Who’s in Charge Anyway?

Once every four years our country gets to experience the “dramedy” that has become our presidential election. Television stations begin months beforehand to run political ads and promotional campaigns gearing up to the big event. The publishing industry also wants a portion of the proceeds to be gained from all the hoopla. Books by the current and past presidents are always popular.

The White House Diary, written by Jimmy Carter, is a very open account of Pres. Carter’s day-to-day activities and conversations in the Oval Office. Covering years 1977 through early 1981, topics discussed include Camp David, Anwar Sadat and the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island.

Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama was originally published in 1995 and reprinted in 2004. It was completed while Pres. Obama was still in law school and focuses on the struggles of his family to overcome prejudice. Readers with an interest in African-American heritage will appreciate the discussion of Pres. Obama’s journey to Kenya to find answers regarding his paternal genealogy.

One of the best-loved books ever written by a president isn’t actually about him. Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy contains biographical sketches of such well-known names as Sam Houston and Daniel Webster. The memorial edition released in 1964 includes a forward written by the late president’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy. He explains how the President chose his courageous subjects and why. This book remains popular and has become a modern-day classic.

Books about our country’s presidents are equally as popular and too numerous to list. The great state of Ohio has contributed either 7 or 8 presidential leaders (depending on if William Henry Harrison is counted). So it would seem fitting to mention two titles written about our native sons. In The Teapot Dome Scandal author Laton McCartney discusses his research into the Warren G. Harding presidency and its connection to the oil barons of the early twentieth century. Corruption is the name of the game in this entertaining account of political scandal at its worst.

Destiny of the Republic: a Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President was written by bestselling author Candice Millard. It traces the short 200 day-long presidency of James A. Garfield from the beginning until his death on Sept. 19, 1881. The author discusses murderer Charles Guiteau, along with the back story of Vice President Chester A. Arthur’s activities during this dark time in American history.

To locate these or any other presidential titles, visit your local library branch. Happy Reading!