of the novel.
The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage by Daniel Mark Epstein
The Emancipator's Wife by Barbara Hambly (Fiction)
An Unlikely Friendship by Ann Rinaldi (Fiction)
Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln by Janis Cooke Newman (Fiction)

Andrew Johnson (No NF for Eliza Johnson)
The Avenger Takes His Place by Howard Means

Ulysses S. Grant
Grant by Jean Edward Smith
Grant's Final Victory: Ulysses S Grant's Heroic Last Year by Charles Bracelen Flood

Julia Grant
Civil War Wives: The Lives and Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis & Julia Dent Grantby Carol Berkin

Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford B Hayes: Warrior and President by Ari Hoogenboom

Lucy Hayes
First Lady: The Life of Lucy Webb Hayes by Emily Apt Greer

James A Garfield
Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard - Completed 2/3/12 - Review

Lucretia Garfield
Crete and James by John Shaw

Chester A. Arthur (No NF for Ellen Arthur)
Gentleman Bossby Thomas C. Reeves

Grover Cleveland
An Honest President by H. P. Jeffers

Frances Cleveland
Frank: The Life of Frances Folsom Cleveland by Annette Dunlap

Benjamin Harrison (No NF for Caroline Harrison)
Benjamin Harrison: Hoosier President by Harry Seivers

William McKinley (No NF for Ida McKinley)
The President and the Assassin by Scott Miller

Theodore Roosevelt
The River of Doubt by Candice Millard
Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
The Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt by Theodore Roosevelt
The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin - Completed 1/23/14 - Review to come

Edith Roosevelt
Edith Kermit Roosevelt: Portrait of a First Lady by Sylvia Morris

William H. Taft
William Howard Taft: Confident Peacemaker by David Burton

Helen Taft
Nellie Taft: The Unconventional First Lady of the Ragtime Era by Carl Anthony

Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson by John Milton Cooper Jr.
Wilson by A. Scott Berg - Completed 12/6/13 - Review

Ellen Axson Wilson and Edith Bolling Galt Wilson (1st & 2nd Wife of Wilson)
Ellen and Edith: Woodrow Wilson's First Ladies by Kristie Miller

Warren G. Harding
Warren G. Harding by John Dean

Florence Harding
Florence Harding: The First Lady, The Jazz Age, and the Death of America's Most Scandalous President by Carl Anthony
First Lady Florence Harding: Behind the Tragedy and Controversy by Katherine Sibley

Calvin Coolidge
Coolidge: An American Enigma by Robert Sobel

Grace Coolidge
Grace Cooldige: The People's Lady in Silent Cal's White House by Robert Ferrell

Herbert Hoover
The Life of Herbert Hoover: Imperfect Visionary by Kendrick Clements

Lou Hoover
Lou Henry Hoover: Activist First Lady by Nancy Young

Franklin Delano Roosevelt
FDR by Jean Smith
Traitor to His Class by H. W. Brands

Eleanor Roosevelt
No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery by Russell Freedman

Harry Truman (No NF on Elizabeth Truman)
Truman by David McCullough

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Going Home to Glory by David Eisenhower

Mamie Eisenhower
Mrs. Ike: Portrait of a Marriage by Susen Eisenhower

John F. Kennedy
An Unfinished Life by Robert Dallek
Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy
Killing Kennedy by Bill O'Reilly - Completed 11/20/12 - Review

Jacqueline Kennedy
Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with JFK by Caroline Kennedy
America's Queen by Sarah Bradford

Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B Johnson: Portrait of a President by Robert Dallek

Lady Bird Johnson
Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson by Jan Russell

Richard Nixon
Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full by Conrad Black

Pat Nixon
Pat Nixon: The Untold Story by Julie Nixon Eisenhower

Gerald Ford (No NF on Elizabeth Ford)
Write it When I'm Gone by Thomas DeFrank

Jimmy Carter
White House Diary by Jimmy Carter
Prophet from Plains: Jimmy Carter and His Legacy by Jimmy Carter

Rosalynn Carter
Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: The Georgia Years:, 1924-1974 by E. Stanley Godbold Jr
Rosalynn Carter: Equal Partner in the White House by Scott Kaufmann

Ronald Reagan
An American Life by Ronald Reagan
Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wibler

Nancy Reagan
My Turn: The Memoirs of Nancy Reagan by Nancy Reagan
Nancy: A Portrait of my Years with Nancy Reagan by Michael Deaver