Twentieth Century Presidents

Sharing a post from our friends at the Wolfner Talking Book and Braille Library in Missouri. Better late than never. Happy reading!!

Twentieth Century Presidents


As we prepare to celebrate President’s Day, you may want to listen to some of these books written about the twentieth century presidents. The books in some cases are edited or compiled by others, but are taken from the spoken words or writings of the presidents themselves.


Theodore Roosevelt (1901- 1909)

African Game Trails

Read by Robert Sams. Reading time 19 hours, 54 minutes
Roosevelt describes his eleven month safari with his son, Kermit, in East Africa after leaving the presidency in 1909. In spite of the adventurous tone, the former president explains that he undertook the hunting expedition to obtain specimens to further scientific knowledge in the United States.

Download African Game Trails, DB53704


River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard

Read by Paul Michael. Reading time 12 hours, 17 minutes
Former writer with National Geographic recounts the adventurous travels of Theodore Roosevelt and his son Kermit through South America in 1913-1914. Relates the expedition’s threats from cannibals, flesh-eating bacteria, wildlife, and rapids. Journey was first described by Roosevelt in Through the Brazilian Wilderness (DB 53848). Commercial audiobook. 2005.
Download River of Doubt, DB60664


Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933 -1945)


For the Survival of Democracy: Franklin Roosevelt and the World Crisis of the 1930s by Alonzo L. Hamby

Read by Bill Wallace. Reading time 21 hours, 33 minutes
History professor recounts U.S. president Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s handling of the economic disaster of the Great Depression while totalitarian governments rose in Europe. Compares the American response to the crisis with those of Great Britain and Germany and credits FDR with the survival of democracy. 2004.
Download For the Survival of Democracy, DB61774


Through the Brazilian Wilderness

Read by Roy Avers. Reading time 11 hours, 17 minutes
Former president and avid naturalist Roosevelt records observations and reflections of his adventurous expedition to the Amazon basin in 1913-1914, accompanied by his son Kermit. Describes his arduous exploration of the Rio da Dçvida, later renamed in his honor, and the insects, wildlife, and jungle environment he encountered.
Download Through the Brazilian Wilderness, DB53848


Woodrow Wilson (1913 -1921)

The Presidency of Woodrow Wilson by Kendrick A. Clements

Read by K.D. Henry. Reading time: 13 hours, 9 minutes
A professor of history examined both primary and secondary sources in the United States and abroad to research this study of the principal issues and events of the Wilson administration. Clements traces the evolution of Wilson’s political thought after he was elected president in 1912. He writes about Wilson’s dealings with Congress; his support of agricultural, industrial, and foreign policy reforms; and his controversial role in World War I.

Download The Presidency of Woodrow Wilson, DB35613


Harry S Truman (1945 – 1953)

A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel by Allis Radosh

Read by Madelyn Buzzard. Reading time: 16 hours, 41 minutes
Based on archival research, professors assert that President Truman had both personal and political reasons for recognizing the nation of Israel on its first day of sovereignty. They discuss objections from the U.S. State Department, the Arab world, and Britain as well as support from Christian Zionists and others. 2009.
Download A Safe Haven, DB70687


Memoirs of Harry S. Truman, Volume Two: Years of Trial and Hope

Read by Randy Atcher. Reading time 24 hours, 11 minutes
Truman wrote of his time in the White House shortly after leaving office. In the final volume of a two volume work, he covers the years 1946-1952, including such topics as the Berlin airlift and the Chinese revolution; and such personalities as Marshall, MacArthur, Chiang Kai-Shek, and Dewey.

Download Memoirs of Harry S. Truman, DB30021


Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)

At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends

Read by Lou Harpenau. Reading time 14 hours, 28 minutes
Presidential reminiscences and anecdotes as well as autobiographical recollections covering Eisenhower’s Kansas boyhood, West Point career, and courtship of Mamie.
Download At Ease, DB29223


Crusade in Europe

Read by Roy Avers. Reading time: 19 hours, 1 minute
Military memoirs of the five star general who led the Allied forces during America’s involvement in World War 2. Eisenhower’s story begins with the planning, continues with accounts of the actual campaigns, and ends with his strategy for peace. In nontechnical language, the author documents his personal service, explains his differences with British and French leaders, and describes the role of the enlisted man on the battlefront.
Download Crusade in Europe, DB38189


John F. Kennedy (1961- 1963)


Profiles in Courage

Read by Don Hagen. Reading time 8 hours, 17 minutes
Biographical sketches of historic statesmen who demonstrated great political courage at crucial moments in U.S. history. Includes John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, and others. Written by then-senator Kennedy while convalescing from the effects of war wounds. 2003 introduction by Caroline Kennedy; 1964 foreword by Robert F. Kennedy. Pulitzer Prize. 1955.

Download Profiles in Courage, DB58855


Richard M. Nixon (1969-74)

The Memoirs of Richard Nixon

Read by Bob Butz. Reading time 47 hours, 22 minutes
This autobiography of the thirty-seventh president of the United States includes recollections of a rural California boyhood and continues through his resignation and departure from the White House. Provides insight into the complexities of the modern presidency. Some strong language.

Download The Memoirs of Richard Nixon, DB11756


The Presidency of Richard Nixon by Melvin Small

Read by Kerry Cundiff. Reading time 17 hours, 8 minutes
Review and analysis of the domestic and foreign policies of the thirty-seventh American president. Traces Nixon’s political rise and resignation from office. Posits that his main achievement remains his domestic social legislation on such topics as desegregation of southern schools, women’s rights, and the environment. 1999.
Download The Presidency of Richard Nixon, DB58696


Gerald R. Ford (1974-77)

A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford

Read by Bob Butz. Reading time: 17 hours, 5 minutes
Former President Ford discusses his early years and family life, his climb to the presidency, and the import of his controversial decision to pardon Richard Nixon.

Download A Time to Heal, DB13829


Write it when I’m Gone: Remarkable off-the-record Conversations with Gerald R. Ford by Thomas M. DeFrank, Gerald R. Ford

Read by Gregory Gorton. Reading time 9 hours, 0 minutes
Former White House reporter DeFrank presents “an anecdotal memoir” of U.S. president Gerald Ford’s life in politics, which Ford asked to remain unpublished until after his death. Using interviews from 1991 to 2006, DeFrank highlights Ford’s character and his candid assessments of contemporaries, including Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. 2007.
Download Write it when I’m Gone, DB66303


Jimmy Carter (1977-81)

The Blood of Abraham

Read by Peter Johnson. Reading time 7 hours, 53 minutes
Carter’s experiences negotiating the Camp David Accords, his visits to the Middle East, and portraits of Arab and Israeli leaders. The former president maintains that peace in the Middle East must be based on Israeli recognition of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and Arab recognition of Israel’s right to exist.
Download The Blood of Abraham, DB23146


Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President

Read by Hal Tenny. Reading time 24 hours, 57 minutes
The thirty-ninth President of the United States offers his impressions of life in the White House, the crises that confronted him, and the people who worked intimately with or against him. He also tells, with feeling, of his relationship with his wife, Rosalynn.
Download Keeping Faith, DB18686


Ronald W. Reagan (1981-89)


Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan

Read by Michael Scherer. Reading time 32 hours, 32 minutes

Biographer Morris interjects himself as a fictional contemporary of Ronald Reagan in this authorized account of the fortieth president of the United States. He covers Reagan’s life from his birth in Tampico, Illinois, through his college days, his movie career, his governorship of California, his presidency, and final public appearance. Bestseller.
Download Dutch, DB48814


Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber

Read by Robert Sams. Reading time 10 hours, 48 minutes
Chronicles the March 30, 1981, assassination attempt on seventy-year-old president Ronald Reagan by mentally ill gunman John Hinckley Jr. Discusses the heroism of Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr and the wounding of D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty, press secretary James Brady, and Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy. 2011.

Download Rawhide Down, DB73178


George Bush (1989-93)

A Charge to Keep

Read by Bill Wallace. Reading time: 8 hours, 42 minutes
DB 51903

Autobiography of George W. Bush written during his campaign for president. Recalls his childhood in Texas, education, military service, business career, and political life. Describes his philosophy of “compassionate conservatism” and his hopes for the future.
Download A Charge to Keep, DB51903


A Matter of Character: Inside the White House of George W. Bush by Ronald Kessler

Read by Jack Fox. Reading time 11 hours, 26 minutes
Award-winning ex-reporter and author of The Bureau (DB 55193) presents an inside look at President Bush’s management style, decision-making process, and personal qualities that are often criticized by his opponents and the media. Includes comments of senior officials, secret service agents, former presidential aides, and career White House employees. 2004.

Download A Matter of Character, DB59201


William J. Clinton (1993-2001)

Bill Clinton: An American Journey by Nigel Hamilton

Read by Bill Wallace. Reading time 31 hours, 32 minutes
A chronicle of the life of Bill Clinton from family background and childhood to his terms as president. Hamilton examines the highlights of Clinton’s political career as well as the character flaws that undermined his successes. 2003.
Download Bill Clinton, DB57118


Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency by Nigel Hamilton

Read by Bill Wallace. Reading time: 28 hours, 3 minutes
Author of Bill Clinton: An American Journey (DB 57118) details the forty-second president’s first term. Chronicles early setbacks–such as catastrophes in Somalia and Haiti and failed attempts at healthcare reform–and later successes in establishing peace in the Balkans, achieving a balanced budget, and winning reelection in 1996. Some strong language. 2007.
Download Bill Clinton, DB65586


George W. Bush 2001 – 2009

Bushwhacked: Life in George W. Bush’s America by Molly Ivins, Lou Dubose

Read by Erin Jones. Reading time 11 hours, 13 minutes
Examines the impact and legacy of Bush administration policy. Critically dissects the two tax cuts, environmental issues, financial scandals, education and foreign policy, civil and workers’ rights, and workplace standards. Offers suggestions for economic and political reform. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2003.
Download Bishwhacked, DB57075


Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush by Robert Draper

Read by Jake Williams. Reading time 18 hours, 49 minutes
Author uses interviews with George W. Bush, his confidantes, and key players in his administration to chronicle Bush’s presidency from the 1999 campaign days through mid-2007. Scrutinizes Bush’s handling of the September 11, 2001, attacks; his 2004 reelection bid; hurricane Katrina; Social Security issues; and the Iraq War. 2007.
Download Dead Certain, DB64984


Barack Obama 2008-

Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage by Christopher P. Andersen

Read by Dion Graham. Reading time 11 hours, 0 minutes
The author of Bill and Hillary: The Marriage (DB 48856) chronicles the courtship and marriage of American president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle. Analyzes both the struggles and achievements of the biracial politician and his Chicago-born and -bred partner. Commercial audiobook. 2009.
Download Barack and Michelle, DB69408


The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama by David Remnick Read by Bob Moore. Reading time 27 hours, 10 minutes
DB 70901
Pulitzer Prize-winning author examines President Barack Obama’s life through the prism of America’s racial history. Analyzes his upbringing, education, work as a community organizer, and rise in Illinois politics. Considers Obama’s civil rights heroes, mentors, and campaign strategies. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2010.
Download The Bridge, DB70901