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The stories of a bunch of cranky, power-hungry, opinionated, brilliant, and idealistic men….

Some favorites (links go to

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, by Walter Isaacson –  A biography with a novel’s flow, about a man who was enormously creative and vastly entertaining. (True, he’s not a president, but his eminence and influence make him the equivalent, at least in my mind.)

John Adams, by David McCullough – Who the heck would think John Adams could be interesting? And they made a miniseries based on it! A mini-series on John Adams!

Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin – Goodwin’s book about the Lincoln and his administration is just plain genius. A group of cranky, power-hungry, opinionated, brilliant, and idealistic men (and wives and daughters), and the doings of lesser mortals, all crammed between the covers of one book. Goodwin offers intellectual challenge and a great historical gossip fest.

Next on the list: William S. McFeeley’s Grant. The biography by Jean Edward Smith, also called Grant, was impressive but a bit worshipful; I’m up for another angle on the man.  Also McCullough’s Mornings on Horseback, about Theodore Roosevelt.

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