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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
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    • William Howard Taft

    • The American Presidents
      Jeffrey Rosen
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The only man to serve as president and chief justice, who approached every decision in constitutional terms, defending the Founders’ vision against new populist threats to American democracy

      William...

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      • eBook
  • Bill Clinton
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    • Bill Clinton

    • The American Presidents
      Michael Tomasky; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The president of larger-than-life ambitions and appetites whose term defined America at the close of the twentieth century

      Bill Clinton: a president of contradictions. He was a Rhodes...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Ronald Reagan
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    • Ronald Reagan

    • The American Presidents
      Jacob Weisberg; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The conservative icon who reshaped American politics and laid the groundwork for the end of the Cold War

      In the second half of the twentieth century, no American president defined his...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • George W. Bush
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    • George W. Bush

    • The American Presidents
      James Mann; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The controversial president whose time in office was defined by the September 11 attacks and the war on terror

      George W. Bush stirred powerful feelings...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • George Washington
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    • George Washington

    • The American Presidents
      James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • A premier leadership scholar and an eighteenth-century expert define the special contributions and qualifications of our first president

      Revolutionary hero, founding president, and first...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • John F. Kennedy
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    • John F. Kennedy

    • The American Presidents
      Alan Brinkley; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The young president who brought vigor and glamour to the White House while he confronted cold war crises abroad and calls for social change at home

      John Fitzgerald Kennedy was a new...

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      • eBook
  • William Henry Harrison
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    • William Henry Harrison

    • The American Presidents
      Gail Collins; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The president who served the shortest term—just a single month—but whose victorious election campaign rewrote the rules for candidates seeking America's highest office

      William...

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      • eBook
  • Millard Fillmore
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    • Millard Fillmore

    • The American Presidents
      Paul Finkelman; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The oddly named president whose shortsightedness and stubbornness fractured the nation and sowed the seeds of civil war

      In the summer of 1850, America was at a terrible crossroads. Congress...

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      • eBook
  • Andrew Johnson
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    • Andrew Johnson

    • The American Presidents
      Annette Gordon-Reed; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian recounts the tale of the unwanted president who ran afoul of Congress over Reconstruction and was nearly removed from office

      Andrew Johnson never...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Jimmy Carter
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    • Jimmy Carter

    • The American Presidents
      Julian E. Zelizer; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The maverick politician from Georgia who rode the post- Watergate wave into office but whose term was consumed by economic and international crises

      A peanut farmer from Georgia, Jimmy...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Lyndon B. Johnson
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    • Lyndon B. Johnson

    • The American Presidents
      Charles Peters; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The towering figure who sought to transform America into a "Great Society" but whose ambitions and presidency collapsed in the tragedy of the Vietnam War

      Few figures in American history...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Franklin Pierce
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    • Franklin Pierce

    • The American Presidents
      Michael F. Holt; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The genial but troubled New Englander whose single-minded partisan loyalties inflamed the nation's simmering battle over slavery

      Charming and handsome, Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Herbert Hoover
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    • Herbert Hoover

    • The American Presidents
      William E. Leuchtenburg; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The Republican efficiency expert whose economic boosterism met its match in the Great Depression

      Catapulted into national politics by his heroic campaigns to feed Europe during and after...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Abraham Lincoln
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    • Abraham Lincoln

    • The American Presidents
      George S. McGovern; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • McGovern—a former U.S. senator, presidential candidate, veteran, and historian by training—offers his unique insight into our sixteenth president.

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • John Tyler
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    • John Tyler

    • The American Presidents
      Gary May; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The first "accidental president," whose secret maneuverings brought Texas into the Union and set secession in motion

      When William Henry Harrison died in April 1841, just one month after...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • The Founding Fathers
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    • The Founding Fathers

    • The American Presidents
      Edited by Arthur M. Schlesinger; Read by Richard Rohan
      Macmillan Audio

    • This elegant boxed-set includes biographies of America's first four chief executives in volumes compact enough for the busy listener.

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
  • Harry S. Truman
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    • Harry S. Truman

    • The American Presidents
      Robert Dallek; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • Bestselling biographer Dallek chronicles how a plainspoken man from Missouri rose to become one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century.

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • Zachary Taylor
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    • Zachary Taylor

    • The American Presidents
      John S. D. Eisenhower; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The rough-hewn general who rose to the nation's highest office, and whose presidency witnessed the first political skirmishes that would lead to the Civil War

      Zachary Taylor was a soldier's...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • George H. W. Bush
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    • George H. W. Bush

    • The American Presidents
      Timothy Naftali; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., and Sean Wilentz, General Editors
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The judicious statesman who won victories abroad but suffered defeat at home, whose wisdom and demeanor served America well at a critical time

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • Richard M. Nixon
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    • Richard M. Nixon

    • The American Presidents
      Elizabeth Drew; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The complex man at the center of America's most self-destructive presidency

      In this provocative and revelatory assessment of the only president ever forced out of office, the legendary...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Gerald R. Ford
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    • Gerald R. Ford

    • The American Presidents
      Douglas Brinkley; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The "accidental" president whose innate decency and steady hand restored the presidency after its greatest crisis

      When Gerald R. Ford entered the White House in August 1974,...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Calvin Coolidge
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    • Calvin Coolidge

    • The American Presidents
      David Greenberg; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The austere president who presided over the Roaring Twenties and whose conservatism masked an innovative approach to national leadership

      He was known as "Silent Cal." Buttoned up and...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • James A. Garfield
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    • James A. Garfield

    • The American Presidents
      Ira Rutkow; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The ambitious self-made man who reached the pinnacle of American politics—only to be felled by an assassin's bullet and to die at the hands of his doctors

      James A. Garfield was one...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Andrew Jackson
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    • Andrew Jackson

    • The American Presidents
      Sean Wilentz; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The towering figure who remade American politics—the champion of the ordinary citizen and the scourge of entrenched privilege

      "It is rare that historians manage both Wilentz's deep...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • James Monroe
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    • James Monroe

    • The American Presidents
      Gary Hart; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The former senator and presidential candidate offers a provocative new assessment of the first "national security president"

      James Monroe is remembered today primarily for two things:...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Benjamin Harrison
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    • Benjamin Harrison

    • The American Presidents
      Charles W. Calhoun; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The scion of a political dynasty ushers in the era of big government

      Politics was in Benjamin Harrison's blood. His great-grandfather signed the Declaration and his grandfather, William...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Martin Van Buren
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    • Martin Van Buren

    • The American Presidents
      Ted Widmer; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The first president born after America's independence ushers in a new era of no-holds-barred democracy

      The first "professional politician" to become president, the slick and dandyish...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Ulysses S. Grant
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    • Ulysses S. Grant

    • The American Presidents
      Josiah Bunting III; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The underappreciated presidency of the military man who won the Civil War and then had to win the peace as well

      As a general, Ulysses S. Grant is routinely described in glowing terms-the...

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • Chester Alan Arthur
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    • Chester Alan Arthur

    • The American Presidents
      Zachary Karabell; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The Gilded Age bon vivant who became America's unlikeliest chief executive-and who presided over a sweeping reform of the system that nurtured him

      Chester Alan Arthur never dreamed that...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • James Buchanan
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    • James Buchanan

    • The American Presidents
      Jean H. Baker; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • A provocative reconsideration of a presidency on the brink of Civil War

      Almost no president was as well trained and well prepared for the office as James Buchanan. He had served in the...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Warren G. Harding
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    • Warren G. Harding

    • The American Presidents
      John W. Dean; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • President Nixon's former counsel illuminates another presidency marked by scandal

      Warren G. Harding may be best known as America's worst president. Scandals plagued him: the Teapot Dome...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • George Washington
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    • George Washington

    • The American Presidents
      James MacGregor Burns and Susan Dunn; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • A premier leadership scholar and an eighteenth-century expert define the special contributions and qualifications of our first president

      Revolutionary hero, founding president, and...

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
  • James K. Polk
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    • James K. Polk

    • The American Presidents
      John Seigenthaler; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • The story of a pivotal president who watched over our westward expansion and solidified the dream of Jacksonian democracy

      James K. Polk was a shrewd and decisive commander in chief,...

      • Available in:

      • eBook
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt
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    • Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    • The American Presidents
      Roy Jenkins; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • A masterly work by the New York Times bestselling author of Churchill and Gladstone

      A protean figure and a man of massive achievement, Franklin Delano Roosevelt...

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • William McKinley
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    • William McKinley

    • The American Presidents
      Kevin Phillips; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • A bestselling historian and political commentator reconsiders McKinley's overshadowed legacy

      By any serious measurement, bestselling historian Kevin Phillips argues, William McKinley...

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • John Adams
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    • John Adams

    • The American Presidents
      John Patrick Diggins; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • A revealing look at the true beginning of American politics

      Until recently rescued by David McCullough, John Adams has always been overshadowed by Washington and Jefferson. Volatile,...

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • Woodrow Wilson
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    • Woodrow Wilson

    • The American Presidents
      H. W. Brands; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • A comprehensive account of the rise and fall of one of the major shapers of American foreign policy

      On the eve of his inauguration as President, Woodrow Wilson commented, "It would be...

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • Thomas Jefferson
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    • Thomas Jefferson

    • The American Presidents
      Joyce Appleby; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • An illuminating analysis of the man whose name is synonymous with American democracy

      Few presidents have embodied the American spirit as fully as Thomas Jefferson. He was the originator...

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
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    • Dwight D. Eisenhower

    • The American Presidents
      Tom Wicker; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • An American icon and hero faces a nation-and a world-in transition

      A bona-fide American hero at the close of World War II, General Dwight Eisenhower rode an enormous wave of popularity into...

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • Rutherford B. Hayes
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    • Rutherford B. Hayes

    • The American Presidents
      Hans Trefousse; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • 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,...

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • Grover Cleveland
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    • Grover Cleveland

    • The American Presidents
      Henry F. Graff; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • A fresh look at the only president to serve nonconsecutive terms.

      Though often overlooked, Grover Cleveland was a significant figure in American presidential history. Having run for...

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • John Quincy Adams
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    • John Quincy Adams

    • The American Presidents
      Robert V. Remini; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • A vivid portrait of a man whose pre- and post-presidential careers overshadowed his presidency.

      Chosen president by the House of Representatives after an inconclusive election against...

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • James Madison
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    • James Madison

    • The American Presidents
      Garry Wills; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • A bestselling historian examines the life of a Founding Father.

      Renowned historian and social commentator Garry Wills takes a fresh look at the life of James Madison, from his rise to...

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook
  • Theodore Roosevelt
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    • Theodore Roosevelt

    • The American Presidents
      Louis Auchincloss; Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., General Editor
      Henry Holt and Co.

    • An intimate portrait of the first president of the 20th century.

      • Available in:

      • Audio Book
      • eBook

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