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My Top 5 Presidential Biographies

2008This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Washington's God: Religion, Liberty, and the Father of Our Country
Michael Novak and Jana Novak

A rich and readable examination of what the nation's first President and most important founder believed. With overwhelming evidence, the Novaks debunk myths about Washington's alleged deism.

Faith and the Presidency: From George Washington to George W. Bush
Gary Scott Smith

This examination of 11 Presidents' faith is remarkably balanced and sourced in great detail. Arguably the seminal work on the faith of our Presidents, the chapter on Jefferson alone is worth the price tag.

John Adams
David Mccullough

In this Pulitzer Prize–winning biography, McCullough resurrects John Adams — one of our most thoughtful, intellectual, spiritual, and influential founders — from an unforgivable period of historical omission.

Nixon: A Life
Jonathan Aitken

Aitken came to know Nixon well and had unprecedented access to the former President's family and other sources. The revelations in this insightful book include startling information on John F. Kennedy and the 1960 election, plus a pious side of Nixon that few witnessed.

The First Cold Warrior
Elizabeth Edwards Spalding

This Harry Truman biography is more academic than most books about his colorful personality and presidency. Spalding's final chapter is a substantive treatment of Truman's underestimated faith, particularly in relation to his Cold War anti-Communism.


Related Elsewhere:

God and Ronald Reagan: A Spiritual Life is available from ChristianBook.com and other retailers.

Previous Top 5 lists have featured books on World Christianity, Ancient-Future Faith, the Civil Rights Era, Social Justice, Church History, Popular Culture, the Civil War, Apologetics, Atheism, and Sex.

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