Five years have now elapsed since I started reading the first volume in James Flexner’s series on George Washington.
Since then I’ve read almost 200 presidential biographies and 100,000 pages filled with some of the most fabulously fascinating tales of personal and political achievement imaginable.
2017 has seen me through 30 books on three presidents…and oh what a ride! Eisenhower, JFK and LBJ each proved monumentally interesting and provided three very different perspectives on how political power can be accumulated and deployed.
My favorite books included Jean Edward Smith’s “Eisenhower in War and Peace“, Robert Dallek’s “An Unfinished Life: JFK 1917-1963“…and Robert Caro’s magisterial series on Lyndon Johnson which is unlike any other literary adventure I’ve experienced in my life.
Just as gratifying as the great biographies I’ve read is the company I’ve kept along the way. I’m blessed with thousands of visitors who subscribe to this site, and there are dozens of you who regularly provide comments with potent perspective, invaluable context and helpful hints. Thank you!
With substantially more web traffic and visitors than ever, it is increasingly interesting to see what gets people to this site and what specific content receives the most attention. Here’s what I found…
Most Popular Posts / Pages in 2017:
1. ***The Best Presidential Biographies***
2. The Best Biographies of Abraham Lincoln
3. The Best Biographies of Theodore Roosevelt
4. New / Upcoming Releases
5. The Best Biographies of Thomas Jefferson
6. The Best Biographies of Andrew Jackson
7. The Best Biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt
8. The Best Biographies of George Washington
9. The Best Biographies of James Madison
10.The Best Biographies of John Adams
Surprising to me is how static this list has been from year to year despite tens of thousands of new visitors with a wide range of preferences and interests. The only significant change from last year was the addition of FDR to the list (causing Grant to drop to #11).
But how to explain the 2,000+ visitors who came to the site in search of “The Best Biographies of William Henry Harrison“? I mean, really?
Most Popular Reviews in 2017:
1. “Washington: A Life” by Ron Chernow
2. “An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy” by Robert Dallek
3. “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” by Jon Meacham
4. “FDR” by Jean Edward Smith
5. “The Life of Andrew Jackson” by Robert Remini
6. “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House” by Jon Meacham
7. “John Adams” by David McCullough
8. “Eisenhower in War and Peace” by Jean Edward Smith
9. “Truman” by David McCullough
10. “The Age of Jackson” by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
What’s Coming Up in 2018?
After wrapping up Lyndon Johnson in the next couple of weeks, I expect to get through about three-dozen biographies in 2018. This will take me through Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
With a little luck I plan to complete this presidential tour de force by Presidents’ Day 2019. But in case you were worried about what I might do with all the resulting free time, there’s always that presidential “follow-up” list and biographies of the most compelling people I met along the way.
Happy New Year and Happy Reading!