100 books like John Quincy Adams

By Paul C. Nagel,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Lincoln's Sons

Jason Emerson Author Of Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln

From my list on presidential children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an independent historian and journalist who has spent over 25 years studying Abraham Lincoln and his family. My fascination with the Great Emancipator began when I worked first as a student volunteer and then as a park ranger at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. As I writer who has always loved history, I decided I should start writing about history. I've authored or edited eight books (seven on Lincoln and his family) as well as numerous articles. My big break came when I discovered a cache of Mary Lincoln’s missing letters, written during her time in a sanitarium in 1875, which had been missing for nearly 100 years.

Jason's book list on presidential children

Jason Emerson Why did Jason love this book?

Abraham Lincoln may be the most written about president (and person) in American history, but his children have been relatively relegated to innocuous side characters who all have a few good stories about them. Lincoln’s Sons by Ruth Painter Randall is still the go-to book for anyone interested in the Lincoln boys, as well as their relationships with their parents. In addition to their early years in Springfield and the famous antics of Willie and Tad in the White House, Randall also follows the boys after the death of their father. She explains the sad life of Tad from 1865 until his early death in 1871, and gives a full accounting of Robert’s impressive legacy as lawyer, businessman, public servant, and protector of his father’s legacy—for decades the only book to do so. There have been a few other books ostensibly about the Lincoln boys in the years since Randall’s…

By Ruth Painter Randall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lincoln's Sons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

270 paged hardcover "Lincoln's Sons" by Ruth Painter Randall.


Book cover of Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker

Jason Emerson Author Of Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln

From my list on presidential children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an independent historian and journalist who has spent over 25 years studying Abraham Lincoln and his family. My fascination with the Great Emancipator began when I worked first as a student volunteer and then as a park ranger at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. As I writer who has always loved history, I decided I should start writing about history. I've authored or edited eight books (seven on Lincoln and his family) as well as numerous articles. My big break came when I discovered a cache of Mary Lincoln’s missing letters, written during her time in a sanitarium in 1875, which had been missing for nearly 100 years.

Jason's book list on presidential children

Jason Emerson Why did Jason love this book?

Many people may know the legend of Alice Roosevelt as the headstrong daughter of Teddy Roosevelt who flouted social conventions in the 1920s and made a lasting mark on Washington, D.C. in later life, but few people have actually read her biography. And anyone interested in the history of the presidency and American politics should. Alice Roosevelt Longworth was more than just America’s most memorable first daughter. She was a legend in her own time, loved and feared by the most powerful men in the capital, the doyenne of D.C. for eighty years (and known for her famous quip, “If you haven’t got have anything nice to say, come sit by me”). Her story is utterly incredible, and in her book Alice, historian Cordery offers a page-turning, compelling portrait of one of the most influential women in 20th century American politics.

By Stacy A. Cordery,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An entertaining and eye-opening biography of America's most memorable first daughter

From the moment Teddy Roosevelt's outrageous and charming teenage daughter strode into the White House-carrying a snake and dangling a cigarette-the outspoken Alice began to put her imprint on the whole of the twentieth-century political scene. Her barbed tongue was as infamous as her scandalous personal life, but whenever she talked, powerful people listened, and she reigned for eight decades as the social doyenne in a town where socializing was state business. Historian Stacy Cordery's unprecedented access to personal papers and family archives enlivens and informs this richly entertaining…


Book cover of My Father at 100

Jason Emerson Author Of Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln

From my list on presidential children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an independent historian and journalist who has spent over 25 years studying Abraham Lincoln and his family. My fascination with the Great Emancipator began when I worked first as a student volunteer and then as a park ranger at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. As I writer who has always loved history, I decided I should start writing about history. I've authored or edited eight books (seven on Lincoln and his family) as well as numerous articles. My big break came when I discovered a cache of Mary Lincoln’s missing letters, written during her time in a sanitarium in 1875, which had been missing for nearly 100 years.

Jason's book list on presidential children

Jason Emerson Why did Jason love this book?

The memoirs of presidential children are often self-serving jeremiads about the difficulty of growing up in their father’s shadow. My Father at 100 is no such book. It is a fascinating, heart-warming, deeply touching (as well as overlooked and misunderstood) portrait of an iconic president through the eyes of one of the people who knew him best. Ron, who grew up in the 60s and is a political liberal who often disagreed with many of his father’s opinions and public policies, in this book avoids politics and instead simply “attempts to come to grips” with the father he grew up with. Part researched history, part memoir, and part travelogue to Reagan-related locations around the country, this is a wonderful book that is just an honest study of a man and a search for the truth of his life and the meaning of that life as only a son could write. 

By Ron Reagan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Father at 100 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A moving memoir of the beloved fortieth president of the United States, by his son.

February 6, 2011, is the one hundredth anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birth. To mark the occasion, Ron Reagan has written My Father at 100, an intimate look at the life of his father-one of the most popular presidents in American history-told from the perspective of someone who knew Ronald Reagan better than any adviser, friend, or colleague. As he grew up under his father's watchful gaze, he observed the very qualities that made the future president a powerful leader. Yet for all of their shared…


Book cover of Ambling Into History: The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush

Jason Emerson Author Of Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln

From my list on presidential children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an independent historian and journalist who has spent over 25 years studying Abraham Lincoln and his family. My fascination with the Great Emancipator began when I worked first as a student volunteer and then as a park ranger at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. As I writer who has always loved history, I decided I should start writing about history. I've authored or edited eight books (seven on Lincoln and his family) as well as numerous articles. My big break came when I discovered a cache of Mary Lincoln’s missing letters, written during her time in a sanitarium in 1875, which had been missing for nearly 100 years.

Jason's book list on presidential children

Jason Emerson Why did Jason love this book?

George W. Bush, even today, 14 years after leaving the presidency, is a controversial president. But as with all presidents, to understand their politics and policies you have to first understand their personality and character. That’s what I like about this book: Bruni seeks to explain and understand who Bush was as a man—a man who, although the son of a president, never seemed destined to lead a nation and the world and yet ultimately faced one of the greatest crises in US history. Bruni, a former New York Times reporter who covered Bush as presidential nominee and president, shows W.’s weaknesses and strengths, his somewhat surprising life journey of serious endeavors for an often less-than-serious man, and ultimately how the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, changed Bush’s entire outlook and demeanor, thrusting him into an unprecedented challenge that elevated the laid-back good-time guy to a serious and dedicated leader.…

By Frank Bruni,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ambling Into History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush. As the principal New York Times reporter assigned to cover George W. Bush's presidential campaign from its earliest stages - and then as a White House correspondent - Frank Bruni has spent as much time around Bush over the last two years as any other reporter. In Ambling Into History, Bruni paints the most thorough, balanced, eloquent and lively portrait yet of a man in many ways ill-suited to the office he sought and won, focusing on small moments that often escaped the news media's notice. From the author's initial introduction to Bush…


Book cover of Union Must Stand: Civil War Diaries John Quincy Adams Campbell

Chandra Manning Author Of What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War

From my list on accounts of the Civil War from people who were there.

Why am I passionate about this?

Despite what my kids think, I am not actually old enough to have “been there” during the Civil War itself, but I have spent my entire professional career studying it. Years in archives reading other people’s mail, old newspaper accounts, dusty diaries, and handwritten testimonies, along with sifting through records books and ledgers of all descriptions have taught me exactly how intertwined slavery, Civil War, and emancipation all were, and I am dedicated to trying to explain the connections to anyone who reads my books, stumbles across my digital history work, or sits in my classroom at Georgetown University, where I teach history. Two good places to see the results of my efforts include What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War which won the Avery Craven Award for best book on the Civil War and was a finalist for the Lincoln Prize and Frederick Douglass Prize, and Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War, which won the Jefferson Davis Prize and was also a finalist for the Lincoln Prize.

Chandra's book list on accounts of the Civil War from people who were there

Chandra Manning Why did Chandra love this book?

A soldier in an Iowa infantry regiment, John Quincy Adams Campbell spent the conflict in the war’s western theater, present at, among other things, the fall of Vicksburg on July 4,1863, which even at the time he recognized as a turning point of the war. His diary, interlaced with some letters that he wrote to his hometown during the war, comments incisively on the military progress of war in the Mississippi Valley from the perspective of one infantrymen, offering today’s readers insights into the immediacy and also the limits of the view of one person actually living through the alternating boredom of camp life and terror of battle. Campbell also commented astutely on social conditions, on the motivations of his fellow soldiers and of the populations they met in the South, and on all that he saw at stake in the war. His first-hand account offers sharp insight into the…

By Mark Grimsley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Union Must Stand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Only rarely does a Civil War diarist combine detailed observations of events with an intelligent understanding of their significance. John Campbell, a newspaperman before the war, left such a legacy. A politically aware Union soldier with strong moral and abolitionist beliefs, Campbell recorded not only his own reflections on wartime matters but also those of his comrades and the southerners-soldiers, civilians, and slaves-that he encountered.

Campbell served in the Fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry from 1861 to 1864. He participated in the war's major theaters and saw early action at Island No. 10, Iuka, and Corinth. His diary is especially valuable…


Book cover of The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography

Gregg Easterbrook Author Of It's Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear

From my list on hope for the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an author, I write both serious nonfiction and literary fiction. As a journalist, I have lifelong associations with The Atlantic and the Washington Monthly. I didn’t plan it, but four of my nonfiction books make an extended argument for the revival of optimism as intellectually respectable. A Moment on the Earth (1995) argued environmental trends other than greenhouse gases actually are positive, The Progress Paradox (2003) asserted material standards will keep rising but that won’t make people any happier, Sonic Boom (2009), published during the despair of the Great Recession, said the global economy would bounce back and It’s Better Than It Looks (2018) found the situation objectivity good on most major issues.

Gregg's book list on hope for the future

Gregg Easterbrook Why did Gregg love this book?

Finished in 1907, this famed book is worth rereading today for awareness that its pervasive pessimism proved totally wrong. Adams declared that western democracy was doomed, that freedom had no chance if forced into war versus dictatorship, that the pace change was overwhelming, that the U.S. educational system could not possibly teach science. A century later, democracy prevailed in both world wars, free nations out-produce dictatorships 10 to 1, and America has won more Nobel prizes in the sciences than the next five nations combined. Pessimism has long been with us – and almost always been wrong.

By Henry Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Education of Henry Adams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic autobiography includes accounts of Adams's residence in England and of his "diplomatic education" in the circle of Palmerston, Russell and Gladstone.


Book cover of Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon

Beatrice de Graaf Author Of Fighting Terror After Napoleon: How Europe Became Secure After 1815

From my list on how Europe waged peace after Napoleon.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was struck by the memoirs of Louisa Adams who travelled through Europe during the last Napoleonic battles. She was a young mother, and had to take her 7-year old son with her. Having children myself, I started wondering: how did people "on the ground" experience the last stages of the Napoleonic wars and the transition towards peace? I am a professor in the History of International Relations at Utrecht University. I write about terrorism and security in the 20th and 21st centuries. Yet, over the past decade, I felt the need to go further back in time, to that seminal period of the Age of Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, because that period truly saw the birth of a new security culture in Europe and beyond.

Beatrice's book list on how Europe waged peace after Napoleon

Beatrice de Graaf Why did Beatrice love this book?

I already mentioned this gripping account of a 40-days trip of a lonely lady in a solitary carriage, hobbling from St. Petersburg, via Riga, Tilsit to Paris above. Everyone interested in the Napoleonic Wars, should also feel obliged to read her account, how she witnessed ‘houses half burnt’, a war ‘shedding its gloom around all the objects, announcing devastation and despair’. And how happy she was when being helped by allied soldiers, and upon reaching her destination safe and sound (with her little boy) in Paris, where the allied leaders were setting up their headquarters.

By Michael O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mrs. Adams in Winter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Early in 1815, Louisa Catherine Adams and her young son left St. Petersburg in a heavy Russian carriage and set out on a difficult journey to meet her husband, John Quincy Adams, in Paris. She traveled through the snows of Eastern Europe, across the battlefields of Germany, and into a France then experiencing the tumultuous events of Napoleon's return from Elba. The prize-winning historian Michael O'Brien reconstructs for the first time Louisa Adams's extraordinary passage. An evocative history of the experience of travel in the days of carriages and kings, Mrs. Adams in Winter offers a moving portrait of a…


Book cover of The Titanic Reports: The Official Conclusions of the 1912 Inquiries Into the Titanic Disaster by the Us Senate and the British Wreck Commis

Christopher Ward Author Of And the Band Played On...: The Enthralling Account of What Happened After the Titanic Sank

From my list on the Titanic from a variety of angles.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a former national newspaper editor and magazine publisher – and the grandson of Jock Hume, a violinist in the Titanic’s band. Jock, who was just 21 years old, had been playing on passenger ships since he was sixteen. His body was recovered ten days after the sinking, 40 miles from the scene the wreck. His family couldn’t afford to bring him home to Dumfries in Scotland, so he was buried alongside 121 other unclaimed Titanic bodies at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My book is the story of Jock’s life, his death…and the previously untold scandal of the aftermath of the sinking.

Christopher's book list on the Titanic from a variety of angles

Christopher Ward Why did Christopher love this book?

Public inquiries these days last ten years or more, often without reaching a conclusion. But the American Senate inquiry into the sinking of Titanic opened the day after survivors docked in New York and was wrapped up in five weeks, with all the ugly facts laid bare.

Like its British counterpart some weeks later, the Senators had the advantage of questioning witnesses while events were still fresh in their minds and before stories could be conveniently changed. No stone was left unturned: the ice warnings about the danger of icebergs, the inadequate number of lifeboats, the Titanic’s unanswered SOS calls from nearby ships, the shameful statistics of those who lived and those who died…and so on. The White Star Line’s chairman, Bruce Ismay, was accorded no favours.

A single page sets out the stark reality of how the class system determined who lived and who died. More than half the…

By Senate Us Senate,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The official reports of the 1912 American and British inquiries into the Titanic. "Report of the United States Senate Committee to Investigate the Causes of the Loss of the White Star Liner Titanic" and "The British Wreck Commissioner's Report on the Loss of the Titanic".


Book cover of The Year of the People

Patrick Parr Author Of One Week in America: The 1968 Notre Dame Literary Festival and a Changing Nation

From my list on America in 1968.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a literary historian and I love reconstructing times in the past with enough factual detail that a reader feels as if they are there with the characters, side-by-side. I didn’t start this way. In fact, I wrote fiction for over a decade. It was only after writing eight atrocious, tension-less, now-in-a-box novels that I realized the books I enjoyed reading most were in the history and biography sections of a bookstore. Still, I was undeniably affected by my years in the trenches of fiction writing. As you may see from my choices, I love reading material from writers attempting to check the pulse of the country at that time. 

Patrick's book list on America in 1968

Patrick Parr Why did Patrick love this book?

I very nearly put an LBJ or RFK book here, but there’s a greater chance you haven’t heard or may have forgotten Minnesota senator Eugene McCarthy’s well-written account of his 1968 political campaign. McCarthy’s insightful memoir gives 21st-century readers a window back into that year of endless drama and conflict. It will also cause some to compare the book’s place in history with Senator Bernie Sanders’s Our Revolution. “1968,” wrote McCarthy, “was the year in which the people, in so far as the system and the process would permit, asserted themselves and demonstrated their willingness to make hard political judgments and to take full responsibility for those judgments. And in so doing they acted with more spirit and commitment than did many political leaders.”

By Eugene J. McCarthy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is the story of one year, told by the man whose candidacy gave people a symbol and a voice. Senator Eugene J. McCarthy helped to create the new politics with a campaign run on issues, rather than personalities; a candidate seeking not to enlarge his personal power but to restore power to the people, especially those whose opinions often seemed to be in the minority. He had the courage to challenge the traditional system - including his party, the President and his policies - and in the process swept a new spirit, a new vitality, and a new…


Book cover of Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson

Why am I passionate about this?

I have had a long career as a professor of organizational behavior. My view is that the most ignored and undervalued aspect of leadership is the development and implementation of political skills. Any leader who claims, “I don’t do politics” or “I’m not political,” is not serving themselves very well and, in fact, may be setting themselves up for failure. Whether in organizational life, in the sphere of public policy, or in daily life, we need to overcome the obstacles that impede our capacity to implement agendas and ideas and achieve our aspirations. Dreamers who lack political skills remain dreamers, not leaders. 

Samuel's book list on books for leaders who need to master the political skills to move ideas and innovations and overcome resistance

Samuel Bacharach Why did Samuel love this book?

Any book by Robert Caro is a worthy read. His quadrilogy on LBJ is a study of the ultimate, driven pragmatist.

Johnson, in pursuit of his agenda, was the epitome of the deal-maker, sweet-talker, persuader, and sometime-bully. In the work of Caro, Johnson may not be the most lovable of leaders, but certainly, he ranks among one of the most calculating and determined. He understood that achieving consensus, while essential, is not everything.

Furthermore, he had an appreciation that the appropriate use of power is a leadership skill. With that framework, Johnson had an innate understanding of the structural and legal limitations of the use of power. He recognized the rules of the Senate and realized the limitations of the presidency. Within these constraints, he was indeed the master of the influence game and truly the “Master of the Senate.”

There are lessons to learn and warnings to heed for…

By Robert A. Caro,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The greatest biography of our era ... Essential reading for those who want to comprehend power and politics' The Times

Robert A. Caro's legendary, multi-award-winning biography of US President Lyndon Johnson is a uniquely riveting and revelatory account of power, political genius and the shaping of twentieth-century America.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Master of the Senate takes Johnson's story through one of its most remarkable periods: his twelve years, from 1949 to 1960, in the United States Senate. Once the most august and revered body in politics, by the time Johnson arrived the Senate…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Russia, presidential biography, and the Soviet Union?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Russia, presidential biography, and the Soviet Union.

Russia Explore 354 books about Russia
Presidential Biography Explore 19 books about presidential biography
The Soviet Union Explore 334 books about the Soviet Union