What’s Your Favorite Book, TV Show or Movie About a President?

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This topic contains 21 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  Andrew Krzmarzick 8 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #92119

    UPDATE: I originally posted this discussion on President’s Day in 2010. I decided to dust it off and brush it up a bit. At first, it only included biographies, but I’ve expanded the discussion to include TV and movies as well. Have fun!


    I love biographies. I love reading about the life paths of people who overcome great obstacles to rise to greatness. Many of our presidents have such stories…

    What’s the best presidential biography you’ve read and why?

    How about the best TV or movie biopic?

    There are some amazing books and movies on Truman, FDR, Teddy Roosevelt, Lincoln, etc…what’s your favorite?

  • #92161

    Here’s a great list of “Favorite Presidential Biographies” I found on Amazon:


    Seems pretty solid as I’ve heard recommendations from others on about 5 of them.

  • #92159

    P.S. You can also add movies and documentaries to the list of “favorite” things to share! Provide links! 🙂

  • #92157

    Megan Dotson

    I enjoyed the HBO series “John Adams“. I don’t have HBO but Netflix has been a great friend of mine and they let me borrow it 🙂

  • #92155

    Darrel W. Cole

    Andrew, don’t get me started! I am with you on this….
    For sure, the two volumes to date by Edmund Morris on Theodore Roosevelt. The first called “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” the second called “Theodore Rex.” Morris has not yet published the third. Anything about Roosevelt, though is always on my reading list, because his life fascinates me. Most currently, reading “Wilderness Warrior” by Douglas Brinckley about how Roosevelt was a key figure in the conservation/naturalist/preservation movement, and “River of Doubt” by Candice Milliard (sp?) about Roosevelt’s 1,000 mile journey in an unchartered section of the Amazon.
    Also loved “John Adams” and “Truman” both bios by David McCullough.
    But before any, read the Edmund Morris bios on Roosevelt. Well written, fascinating and captivating subject, keeps you wanting more.

  • #92153

    Emi Whittle

    I second that! Produced by Tom Hanks, it shows the whole life and times and how things were…. the difficult environment in which these brave men effected change, struggled with human integrity, and despite us all, gave birth to our great nation!!!

  • #92151

    Thanks, Darrel. I am definitely adding those to my list…

    I think I saw a History Channel show about his post-presidency expeditions to the Amazon…unbelievable adventurer!

  • #92149

    Sterling Whitehead

    Hands down, Truman is the best one I’ve read. Absolutely amazing…though a bit long.

  • #92147

    Jaime Gracia

    “Truman” by David McCullough. For a great experience, listen to McCullogh narrate his audio book.


  • #92145

    Sterling Whitehead

    Good Call, His Excellency is a great read.

  • #92143

    Steve Ressler

    I feel like a loser. Need to get my reading game going..Haven’t read a single one.

  • #92141

    Hey Gwynne – Quick aside: did I ever tell you I worked at Bishop McNamara for two years? Another great WCAC school! 🙂 And I was there during the years when their girls basketball team was nationally ranked. Pretty cool…

    Great recommendation on this book, thanks!

  • #92139

    History Channel documentaries count, too! 😉

  • #92137

    Marie Koko

    I third that. It’s a wonderful movie that I often use when explaining to students how a knowledge of anthropology could work into a career in movie-making.

  • #92135

    Marie Koko

    It’s not technically about a president (though two of its lead characters would go on to become presidents), but I adore the film version of “1776.”

  • #92133

    Mark Hammer

    Yes, it’s a bit of a sucky choice to go for something so obvious, but I still watch “The West Wing” in reruns. Of course, the president is a fictitious one, but it is rare that we get to see the mechanics of how decisions are often made, in such richly nuanced detail.

  • #92131

    David B. Grinberg

    Awesome discussion, Andy. My choice is — drum roll please….


    Favorite book and film

    If you’re a media/political/government junkie like me, this one’s for you.


  • #92129

    Agree with Mark – fictitious representations are the most interesting.

    My favorites are–

    * Martin Sheen – “The West Wing”

    * Dennis Haysbert – “24”

    * Harrison Ford – “Air Force One”

  • #92127

    Neal Meyerson

    Any of the Robert Caro books about President Johnson.

  • #92125

    I was a huge 24 fan and sad to see it go. On the opposite side, this new show “Scandal” is not in contention. 🙂

  • #92123

    Mark Hammer

    Some of the research on gender-bias in hiring proposes that if an occupation is traditionally associated with one sex, it becomes difficult for hiring managers to imagine “the competent incumbent” in the form of the other under-represented sex. As the gender gap gets closed in that occupation (and I seem to recall the inflection point is somewhere around 30% or more of incumbents being the “nontraditional” sex), it becomes easier for hiring managers to imagine the competent incumbent in the form of either sex…because they’ve seen it enough times already. The applicant gets compared against that broader more inclusive template, and gets hired or not, based on THAT comparison, rather than simply being the “wrong sex”.

    I harbour a belief that a small portion of what got President Obama elected the first time out was Dennis Haysbert’s role on the first few seasons of 24. There had likely been other occasions when the POTUS was depicted as non-Caucasian, but these would have been brief one-offs, in films or single episodes of shows. Dennis Haysbert brought his own brand of dignity to the role, and the character was certainly drawn as one with integrity and competence. But more importantly, the fact that he was regularly seen in the role for several seasons, making a variety of decisions on important matters, again and again, made it seem all that much more “normal” for someone different to be in the position. I think he helped to make it much less jarring for people to anticipate that change, by being to imagine the “competent incumbent” in more diverse forms. Obviously, Pres. Obama and his campaign had to carry the ball the rest of the way downfield, but as long as I’m using sports metaphors, I think 24 lowered the hurdles by an inch or so.

    And yes, in the pantheons of people you’d vote for in a heartbeat, “Get…off…my…plane!!” wins hands down every time. 🙂

  • #92121

    Kevin Lanahan

    Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

    Whaddya mean, it’s fiction?

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