The President’s Book Club: What Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and FDR Read for Guidance
Presidents’ Favorite Books
When Donald Trump was running for President, he announced he wasn’t really much of a reader. “I never have. I’m always busy doing a lot. Now I’m busier than ever before.” Well, that got us thinking about Presidents who did consider themselves readers: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, and a few others. What books did they read, and why? How did literature affect them personally and as leaders? That’s how this class titled “The Presidents’ Book Club” was born.
Award-winning Bard College literature Professor Joseph Luzzi guides audiences through a fascinating “Presidents’ library,” to explore books that shaped some of the most powerful men ever to sit in the Oval Office. He’ll 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, and more.