The Presidents’ Book Club: Books that Shaped Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt and others

Bard College

Joseph Luzzi (PhD, Yale) is Professor of Comparative Literature and Faculty Member in Italian Studies at Bard College, and he taught previously at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in The New York Times, TLS, The London Times, the Guardian, Chronicle of Higher Education, and on National Public Radio. Dr. Luzzi’s awards include a Yale College Teaching Prize, Dante Society of America Essay Prize, and Wallace Fellowship at Villa I Tatti, Harvard’s Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. He is the author of five books and recently created The Virtual Book Club: an international community of readers dedicated to exploring major literary works past and present.

 

Overview

The Presidential Reading List

All of us at One Day U who love books wondered about the reading habits of past presidents, and what we found led us to offer this new brand new course.

Award-winning Literature Professor Joseph Luzzi will guide audiences through a fascinating “Presidents’ Library,” as we explore the books and the presidential reading list that shaped six of the most powerful men ever to sit in the Oval Office. We will discuss why George Washington was obsessed with a play about a Roman freedom fighter who opposed Julius Caesar; how Thomas Jefferson came to have the largest personal library in the country; what drew Abraham Lincoln to Shakespeare so obsessively (and which Shakespeare play he loved most!); which British poet Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorized as a child and read throughout his life; why John F. Kennedy was devoted to a spy novelist whose books would create one of the greatest film franchises in history; and how Barack Obama came to understand his American identity and spirit through two favorite authors.

Together, we will see how presidential action and presidential reading are intimately linked, as we explore the momentous events in these presidents’ lives in light of the books that inspired their thoughts and guided their actions. Professor Luzzi will also summarize his “ALL” (American Library List) detailing the sometimes surprising books and literature which influenced many other U. S. leaders.

Learn More About President’s Favorite Books

Learn more about presidents’ favorite books by checking out other great videos at OneDayU, including ‘Musicals That Changed Broadway‘, Masterpieces Of Art That Changed All The Rules’ & ‘Beethoven & The Beatles: Hearing The Connection’ all on-demand now.

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