Best Books Written By US Presidents

A politics aficionado reveals the best books written by US presidents.

Being the US president means that you need to have a lot of skills. You need to be a good negotiator, able to think critically, and also have to be able to use your words carefully. 

Or, that's what it used to mean until recently.

Because our country's presidents have had a long history of being excellent orators and speakers, America has been a country famous for having excellent writers at the helm of the nation. 

Throughout the country's history, many presidents have written and published books before, during, and after their terms. Though a multitude of books have been penned by presidents, only a handful can really rank among the best books written by US presidents. 

Speaking as an avid reader, almost any book 

Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation by George Washington

Most people know George Washington as a brilliant general, a tactful negotiator, a cherry tree chopper, and the first president in United States history. However, he's so much more than just a great politician and general. 

Historians could tell you that George Washington was also a maverick when it came to writing. In fact, he actually had written and published his first book at the tender age of 16

The book was called Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, and it was an etiquette book that was based off rules that were first established by Jesuit priests. 

Though the etiquette guidelines may seem a bit outdated, the truth is that it still brings to light how important being well-mannered really is. It also provides valuable insight on what really went through Washington's mind when he went into negotiations with foreign dignitaries. 

Overall, it's a must-read for history fans and etiquette fans, and its timelessness earns it a top rank among the best books written by US presidents. 

A Nation of Immigrants by John F. Kennedy

America has, and always will be a nation of immigrants — and that's exactly why JFK titled one of his greatest publications A Nation of Immigrants. This book regularly gets called one of the best books written by US presidents by both literary critics and historians, and it's easy to see why. 

This entire book is devoted to Kennedy's personal cause of immigration reform and is one of the most heartfelt written pleas ever created in the name of making America a more welcoming place for everyone. 

Inspiring, eloquent, and more relevant than ever, this posthumously published book really does bring out all of Kennedy's brilliance in full force. 

Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy

Not all American heroes get the praise that they deserve, and at times, it's almost unjust the way that true heroes are treated. John F. Kennedy was one of the few presidents who acknowledged this issue, and as a result published a book called Profiles in Courage

For people who have ever felt unappreciated or unnoticed, Profiles in Courage is one of the best books written by US presidents you could read. It's a celebration of the people who rarely get noticed, straight from one of the men who captured the world's attention.  

You see, Profiles in Courage isn't your typical presidential book. It's filled with fascinating stories about heroes American history overlooked, and the amazing impact their courage has made on the world. 

If you choose to read this book, expect to feel humbled and impressed by the heroes' stories. 

The Jefferson Bible by Thomas Jefferson

Though America is a country where all religions are welcome to practice, it'd be a bold-faced lie to say that the Founding Fathers weren't overwhelmingly Christian — and as a result, many of the Founding Fathers found inspiration for laws from stories in the Bible. 

Thomas Jefferson was one such president, and he was so inspired by what the Bible said about Jesus that he decided to challenge himself. His goal, with The Jefferson Bible, was to create a book that discussed the life and morals of Jesus in a way that everyone could understand. 

Though this book is definitely religious, what makes it rank highly among the best books written by US presidents isn't necessarily the subject matter, but the insight it provides into Jefferson's world. The book makes it easy to see where Jefferson's mind was when he wrote laws, and why many Founding Fathers were the way they were. 

From both a historical and prose standpoint, this book is impressive and worth a read. 

Six Crises by Richard Nixon

Nixon may not be the most popular president, but the guy definitely was a talented writer. His most famous work, Six Crises, reflects back on the biggest crises of his political career prior to his rise to the US presidency. 

The book itself was actually written in hopes of alleviating his ailing public image, and while it may have failed in that sense, it did succeed in being one of the best books written by US presidents ever published. 

His retelling of the scandals is surprisingly lucid, and though sympathetic to him, also still brutally honest. From a historical view of things, many parts of the book also act as very eerie foreshadowing to his downfall during the Watergate scandal. 

All things considered, it's an amazingly honest and exciting look into one of the most heavily stigmatized presidencies in US history. If politicians today had this level of honesty, America would be in a much better position. 

Personal Memoirs of U.S Grant by Ulysses S. Grant

Much like Nixon, Ulysses S. Grant was not someone who fared well during his time in the White House. Though he was an absolutely spectacular general for the Union during the Civil War, his time in the office was considered to be a disaster. 

That being said, his Personal Memoirs of U.S Grant doesn't focus on the dullness of life in the Oval Office. Instead, it generally focuses on the action that he lived through during the Civil War — and therefore provides one of the most fascinating glimpses historians have into what life was really like in the Civil War.

Along with being regularly suggested as one of the best books written by US presidents in history, Personal Memoirs of U.S Grant also has another major honor not many other books have. The original publisher of the book was none other than Mark Twain, himself. 

Since it was published posthumously, Grant never got to experience the huge success that his book received during its initial publication. However, its staying power throughout the decades definitely gives Grant the legacy he truly deserved. 

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

America's first black president also happened to be one of the best writers to recently rock the White House. Though he has written a number of books, including some for children, most people would agree that his true magnum opus was Dreams from My Father

This autobiographical look into his life is one of the best books written by US presidents to hit store shelves recently and covers the many different struggles he faced as a black American headed to the White House. The raw storytelling discusses his racial identity, his childhood, and his confrontations with the past in a way that few would dare discuss. 

If you're looking for a modern and impressively intimate look inside the mind of one of the best presidents to ever live, reading Drams from My Father will not disappoint. 

Cato Conroy
Cato Conroy

Cato Conroy is a Manhattan-based writer who yearns for a better world. He loves to write about politics, news reports, and interesting innovations that will impact the way we live.

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Best Books Written By US Presidents