100 books like In the Arena

By Richard Nixon,

Here are 100 books that In the Arena fans have personally recommended if you like In the Arena. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of What It Takes: The Way to the White House

Patrick J. Maney Author Of Bill Clinton: New Gilded Age President

From my list on presidential campaigns.

Why am I passionate about this?

It was during the 1960 presidential campaign, between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon, that I first became enthralled with politics and history. I was only thirteen, so it never occurred to me at the time that I would end up abandoning my childhood dream of becoming a medical doctor and instead devote most of my adult life to teaching and writing political history. Because of what happened to me, I’m recommending five classic presidential campaign accounts. Because they were written by firsthand observers, they convey a vivid sense of how events, with all of their uncertainties appeared at the time before they became fixed in history.  

Patrick's book list on presidential campaigns

Patrick J. Maney Why did Patrick love this book?

Why would anybody in their right mind put themselves through the agonies of a presidential campaign? And what does it take to win? Cramer’s account of the crowded 1988 campaign is less about strategy and tactics than the personality and character of the candidates (including Joe Biden, Bob Dole, and George H. W. Bush). Ego and ambition, courage and cowardice are on display here, but so too is an almost across-the-board sense of honor and duty that’s in rare supply today.

By Richard Ben Cramer,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked What It Takes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Quite possibly the finest book on presidential politics ever written, combining meticulous reporting and compelling, at times soaringly lyrical, prose." -- Cleveland Plain Dealer

An American Iliad in the guise of contemporary political reportage, What It Takes penetrates the mystery at the heart of all presidential campaigns: How do presumably ordinary people acquire that mixture of ambition, stamina, and pure shamelessness that makes a true candidate? As he recounts the frenzied course of the 1988 presidential race -- and scours the psyches of contenders from George Bush and Robert Dole to Michael Dukakis and Gary Hart -- Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist…


Book cover of The Return of George Washington: Uniting the States, 1783-1789

Christopher Beauregard Emery Author Of White House Usher: "Who Killed the President?"

From my list on presidents from a White House insider’s perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my twenty-nine nears in the federal government, I maintained a Top Secret clearance while being a CIO, Chief Architect, & Director of various things with the White House, US Congress, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, where I served in a senior management role for the National Security Division, the agency responsible for serving as the liaison between the Attorney General and the Intelligence Community. Today, my passion is writing about my White House experiences, in both fiction and non-fiction.

Christopher's book list on presidents from a White House insider’s perspective

Christopher Beauregard Emery Why did Christopher love this book?

This is a fantastic book about George Washington after the end of the war for independence, travelling to Annapolis resigning his military commission to the Confederation Congress then going home to farm for what he believed would be the remainder of his life, only to be talked into being our first president. Very well written and taught me a lot of what I thought I already knew!

By Edward J. Larson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Return of George Washington as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

"An elegantly written account of leadership at the most pivotal moment in American history" (Philadelphia Inquirer): Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward J. Larson reveals how George Washington saved the United States by coming out of retirement to lead the Constitutional Convention and serve as our first president.

After leading the Continental Army to victory in the Revolutionary War, George Washington shocked the world: he retired. In December 1783, General Washington, the most powerful man in the country, stepped down as Commander in Chief and returned to private life at Mount Vernon. Yet as Washington contentedly grew his…


Book cover of The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination

Christopher Beauregard Emery Author Of White House Usher: "Who Killed the President?"

From my list on presidents from a White House insider’s perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my twenty-nine nears in the federal government, I maintained a Top Secret clearance while being a CIO, Chief Architect, & Director of various things with the White House, US Congress, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, where I served in a senior management role for the National Security Division, the agency responsible for serving as the liaison between the Attorney General and the Intelligence Community. Today, my passion is writing about my White House experiences, in both fiction and non-fiction.

Christopher's book list on presidents from a White House insider’s perspective

Christopher Beauregard Emery Why did Christopher love this book?

I have read dozens of books on the Kennedy assassination. This book an Audible, was my favorite. I learned new details to theories that have been reported on in the past, however, the author offers new research which I felt was convincing. The author, Lamar Waldron is the ultimate subject matter expert on the Warren Commission, and all related investigation notes. Over the years, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) releases previously withheld John F. Kennedy assassination-related records. Waldron spends endless hours interpreting these new and fascinating revelations.

By Lamar Waldron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Five decades after one of America's greatest tragedies, this compelling book pierces the veil of secrecy to document the small, tightly held conspiracy that killed President John F. Kennedy. It explains why he was murdered, and how it was done in a way that forced many records to remain secret for decades.

The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination draws on exclusive interviews with more than two dozen associates of John and Robert Kennedy, in addition to former FBI, Secret Service, military-intelligence, and Congressional personnel, who provided critical first-hand information. The book also details the FBI confessions of notorious Mafia…


Book cover of We the Presidents: How American Presidents Shaped the Last Century

Christopher Beauregard Emery Author Of White House Usher: "Who Killed the President?"

From my list on presidents from a White House insider’s perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my twenty-nine nears in the federal government, I maintained a Top Secret clearance while being a CIO, Chief Architect, & Director of various things with the White House, US Congress, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, where I served in a senior management role for the National Security Division, the agency responsible for serving as the liaison between the Attorney General and the Intelligence Community. Today, my passion is writing about my White House experiences, in both fiction and non-fiction.

Christopher's book list on presidents from a White House insider’s perspective

Christopher Beauregard Emery Why did Christopher love this book?

Having spent over eight years in the White House, I was very interested to read We the Presidents: How American Presidents Shaped the Last Century. The book is exceptionally well written. Author Ronald Gruner uniquely relates the various issues and challenges faced by select presidents and then details how those issues and their outcomes impacted and influenced America. I found the book to be very well researched, and applaud Gruner for how he painted a sobering reality of Presidents, especially the seven that I had personally met. I highly recommend this book!

By Ronald Gruner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We the Presidents as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Imagine a non-partisan presidential history that never mentions Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. Rather than politics, WE THE PRESIDENTS focuses on the issues which affect Americans today. Soaring inflation, resurgent nativism, income inequality, budget deficits, the Ukraine crisis and other critical issues, all have their roots in presidential administrations over the past century. For example:

President Harding's treasury secretary, Andrew Mellon, promoted radical, new tax policies which slashed the national debt during the nineteen-twenties and decades later emerged as today's supply-side economics. President Clinton's encouragement of NATO's eastward expansion after the end of the Cold War contributed to Russia's…


Book cover of White House Family Cookbook

Christopher Beauregard Emery Author Of White House Usher: Stories from the Inside

From my list on from-a-white-house-insiders-perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my twenty-nine nears in the federal government, I maintained a Top Secret clearance while being a CIO, Chief Architect, & Director of various things with the White House, US Congress, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, where I served in a senior management role for the National Security Division, the agency responsible for serving as the liaison between the Attorney General and the Intelligence Community. Today, my passion is writing about my White House experiences, in both fiction and non-fiction.

Christopher's book list on from-a-white-house-insiders-perspective

Christopher Beauregard Emery Why did Christopher love this book?

This book is written by, IMO, the best chef ever to have served at the White House. I was fortunate to have been Chef Haller’s boss during my time at the White House. Henry retired after 21 years of flawless service and worked in the Johnston, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan White Houses. An incredible talent with a positive, pleasant temperament, everyone loved Chef Haller.

By Henry Haller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White House Family Cookbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than 250 First Family recipes; a historic treasury of American cooking. Chef Haller entertains with tidbits of presidential lore and his memories of life upstairs and down. 8 pages of color photos.


Book cover of All the President's Men

G. Wayne Miller Author Of Unfit to Print: A Modern Media Satire

From my list on an important moment or time in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been passionate about journalism since I was a teenager, when I became the co-editor of my high school newspaper. My career as a full-time journalist began decades ago, at a small family-owned newspaper in Berkshire County, Mass., and continued through staff writer positions at The Cape Cod Times, Providence Journal and now at OceanStateStories.org, the new non-profit news outlet based at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center in Newport, R.I., that I co-founded and now direct. So I have the long and inside view of American journalism!

G.'s book list on an important moment or time in history

G. Wayne Miller Why did G. love this book?

This is arguably the most important book by journalists in the modern era.

Not only did the reporting behind it lead to the impeachment and subsequent resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of Watergate, it inspired generations of other journalists to investigate political crimes and criminals and hold office-holders at all levels accountable. One could reasonably say that it helped to save American democracy.

By Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked All the President's Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

50th Anniversary Edition—With a new foreword on what Watergate means today.

“The work that brought down a presidency...perhaps the most influential piece of journalism in history” (Time)—from the #1 New York Times bestselling authors of The Final Days.

The most devastating political detective story of the century: two Washington Post reporters, whose brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation smashed the Watergate scandal wide open, tell the behind-the-scenes drama the way it really happened.

One of Time magazine’s All-Time 100 Best Nonfiction Books, this is the book that changed America. Published just months before President Nixon’s resignation, All the President’s Men revealed the…


Book cover of The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House

Michael Dobbs Author Of King Richard: Nixon and Watergate--An American Tragedy

From my list on Watergate.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a reporter for The Washington Post, I was responsible for recording what has been called "the first rough draft of history." But I was always aware that there was more to the story--whether it was the collapse of communism or a big political controversy in the United States--than I or other reporters were able to uncover at the time. It can sometimes take decades for the real story to emerge as historians gain access to secret documents, diaries, and other unpublished materials. The secret Nixon tapes provide a unique insight into events that were off-limits to reporters and other outsiders. Writing King Richard, I felt like a fly on the wall of the Oval Office with the reader by my side, as we eavesdrop on conversations we were never meant to hear. For anyone who is curious about how politics really operates, it is a thrilling, sometimes shocking experience that can leave you laughing at the craziness of it all when you are not shaking your head in disbelief.

Michael's book list on Watergate

Michael Dobbs Why did Michael love this book?

There was no one closer to Richard Nixon as Watergate unfolded than his chief of staff, Bob Haldeman. Every evening, Haldeman dictated an audio diary that is an essential source for understanding the Nixon presidency and the chain of events that led to its unraveling. While Haldeman admired Nixon, he was also well aware of his faults. He records the triumphs, failures, and personal quirks of his boss on an almost minute-to-minute basis. I think that Haldeman has it right when he concludes that Nixon did not know about Watergate in advance, in the sense that he did not order the break-in, but certainly caused it, in the sense that he created the culture that spawned all the abuses. Ultimately, these abuses led to Haldeman's own resignation and eighteen months in prison for Watergate-related offenses.

By H.R. Haldeman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Haldeman Diaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Never-before-published diaries from Richard Nixon's late Chief of Staff offer a meticulously detailed behind-the-scenes account of his years at the White House that included Agnew's resignation, Cambodian bombings, and Watergate.


Book cover of A White House Diary

Mary C. Brennan Author Of Pat Nixon: Embattled First Lady

From my list on why Pat Nixon was known (incorrectly) as Plastic Pat.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became a historian because I am nosy. I like to know what is going on in other people’s lives. I study politics because I am fascinated by power—who has it? How did they get it? I took up this project not knowing much about First Ladies or Pat Nixon. My quest to know more led to the correspondence between Pat and her closest friend. The letters in these files allowed me to hear Pat’s voice describe her life as a politician’s wife, as Second Lady, and as a regular citizen. I feel privileged to be able to share that with the world.

Mary's book list on why Pat Nixon was known (incorrectly) as Plastic Pat

Mary C. Brennan Why did Mary love this book?

Lady Bird’s diary is worth reading no matter what you are studying. She is insightful, funny, and attentive to her unique perspective as First Lady. In terms of understanding Pat, the diary offers an outsider’s view from someone who understood Pat’s situation personally. The tidbits concerning their first post-election meeting and then subsequent visits provide evidence of Pat’s humor, humility, and kindness.

By Lady Bird Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A White House Diary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now available again in paperback--Lady Bird Johnson


Book cover of The West Wing Script Book

John Gaspard Author Of The Ambitious Card

From my list on for writers who want to write scripts.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started making movies at age 13; to make a movie, you need a script, so I became a screenwriter by default. A dozen low-budget movies (and a couple of TV scripts) later, I started writing fiction: Two mystery series, (The Eli Marks mysteries and The Como Lake Players mysteries), four stand-alone novels, plus a couple of filmmaking “How To” books followed. Over the years, I’ve always searched out the best ideas on how to write, and how to write well. If I were to teach a course on writing, the five books I’ve listed would comprise the reading list.

John's book list on for writers who want to write scripts

John Gaspard Why did John love this book?

Why this book? Two words: Aaron Sorkin. This book collects six of his teleplays, but I think you could get just as much by watching the first four seasons of “The West Wing.” Osmosis, do your thing!

Dialogue, character development, how to get into a scene, how to get out of a scene, juxtaposition … it’s all there, and more in Sorkin’s writing. This book contains some of my favorite episodes (although it doesn’t have my favorite, “Noel”), and some of his best speeches. In particular, Bartlett’s rant in “Two Cathedrals” and Toby’s frustration in “17 People” (“I will bet you all the money in my pockets against all the money in your pockets…”) Sorkin’s mantra (intention and obstacle) is probably the shortest and best advice you can get about how to keep characters alive in a scene. Read this book (and watch the show) to see that mantra…

By Aaron Sorkin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The West Wing Script Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First-time publication of 8 full scripts from the hit NBC showwinner of 9 Emmy Awards, including Best Drama writingselected and introduced by the acclaimed show creator and screenwriter of The American President and A Few Good Men. Here is the first collection of scripts from the show's first two seasons, including the Emmy Award-winning episode "In Excelsis Deo." The NBC show, named "TV Show of the Year" by Entertainment Weekly, stars Rob Lowe, Dule Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, John Spencer, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, and Martin Sheen. Reviewers and fans of The West Wing agree that one of the…


Book cover of Jacqueline Kennedy : The White House Years: Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum

William Kuhn Author Of Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books

From my list on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many of my books have been on the British monarchy. Jackie was the only figure who came close to being an American queen. Her clothes drew me to her at first. Later, her decision to have an editorial career after her children were grown gave me the idea for a new biographical approach to her. I still admire Jackie for that, as well as for her low-key regality, about which she had a sense of humor.

William's book list on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

William Kuhn Why did William love this book?

This is an exhibition catalogue that began with a show at the Kennedy Library: the clothes Jackie wore in the White House. It has a smart introduction by Hamish Bowles, an editor at Vogue. He shows how her clothing choices were not just about looking pretty. They were about her historical vision for the role of the president’s wife, her sense of the women who had come before her, and of the American craftsmen at work in the fashion industry. The pictures are ravishing. 

By Hamish Bowles, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Rachael Lambert Mellon

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jacqueline Kennedy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A behind-the-scenes look at the clothes and the era that made Jacqueline Kennedy the beacon of style whose enduring legacy lives on. Featuring 80 original and memorable gowns, suits and accessories from those housed at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, this collection presents the clothes themselves against a historical backdrop of personal notes, artefacts and little-known anecdotes provided by such White House insiders as Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr (author of "A Thousand Days", a study of the Kennedy White House) and close friend of the American First Lady, Mrs Jane Wrightsman. The book presents images…


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