David Herbert Donald, David McCullough, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Jean Edward Smith, John Farrell, John Ferling, Jon Meacham, Michael Burlingame, Millard Fillmore, presidential biographies, Robert Dallek, Ron Chernow, Ronald White, US Presidents
About 7½ years ago I decided to read as many of the best presidential biographies as I could and to share my thoughts along the way. Since then I’ve read nearly 250 presidential biographies and posted 385 reviews, summaries, random observations and assorted brainstorms.
Over that same period, this site has been visited more than 2 million times with about 5,000 posted comments (ignoring the nearly 50,000 spam comments offering fake followers, unclaimed bank funds and a staggering supply of prescription medication).
But one of the most unanticipated pleasures has been the email I receive from readers – at the rate of between 40 and 60 per week.
Some share wisdom on a particular book or president, many relay a common appreciation of presidential history, but most ask one or more questions. Because so many people are asking similar questions, and since I happen to find the answers so interesting, here we go…!
Often asked: Which presidents are the most popular on my site? Which books get the most “hits”? Does anyone really ever read the post on “The Best Biographies of Millard Fillmore?”
Of every 100 “hits” on this site,
|~40||are a “Best Biographies of [ ]” post|
|20||are the Master List of Best Presidential Bios|
|10||are the Upcoming Releases page|
|30||are anything else (usually a book review)|
The most popular presidential biographies:
|1||“Grant” by Ron Chernow (review)|
|2||“Washington: A Life” by Ron Chernow (review)|
|3||“Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” by Jon Meacham (review)|
|4||“Truman” by David McCullough (review)|
|5||“An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy” by Robert Dallek (review)|
|6||“American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant” by Ronald White (review)|
|7||“Eisenhower in War and Peace” by Jean Edward Smith (review)|
|8||“John Adams” by David McCullough (review)|
|9||“Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald (review)|
|10||“Grant” by Jean Edward Smith (review)|
|11||“Richard Nixon: The Life” by John Farrell (review)|
|12||“Abraham Lincoln: A Life” by Michael Burlingame (review)|
|13||“Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin (review)|
|14||“A. Lincoln: A Biography” by Ronald White (review)|
|15||“John Adams: A Life” by John Ferling (review)|
The most popular presidents (scored relative to the median president):
|3.4x||John F. Kennedy|
|2.8x||Ulysses S. Grant|
|2.4x||Lyndon B. Johnson|
For those of you wondering, the least popular presidents to search for (or read about) are George H.W. Bush, Chester Arthur, Gerald Ford and Benjamin Harrison who each receive about half the “website hits” of the median president (who happens to be James Monroe).
And believe it or not, The Best Biographies of Millard Fillmore post was visited 796 times in the last 12 months. But a few of those undoubtedly resulted from me cajoling fellow visitors (and the tour guides) when I visited Millard Fillmore’s home last year…:)
Coming soon: My review of the just-published “President without a Party: The Life of John Tyler” by Christopher Leahy.