Author in Chief

The Presidents as Writers from Washington to Trump

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About the Book

With the publication of his Personal Memoirs in 1885, Ulysses S. Grant established what is today known as the presidential memoir. Every U.S. president since Benjamin Harrison has written one and many have turned to other forms of writing, as well.
This book covers the history of works—including autobiographies, diaries, political manifestos, speeches, fiction and poetry—authored by U.S. presidents and published prior to, during or after their terms. The writing was easy for some, harder for others, with varying success, from literary comebacks and bestsellers to false starts and failures.

About the Author(s)

Michael B. Costanzo is a contributor to The Numismatist and lives in Columbia, Tennessee.

Bibliographic Details

Michael B. Costanzo
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 246
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7570-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3539-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Diaries and Letters 3
George Washington 5
John Adams 11
Thomas Jefferson 14
James Madison 20
James Monroe 22
John Quincy Adams 25
Three Generals:
Andrew Jackson,
William Henry Harrison
and Zachary Taylor 32
Martin Van Buren 34
Two Accidentals: John Tyler and Millard Fillmore 37
James K. Polk 38
Franklin Pierce 41
James Buchanan 42
Abraham Lincoln 44
Andrew Johnson 48
Ulysses S. Grant 50
Rutherford B. Hayes 63
James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur 65
Benjamin Harrison 65
Grover Cleveland 66
William McKinley 69
Theodore Roosevelt 69
William Howard Taft 82
Woodrow Wilson 84
Warren G. Harding 90
Calvin Coolidge 91
Herbert Hoover 92
Franklin D. Roosevelt 100
Harry S. Truman 101
Dwight D. Eisenhower 107
John F. Kennedy 110
Lyndon B. Johnson 118
Richard M. Nixon 124
Gerald R. Ford 131
Jimmy Carter 137
Ronald Reagan 150
George H.W. Bush 154
Bill Clinton 158
George W. Bush 164
Barack Obama 168
Donald J. Trump 174
A Brief History of Publishing the Presidents: Booksellers, Copyrights, Royalties, Ghostwriters and Literary Agents 183
First Editions, Limited Editions and Other Collectibles 190
Chronological List of Publications Authored by Presidents 197
Notes 207
Bibliography 219
Index 229

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A unique, informative, and inherently fascinating read from cover to cover…unreservedly recommended”—Midwest Book Review.