Monday, February 15, 2016

Presidents' Day Book List

If you're looking for a book to read this Presidents' Day, we've got you covered. Whether you're in the mood for an educational non-fiction about American history, or an inspiring biography on one of our founding fathers, or a speculative historical fiction based on a president or First Lady's life, or even a funny political picture book to read with the kids, you'll find your perfectly presidential read right here.

book suggestions for presidents day

1776 by David McCullough - This non-fiction tells in masterful detail and drama the story of the year of America's birth, the actions and decisions on both sides of the Atlantic and the stories of those who marched with Washington.

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen - Any high school student could tell you that their history textbooks are boring, but what they may not realize is that they're also misinformative, stilted, or flat-out wrong about historical events. In this interesting and thought-provoking book, Professor Loewen presents that facts of American history, which are often very different from what you may have learned in school.

John Adams by David McCullough - This biography of President Adams won a Pulitzer Prize and was the basis for an HBO series. This is history on a grand scale—a book about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship, and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas.

To Try Men's Souls: A Novel of George Washington and the Fight for American Freedom by Newt Gingrich This story follows three men with three very different roles to play in history: General George Washington, Thomas Paine, and Jonathan Van Dorn, a private in Washington's army.  The action focuses on one of the most iconic events in American history: Washington crossing the Delaware. 

11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King - In this dramatic novel of time travel and historical fiction, Stephen King explores what might happen if time could be turned back, and President Kennedy's assassination could have been prevented. 

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker: The Unlikely Friendship of Elizabeth Keckley and Mary Todd Lincoln by Lynda Jones - In 1868, the former dressmaker of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln published a scandalous tell-all revealing Mary's marriage, erratic behavior, and confidential opinions of many in high society. This non-fiction tells the story of Elizabeth's unusual friendship with Mary, her life through the Civil War and as an abolitionist, and insights into the White House during a tumultuous time.

Eleanor vs. Ike: A Novel by Robin GerberIn this what-if novel, during the 1952 Democratic convention, Adlai Stevenson suffers a heart attack and dies on stage moments before he accepts the nomination. The popular Eleanor Roosevelt, a widow since 1945, is quickly brought in to take his place and run against Eisenhower.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus by Charles C. Mann - Start your American history reading long before our first American president with this groundbreaking work of science, history, and archaeology that explores pre-Columbian native life in the Americas, and how it differs from what our traditional understanding of it has come to be.

Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir by Clint Hill - Jackie Kennedy's personal Secret Service agent shares his very close relationship with the First Lady during the years leading up to and following President Kennedy's assassination.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns GoodwinAcclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O'Reilly - This gripping nonfiction explores in detail the brutal murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy—and how a sequence of gunshots on a Dallas afternoon not only killed a beloved president but also sent the nation into the cataclysmic division of the Vietnam War and its culture-changing aftermath.

Lincoln: A Novel by Gore Vidal - This fictional account of President Lincoln's life is monumental in scope, yet never loses sight of the intimate and personal in its depiction of the power struggles that accompanied Lincoln's efforts to preserve the Union at all costs.

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter IsaacsonIn a sweeping narrative that follows Franklin’s life from Boston to Philadelphia to London and Paris and back, Walter Isaacson chronicles the adventures of the runaway apprentice who became, over the course of his eighty-four-year life, America’s best writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, as well as one of its most practical and ingenious political leaders.

The President's Lady: A Novel about Rachel and Andrew Jackson by Irving Stone - In this acclaimed biographical novel, Irving Stone brings to life the tender and poignant love story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson, one of the great romances of all time.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris - This winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award  tells the story of TR’s irresistible rise to power. (He himself compared his trajectory to that of a rocket.) It is, in effect, the biography of seven men—a naturalist, a writer, a lover, a hunter, a ranchman, a soldier, and a politician—who merged at age forty-two to become the youngest President in our history.

Duck for President by Doreen Cronin - I have two little readers in my house, so I couldn't help but include a picture book perfect for Presidents' Day. From the Amazon description: "My fellow Americans: It is our pleasure, our honor, our duty as citizens to present to you Duck for President. Here is a duck who began in a humble pond. Who worked his way to farmer. To governor. And now, perhaps, to the highest office in the land."

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