Following God One Step at a Time

Great Books by Presidents

on January 20, 2017


Because of the inauguration of a new U.S. President this week, I am reminded that there are many excellent books written by our country’s Presidents that cover fascinating and important historic events.   According to “Good Reads”, there are 117 books written by our Presidents, starting with George Washington.  Many of these books were written before being elected President.  To see Good Reads’ complete list, >click HERE.

Since I am interested in books by Presidents, I thought you might be too.

I will focus today on only the books written by a U.S. President (not written by someone else about a President) because I think a first person account on their own life is more compelling.  I am also focusing on those books written after being elected to the Presidency.  To me these books will have discussions of the most important historical events from the point of view of the top decision-maker on the issues.   I also focus on the more recent Presidents, as I am more familiar with that history, and so more interested in reading about them.

Some of the books I have personally read, and some are recommended on lists.

The top 10 list by CBS includes a book from each of these Presidents:  Obama, Reagan, Carter, Kennedy, Truman, Roosevelt, Lincoln, Grant, Madison, and Washington.  Of these I found several to recommend.  To see the entire list, >click HERE

“The Reagan Diaries” by Ronald Reagan, which is taken from his daily diary that he kept during his Presidency.  No other President has kept a daily diary.

“Memoirs By Harry S. Truman: 1945 Year of Decisions”, called a “must read on the CBS list, because it is written so candidly about the death of President Roosevelt, WWII and the use of atomic weapons.

“Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings”, is recommended because he is said to be the best writer of all our Presidents.  Interestingly, of all our Presidents, President Lincoln has had the most books written about him. 

A #1 N.Y. Times Bestseller, “An Hour Before Daylight”, by President Carter, is written about his boyhood growing up in rural Georgia.  The title refers to the time he would get up each day to work on his father’s farm.  The New Yorker calls it “an American classic”.

Another #1 N.Y. Times Bestseller is “My Life” by President ClintonThe original version of this book, which I read, was 1,000 pages.  Currently it is sold as 2 volumes.  I found this book to be fascinating!  It is amazing how many people President Clinton has met, and vividly remembers.  There are so many good stories in this book it is worth the time to read it.

Because it covers so many important events, I am including here, “Decision Points” by President George W. Bush.  It includes the 9/11 attacks, starting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

I must list “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety” by President Carter, even though I am still reading it.  This book is a treasure, as the author has 90 years of experiences that he can pull from to share wisdom and reflection.  He may be the only 90-year old President to write a book at that age!

“A Nation of Immigrants” by President John F. Kennedy sounds very interesting to me, as the issue of immigrants was a hot topic during the campaign for our current PresidentAlthough his life was cut short by an assassin, I do not want to leave President Kennedy off my list.  He surely has an interesting perspective.

Although this last book was written before he was a U.S. President, he was offered a book contract because he was elected the first black president of the “Harvard Law Review”. Later becoming the 1st black U.S. President, historically makes this book an American classic.  It was also included in the Top 10 CBS list as well.  This book deals with President Obama’s heritage, and since there was much made of where he was born during his campaign for President, this book does cover his life in Hawaii, and should have settled that issue at least for those who read the book. “Dreams From My Father” by President Obama is a book about a man who never really knew his father, because he left shortly after his son was born in Hawaii, and his father later died in a car accident.  Still his father changed his life, because his father was black.  I definitely want to get my hands on this book to read with poignant recall of connections to his future as a two-term U.S. President.

If you want to read more about these books you can go to Good Reads’ list >HERE.

If you want to purchase one of these books you can go to  and in the search window type the title of the book you want.

I hope this list of books by U.S. Presidents has intrigued you.  If there are other books you would like to suggest for my list, >please let me know in the comments below.

In case you are wondering why Donald Trump is not in this list, he only just became President, so there are no books to list.  We will have to see if he writes a future book as President.




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