Being the President of the United States is much more than the average public government job. It’s an unfathomable responsibility that has only been held by forty-five democratically elected men. They are the forefront—the point men—of this great nation. Presidents, while they are historically educated, male, and rhetorically effective speakers, are also historically authors. Looking specifically at the past five presidents, the Press has noticed a trend of books by our nation’s leaders as a way to express their views, relate, or defend themselves to the public—though some just want to tell stories.
5) Ronald Reagan, 40th 1981-89
Reagan was a present-day Schwarzenegger who was able to rise from actor, to California Governor, to the highest rank in public office. Before his presidency he was a leading Hollywood actor starring in multiple films. His most notable publication was Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation (1983), the only book published by a president while they were still in office.
4) George H. W. Bush, 41st 1989-93
Bush coined the term “points of light,” saying they were the soul of America and “ordinary people who reach beyond themselves to touch the lives of those in need.” Before his presidency he released Looking Forward: An Autobiography (1988). Post-presidency he released a book highlighting his foreign relation policies during his term called A World Transformed (1998).
3) Bill Clinton, 42nd 1993-2001
Clinton is best known for brokering the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. He is also an autobiographical author, publishing Between Hope and History before the 1996 election. He later wrote another autobiography, My Life (2004); an instant bestseller breaking the presidential book-selling record at that time. He has published two more books, Giving (2007) and Back to Work (2011).
2) George W. Bush, 43rd 2001-09
Bush is the second president whose father was also president, which is highlighted in his book, 41: A Portrait of my Father (2004). His other books include Decision Points (2010), which broke the presidential book-selling record formerly held by Bill Clinton’s memoir. Releasing February 28, 2017 is a new publication called Portraits of Courage, which is a collection of oil paintings and stories by Bush from war veterans who have served since 9/11. The event holds deep significance for Bush, as the event occurred during his presidency.
1) Barack Obama, 44th 2009-17
Obama was the first African American president, but he also holds a deep love for literature. He says it helped him survive his terms in office: “Whether they’ve made me a better president I can’t say . . . they have allowed me to sort of maintain my balance during the course of eight years.” His first book, Dreams of My Father (1995), is a memoir of his young life before politics. His next release, The Audacity of Hope (2004), helped establish his platform before his run. In 2010 he released a sweet children’s book, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters.
Check out this Goodreads page to see more books written by U.S. Presidents.