Podcasts and Other Ways In

As an advocate of presidential history, I'm often pushing the latest work by Ron Chernow or David McCullough into the hands of family and friends. While these are great books from great authors, I'm well aware that it's asking a lot to get someone to read 1,000 pages on Harry Truman. I also know that it's daunting to find THE book to read with so many choices.

So with that in mind, I wanted to offer a few different ways in to presidential history.  

Your first stop should be the fantastic Washington Post podcast, Presidential. Over the course of 44 episodes, Lilian Cunningham guides you through each president by focusing on specific aspects of their presidencies. You're not getting strict cradle-to-grave bios here. Instead, you get a look into each presidency, backed by special guests like David McCullough and Bob Woodward. I absolutely loved each episode, and I strongly recommend this regardless of your level of interest in/familiarity with the presidency.

Another option is blogs like Steve Floyd's deeply impressive, My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies. While I've read a bio on each president, Steve is taking a far more intense approach and reading multiple bios. As of today, he's read 183 bios and about 90,000 pages, which I think we can all agree is quite a feat! I found his reviews incredibly useful for picking the right bio for me. When you go to the library or Amazon, you're faced with dozens of options for some of these men, so it helps to have someone do the heavy lifting for you.

If you've found alternative ways in, please do let me know. I'm always interested in knowing how other people found their way to their presidential obsession.