Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Swamping My Reading List

Some time back I decided that I wanted to read a biography of each of the Presidents (I got little further than making a list). In making my list, though, I discovered that while there are many many biographies written about some Presidents (and very few about others), identifying a good biography can be a challenge. How does one know which are good and which are not before reading them? Individual reviews are helpful to a point, but are often fawning and don't give an overview of the entire field or compare one against another.

Yesterday I found what I was looking for. Blogger Stephen Floyd has taken on the momentous task of reading and reviewing not just one, but all of the major biographies of the Presidents. He started with Washington in 2012 and has gotten all the way to Hayes. Each book gets its own review and he also does a single comparison of all the books. The comprehensive reviews are one of my favorite features. And as a private pilot, he also intersperses some of his reviews with areal photographs of the locations.

His blog confirmed several books that were already on my Presidential to-read list, gave me replacements for others, and identified many more that I was unaware of. I trust it will be my first stop in considering the quality of any future biographies that catch my eye.

I encourage you to check out his blog and think that you won't be disappointed. (Intimidated, maybe, but not disappointed.)

And let me know, what were the best or worst Presidential biographies that you've read?
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