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Presidential Books

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This election season, learn about past presidents through biographies.

Book Buzz is a blog produced in collaboration with neighborhood librarians from Houston Public Library, Harris County Public Library and the Bellaire Library.

The 2016 Presidential election is fast approaching and voters will be participating in the 58th quadrennial U.S. presidential election, which will decide the 45th President of the United States.  

As school children we learn how our country was founded, and for me, what we learned about our presidents, we learned through books. Meticulously researched, and documented, books. Today, social media immediately reports on every spoken word, facial expression, comment and personal habits of candidates and office holders. While this allows us to be exposed to an elected official in a personal way, this information is usually not placed in any context. Historians will be sifting through this abundance of primary source material for years to come as they prepare to write their books.  

While there are certainly titles galore on the current candidates, I started thinking about titles that are available and slated to be published on past presidents.

For those who like lists and a chance to check off accomplishments, there are countless lists of books written by U. S. Presidents, reading lists of presidents, and lists of biographies about U. S. Presidents in order of when they served in office from George Washington to Barack Obama. 

Two new titles will be published this October, American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant by Ronald C White (Ph.D. from Princeton, Fellow at the Huntington Library and a Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum of Washington, D.C.)  and Herbert Hoover: A Public Life by Glen Jeansonne (Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).

In December, Reagan: An American Icon by Iwan Morgan (Professor of US Studies and Head of US Programmes at the Institute of the Americas, University College London) will be published.

And looking forward to spring, a Houston author will have a new title published, Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty by John B. Boles. Dr. Boles is the William P. Hobby Professor of History at Rice University.

In the meantime, start your presidential biography reading with these excellent titles found in your local library:

  • Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow
  • John Adams by David McCullough
  • Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meachem

Finally, early voting has started and Election Day is Nov. 8.  Make you voice heard by voting. If you need help finding your polling location, call your local library.

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