United States Presidents have carried out countless important acts for our country, including the Fifteenth Amendment in 1870 that allowed US citizens of any race or color to vote in any state, the New Deal relief programs that helped the country out of its Great Depression in the 1930s, and the initiation of Project Apollo, which culminated in the first moon landing by the United States in 1969. But who were the men in the Oval Office? What were intimate details of our past presidents’ moral beliefs and social upbringings?
Very many works have been written about the United States presidents, in the form of both memoirs and biographies. Even today’s leader of the free world, President Obama, has published the stories of his life in his memoir, Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance:
All men live in the shadow of their fathers – the more distant the father, the deeper the shadow. Barack Obama describes his confrontation with this shadow in his provocative autobiography… and he also persuasively describes the phenomenon of belonging to two different worlds, and thus belonging to either.
There have been dozens of work written by and about United States presidents, covering topics as intimate as their childhood and upbringing and as compelling as their personal views on economics and politics. These accounts and opinions become even more fascinating over time, serving as testaments to important periods in US history, written by the men in charge of change.
While he was still the junior senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage, a compilation of stories about eight influential people he considered courageous beyond measure:
The inspiring accounts of eight previous heroic acts by American patriots inspired the American public to remember the courage progress requires. Now, a half-century later, it remains a classic and a relevant testament to the national spirit that celebrates the most noble of human virtues. Kennedy relates these heroisms to sketches of American politicians who have risked their careers for principle. “A man does what he must,” he wrote, “in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.”
More or his views on morality and American freedom can be read about in JFK’s original campaign speech, delivered in St. Louis, Missouri in October of 1960 and complete with annotations in his hand.
While JFK was a president of progress and social change, Ulysses S. Grant served as an active agent of that change during his time in the Civil War, earning himself the title of one of the most valuable military commanders in history. Most know that President Grant was credited with his defeat over the Confederacy and therefore widely celebrated as a hero before his time in the White House. Today, the colorful details of his military career and time as president are available in a first edition, two-volume set, complete with a letter written by U.S. Grant to his childhood friend J. Russell Jones. Written while President Grant was dying of cancer and published by Mark Twain, Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant have been described as “the best memoirs of any general’s since Caesar.”
Up to sixteen works by United States presidents are available today in their first editions, including those by or about Thomas Jefferson, Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, George Washington, Lyndon Johnson, and George H. W. Bush.