About 3,300 days ago – with much-needed assistance from an internet search engine – I figured out how to launch a website. Then I opened Volume 1 of James Flexner’s series on George Washington.
Since then I’ve read 300 biographies, including 260 of presidents Washington through Obama. And during those 160,000+ pages I’ve observed countless wars, recessions, depressions, elections, revolutions and shifts in America’s political mood.
But I never anticipated having so many people join me along the way – an estimated 250,000 unique visitors, several thousand regular “subscribers” and now…3,000,000 views!
The first 240 biographies I read were dedicated to the presidents – a seven-year tour-de-force completed in 2019. Since then I’ve been reading a combination of follow-up presidential biographies and books on other fascinating folks like Eleanor Roosevelt, Leonardo da Vinci, John D. Rockefeller and Mark Twain.
But, as I’ve noted before, the most unexpectedly rewarding aspect of this journey has been the feedback I’ve gotten from many of you – pointing out which biographies not to miss and which to avoid, providing interesting observations on a particular author or book, and giving us all a heads-up on an upcoming release I might have missed.
It’s been a phenomenal journey so far, and I’m counting on much more to come. And for the third time since I started this audacious adventure, thanks a million!
—> For those of you looking for trivia about this site’s most popular posts, the most beloved presidential biographies and other morsels of mindless minutiae…stay tuned. Presidents Day (and the requisite fact-filled post) is just around the corner!
It’s been your adventure but we have enjoyed going along for the ride with you!
I thank YOU for putting in the effort. I find your reviews to be very thoughtful and reliable, and probably some of the most authoritative available on the internet for many of these books. It has been a valuable resource for helping me compile my reading list.
Steve H said:
Congratulations, Steve!! That’s quite a milestone! I have enjoyed going along with you for the ride. I’m on a similar journey but am taking much longer (I’m on Woodrow Wilson after going for about 10 years–but I read lots of other things too).
If you get bored and need something else to read, I highly recommend the Oxford History of the United States series, or one of the Rick Atkinson or Ian Toll trilogies about WWII.
Phil LeDuc said:
I’ve been a subscriber for a few years now, and have used your reviews when choosing (or not choosing at all) presidential (and a few non-presidential) biographies. Thanks for doing all the work that makes our choices easier.
Franklin Robinson said:
I’ve enjoyed and always look forward to reading your reviews
Jeffrey R. Speirs said:
I have enjoyed your postings over the years because I think we were both bitten by the same bug… At some point, not sure why, I thought it would be a good idea to read a biography of each of the presidents. That was not a bad idea but it quickly got out of hand and I decided that it would be an even better idea to reprint a biography of each of the presidents so that anyone who wanted one would be able to acquire a biography of any of the presidents. Thus was born American Political Biography Press. I have now reprinted a biography for each of the presidents through Eisenhower. I will probably not go any farther than Ike as age is setting in…
Thanks for all you have done with this and I hope that this finds you well in these crazy times…
Your monthly catalogs are missed. I hope all is well.
Thank you so much for your labor of love and service. This site has helped me so much as I make my own journey through time.
chris price said:
I can think of no one more qualified to give an informed opinion of how our country’s 45 presidents stack up. Sure, it’s a somewhat pointless exercise but I bet a lot of your readers would enjoy learning where and why you would rank each one.
Thank you for hosting this wonderful corner of the web and sharing your insights.
Debbie Bowers said:
Congrats Steve!! I want to thank you for all you’ve done to inspire me to keep reading President biographies…and even (yet one more) biography of George Washington. I have read five now. Currently reading Ellis’ new book The Cause. It qualifies as a supporting role in the Washington biography mania I have been indulging in. I admit I don’t plan to read about all the presidents, but it is heartening to know someone who has done so.
Congrats and thank you. I’ve been following your journey for quite some time as I was also reading the presidents. It has been fun to compare notes. You have done an awesome job and given me a lot of guidance along the way.
Elwyn Luber said:
Just tonight I was talking to my wife about your site and she wondered how long you have been reading Presidential biographies. I couldn’t answer that question, nor the one about how many books you had read. Then later in the evening I open up your site and there are the answers to her questions. Coincidence?? Whatever, thank you … for the article, but even more so, for all of the incredibly hard work and time consuming effort you expend in providing Presidential Buffs like me with information reviews that help me decide what I want to read next!
Jeffrey R. Speirs said:
Thank you for your e-mail.
At some point, for reasons that escape me, I thought it would be a good idea to read a definitive biography of each of the presidents. I wondered if there was a common thread that ran through all the men (men up to this point…) who wanted the job; something like strong mother weak father. If there is, I never found it.
I found it was more difficult to find the books I needed than I thought and as a collector by nature, the public library, although a good source for information, did not fill the need to own the books so I started to reprint them.
It has been a fun thing to do in spare time. It has never put food on the table but it did fill the after hours. And, fortunately, I have a very understanding wife…
Again, thanks for your comments and I hope that this finds you well in these crazy times.
Elwyn Luber said:
I guess I’m confused. My comment was for Stephen Floyd, yet the response comes from Jeffrey Speirs????
Gary Bryan Schantz said:
When I first started my presidential reading adventure in 2011 with George Bush’s Decision Points, I had no idea there were other people out there that had a similar interest in presidential history. Then I found this page and it opened many possibilities to find more books on presidents which has now led to reading books on historical moments during this-or-that president’s era…such the underground railroad, Lewis and Clark, Trail of Tears, etc…and I am only up to 1850. Thanks for creating this site.