The American Presidents

"I regard The American Presidents Series as an exciting educational opportunity, telling the history of the United States in terms of forty-two men who at one time or another led  or misled  the republic."
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

Times Books, an imprint of Henry Holt and Company, is the publisher of the landmark series The American Presidents. The acclaimed presidential historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., served as general series editor until his death in February 2007. Sean Wilentz, the distinguished Princeton University historian, has taken over the reins as series editor. It is the aim of the series to present the grand panorama of our chief executives in volumes compact enough for the busy reader, lucid enough for the scholar. Each volume will be an incisive, meditation-length biographical essay that focuses on the subject's presidency, even as it offers a distillation of his life, character, and career.

To undertake the biographies of the American Presidents, Times Books has engaged a wide variety of distinguished contributors, including Garry Wills on James Madison, John Dean on Warren G. Harding, Douglas Brinkley on Gerald R. Ford, and Joyce Appleby on Thomas Jefferson.

The American Presidents Series will present the forty-four Americans who have served as president, to help tell the story of a nation.

Visit the American Presidents Series website


William Howard Taft

The American Presidents

Jeffrey Rosen; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors

Henry Holt and Co.

Available 01/02/2017




  • Dwight D. Eisenhower by Tom Wicker--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Tom Wicker's biography Dwight D. Eisenhower, part of The American Presidents Series. A bona-fide American hero at the close of World War II, General Dwight Eisenhower rode an enormous wave of popularity into the Oval Office seven years later. Though we may view the Eisenhower years through a hazy lens of 1950s nostalgia, historians consider his presidency one of the least successful.

  • Grover Cleveland by Henry F. Graff--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Henry F. Graff's biography Grover Cleveland, part of The American Presidents Series. Though often overlooked, Grover Cleveland was a significant figure in American presidential history. Having run for President three times and gaining the popular vote majority each time -- despite losing the electoral college in 1892 -- Cleveland was unique in the line of nineteenth-century Chief Executives.

  • Harry S. Truman by Robert Dallek--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Robert Dallek's biography Harry S. Truman, about the plainspoken man from Missouri who never expected to be president yet rose to become one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century. Few chief executives have had so lasting an impact.

  • John Adams by John Patrick Diggins--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from John Patrick Diggins' biography John Adams, part of The American Presidents Series. Until recently rescued by David McCullough, John Adams has always been overshadowed by Washington and Jefferson. Volatile, impulsive, irritable, and self-pitying, Adams seemed temperamentally unsuited for the presidency. Yet in many ways he was the perfect successor to Washington in terms of ability, experience, and popularity.

  • John Quincy Adams by Robert V. Remini--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Robert V. Remini's biography John Quincy Adams, part of The American Presidents Series. Chosen by the House of Representatives after an inconclusive election against Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams often failed to mesh with the ethos of his era, pushing unsuccessfully for a strong, consolidated national government. Historian Robert V.

  • Rutherford B. Hayes by Hans L. Trefousse--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Hans L. Trefousse's biography Rutherford B. Hayes, part of The American Presidents Series. Hayes was a leader of the Reconstruction era, whose contested election eerily parallels the election debacle of 2000. The disputed election of 1876 between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden, in which Congress set up a special electoral commission, handing the disputed electoral votes to Hayes, brings recent events into sharp focus.

  • Theodore Roosevelt by Louis Auchincloss--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Louis Auchincloss' biography Theodore Roosevelt, an intimate portrait of the first president of the 20th century. The American century opened with the election of that quintessentially American adventurer, Theodore Roosevelt. Louis Auchincloss's warm and knowing biography introduces us to the man behind the many myths of Theodore Roosevelt.

  • Thomas Jefferson by Joyce Appleby--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Joyce Appleby's biography Thomas Jefferson, part of The American Presidents Series. Few presidents have embodied the American spirit as fully as Thomas Jefferson. He was the originator of so many of the founding principles of American democracy. Politically, he shuffled off the centralized authority of the Federalists, working toward a more diffuse and minimalist leadership.

  • William McKinley by Kevin Phillips--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Kevin Phillips' biography William McKinley. By any serious measurement, bestselling historian Kevin Phillips argues, William McKinley was a major American president. It was during his administration that the United States made its diplomatic and military debut as a world power.

  • Woodrow Wilson by H.W. Brands--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from H.W. Brands' biography Woodrow Wilson, part of The American Presidents Series. Acclaimed historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist H. W. Brands offers a clear, well-informed, and timely account of Wilson's unusual route to the White House, his campaign against corporate interests, his struggles with rivals at home and allies abroad, and his decline in popularity and health following the rejection by Congress of his League of Nations.

  • James Madison by Garry Wills--Audiobook Excerpt

    Listen to this audiobook excerpt from bestselling historian Garry Wills' biography James Madison. Explore Madison's rise to prominence in the colonies through his role in the creation if the Articles of Confederation and the first Constitutional Congress. Madison oversaw the first foreign war under the constitution, and had to confront issues such as public morale, internal security, relations with Congress, and the independence of the military.

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