The President's Book Club: What Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR read for guidance

Joseph Luzzi – Bard College

Two years ago, 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.