Unbelievably it has been two years since I started this extraordinary adventure through the best presidential biographies. My journey began with a collection of the best 125 presidential biographies I could find.
Once I started reading (and posting the results here) I asked you to alert me to great biographies which were missing from my collection. And you delivered!
During the past two years my list has blossomed to 190 books totaling almost 98,000 pages. Thanks to your suggestions I’ve been adding biographies almost as quickly as I can read them.
At the slow but steady pace of about sixty-five pages per day I originally expected to wrap up by Presidents’ Day 2015. After completing my first year – and having expanded the list by a third – my expected date of completion became the summer of 2016.
Now, after adding almost 30 more biographies over the past year, I expect to be done by Presidents’ Day 2017. But then I’ll have my “follow-up” list to read – it currently includes 26 biographies covering many of the first 21 presidents. It also includes presidential memoirs and autobiographies which I intentionally excluded from my first round.
2014 Highlights and Observations:
* 48 biographies read (almost 23,000 pages) covering 13 presidents; last year’s tally was 49 biographies with 23,000 pages covering 10 presidents
* 80 posts (coincidentally exactly the number of posts I made my first year)
* 128 countries visited (including 39 new countries this past year – welcome aboard Botswana, Namibia, Iceland and El Salvador, among others!)
* The United States provides 92% of my visitors; Canada, the UK, Australia and the Philippines round out the top 5.
* 30% of my visitors seem to be “regulars” who receive email notifications of new posts. Nearly 60% come from search engines like Google and Yahoo. About 10% of my visitors are referred by Twitter, Facebook and your blog links to my site (thank you!)
* Your favorite posts/pages over the past year:
#1 The Best Presidential Biographies
#2 The Best Biographies of Thomas Jefferson
#3 The Best Biographies of George Washington
#5 The Best Biographies of John Adams
#6 Recent/Upcoming Releases
#8 The Best Biographies of Abraham Lincoln
#9 Review of “Washington: A Life” by Ron Chernow
#10 The Best Biographies of Ulysses S. Grant
Almost 80% of all visitors check out the most popular page which contains my master list of presidential biographies. And I’m quite pleased to see that I’m slightly more popular (#4) than John Adams (#5). I suspect that will change soon.
* Finally, I’m always fascinated to see which books you investigate further after touring this site. These were the most popular over the past year:
#1 Washington: A Life (2010) by Ron Chernow
#2 The Life of Andrew Jackson (1988) by Robert Remini
#3 Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power (2012) by Jon Meacham
#4 John Adams: A Life (1992) by John Ferling
#5 Martin Van Buren and the American Political System by Donald Cole
#6 James Madison (2011) by Richard Brookhiser
#7 John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life (1997) by Paul Nagel
#8 James Madison: A Biography (1971) by Ralph Ketcham
#9 James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity (1971) by Harry Ammon
#10 Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (2005) by Doris Kearns Goodwin
What’s coming next in 2015?
January: Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley
February through May: Teddy Roosevelt (!) and William Taft
June: Woodrow Wilson
July: Warren G. Harding
August: Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover
Sept through Dec: Franklin D. Roosevelt (!)
The next year should be exciting – not that Johnson, Hayes, Arthur, Garfield and Cleveland haven’t been terrific. Stay tuned!