The most recommended books on first ladies

Who picked these books? Meet our 18 experts.

18 authors created a book list connected to First Ladies of the USA, and here are their favorite First Ladies of the USA books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of First Ladies of the USA book?


Book cover of First Ladies Fact Book: The Childhoods, Courtships, Marriages, Campaigns, Accomplishments, and Legacies of Every First Lady

Natasha Wing Author Of When Jackie Saved Grand Central: The True Story of Jacqueline Kennedy's Fight for an American Icon

From my list on fabulous First Ladies.

Who am I?

When I learned that Jackie Kennedy Onassis had helped save Grand Central I had to know more about her! This lead to being curious about other First Ladies and how they served America during and after they were in the White House. Often their contributions were overshadowed by their husbands, so with this list, I’m shining a light on little-known facts about these well-known women.

Natasha's book list on fabulous First Ladies

Natasha Wing Why did Natasha love this book?

This is a great resource if you’re just wanting to brush up on your First Ladies trivia or if you’re needing a starting point in your research. It contains photos, quotes, and delicious details. Although it’s more of a book for grown-ups, it can be used to explore First Ladies further with your child after reading a picture book.

By Bill Harris, Laura Ross,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked First Ladies Fact Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The revised and updated edition, including all-new information on Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Betty Ford America's first ladies have captured the hearts of the citizens of our country ever since its humble beginnings. This newly updated edition of The First Ladies Fact Book is a comprehensive, fascinating, and intimate look at the life of each first lady from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama. Each profile includes a portrait, key biographical information, and several additional photographs. Among the topics covered are childhood and upbringing, early marriage years, the path to the White House, hobbies, career, style of dress,…

Book cover of Swedish Tango: A Novel

Martin Fletcher Author Of Promised Land: A Novel of Israel

From my list on the refugee experience.

Who am I?

In my work as a news reporter and war correspondent, I met people on the worst day of their lives. I always wondered: What now? How will they get on with life? My own parents faced that dreadful dilemma. Penniless refugees, their families murdered in the Holocaust, unemployed in London, how on earth did they find the strength to carry on? One day at a time, they just did what they had to do. That is the subject of my fiction, always trying to answer that existential question: How do we live with trauma, and still find love and happiness?

Martin's book list on the refugee experience

Martin Fletcher Why did Martin love this book?

The former movie star “was now in a country where no one even knew his name.” The cry of every refugee, the eerie sense of being transparent, dispensable, irrelevant emerges powerfully from Alyson Richman’s intricately plotted and touching narrative: a fictional tale of World War Two refugees from Finland and France and asylum-seekers from Pinochet’s Chile whose new lives cross in Sweden.

By Alyson Richman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Octavio Ribeiro is a rising movie star in Chile when, at the request of famed poet Pablo Neruda, he agrees to serve as a media trainer in the presidential campaign of Salvador Allende. This involvement exposes Octavio and his family -- especially his wife, Salomé -- to the ruthless kidnapping and terror tactics of Allende's political rival, General Augusto Pinochet...until they escape to political exile in Sweden, where another couple -- Samuel and Kaija Rudin -- are also living as expatriates.

Dr. Rudin is a psychiatrist specializing in treating people who, like Salomé, have been traumatized by the events of…

Book cover of The First Lady

B.D. Lawrence Author Of An Angel and a One-Armed Man

From B.D.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Anti-sex trafficking crusader Christian Crime fiction lover Software engineer Straight-shooter

B.D.'s 3 favorite reads in 2023

B.D. Lawrence Why did B.D. love this book?

You’ve probably heard books and movies described as roller coaster rides. This one is part of a roller coaster ride.

The first two-hundred and thirty pages are the roller coaster going up the first big hill. The last one-hundred and forty pages is the roller coaster screaming down the big hill, going faster and faster and faster. The last part of this book is intense. I read those last one-hundred and forty pages in two sittings, staying up later than I intended. I haven’t read something that intense in some time.

Gorman does an amazing job of fleshing out the main characters. There is quite a variety of people involved in this story. Also, there are many points of view, but I didn’t have any trouble keeping them sorted.

This isn’t a mystery. I knew who the murderer was early on. Therefore, Gorman has to build intensity in other ways…

Book cover of The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times

Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell Author Of Live Life on Fire: The Guide to the Ultimate Successful Life Full of Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment

From Lynita's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author International speaker Lover of humanity Mom of amazingly kind daughter Recovering black thumb planter

Lynita's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Lynita's 16-year-old's favorite books.

Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell Why did Lynita love this book?

I have admired and respected Michelle Obama for most of her husband’s political career. She managed the delicate balance of motherhood, career, supportive wife, and political wife with such grace and elegance as the first African-American First Lady of the United States of America.

So when she wrote this book, I was happy to dive in to find out how life had been post-presidency. And I was not disappointed to know that the same grace and elegance that I saw the 8 years in the White House continues to inspire and uplift other people. One of those people is a distant cousin who serves as her right-hand woman; how she was so kind when she found out that my cousin’s father had been incarcerated.

The Light We Carry is one of kindness and love in the face of unkindness and darkness. And we are all empowered to share it at…

By Michelle Obama,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Light We Carry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The powerful, inspiring follow-up to the critically acclaimed, multi-million #1 bestselling memoir Becoming

In The Light We Carry, former First Lady Michelle Obama shares practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today's highly uncertain world.

She considers the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much? Michelle Obama believes that we can all lean on a set of tools to help us better navigate change and remain…

Book cover of Mamie Doud Eisenhower: The General's First Lady

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

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

Who am I?

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?

Although the sections directly discussing Pat are limited, I found this book very useful. Holt offers a view of another presidential marriage that was contemporaneous and interactive with the Nixons. Mamie was a role model for Pat and Holt was one for me. Holt provided me with a roadmap for dealing with sensitive issues within a marriage and a presidency.

By Marilyn Irvin Holt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It was fitting for a soldier's wife to make curtains out of military-surplus parachutes. That they would hang in the White House made little difference. Mamie Doud Eisenhower was a president's wife who seemed to most Americans like the friend next door. She gave us ""Mamie pink"" and ""Mamie bangs"" but has stood in the shadows of first ladies who followed. Yet she accomplished more than even her own contemporaries noticed, and her popularity not only enhanced her husband's presidency but also put a distinctive stamp on the role of first lady. This first scholarly biography of Mamie Eisenhower draws…

Book cover of The Younger Wife

Kimberly Belle Author Of My Darling Husband

From my list on suspenseful messed up marriages.

Who am I?

Kimberly Belle is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of seven novels of domestic suspense, including her forthcoming My Darling Husband and The Marriage Lie, a Goodreads Choice Awards semifinalist for Best Mystery & Thriller. Her books have been published in more than a dozen languages and have been optioned for film and television. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, Belle divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Kimberly's book list on suspenseful messed up marriages

Kimberly Belle Why did Kimberly love this book?

When Stephen announces he’s getting remarried, his adult daughters aren’t happy with the news. His fiancé is too young, she’s a gold digger, and let’s not forget the fact he's still legally married to their mother, his first wife, now in a care facility for dementia. But Stephen doesn’t see it as a problem; he’s already initiated the divorce. Sally Hepworth is a genius at developing compelling, well-rounded characters, ones with real secrets and problems you root for them to solve. And marriages don’t get much more messed up than this one.

By Sally Hepworth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Another knockout - unputdownable and completely thrilling' TAYLOR JENKINS REID, bestselling author of Malibu Rising and Daisy Jones and the Six

'Smart, suspenseful, brimming with secrets. This is Sally Hepworth at her unputdownable best' KATE MORTON

'This beauty I read in a morning... Expect a lot of secrets and revelations' BELFAST TELEGRAPH

The moment she laid eyes on Heather Wisher, Tully knew this woman was going to destroy their lives.

Tully and Rachel Aston are murderous when they discover their father has a new girlfriend. The fact that Heather is half his age isn't even the most shocking part. Stephen…

Book cover of Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair That Shaped a First Lady

Maurine Beasley Author Of Eleanor Roosevelt: Transformative First Lady

From my list on Eleanor Roosevelt and her world.

Who am I?

I have been intrigued by Eleanor Roosevelt since I was a little girl in Sedalia, Missouri, and my mother read me Eleanor's "My Day" columns in the Kansas City Star. Mother would look up and say, "I'm sure she is better than he is," referring, of course, to Eleanor being better than Franklin. My family was rock-ribbed Republican and disapproved of Franklin's policies. I wondered then—and still do—why my mother and other women of her era had so much reverence for Eleanor. I have been looking for the answer ever since.

Maurine's book list on Eleanor Roosevelt and her world

Maurine Beasley Why did Maurine love this book?

This depicts the intimacy between Eleanor and Lorena Hickok, a reporter for the Associated Press, that existed at the time Eleanor first moved into the White House in spite of vast differences between the social backgrounds of the two women. Describes Hickok's influence on Eleanor's contacts with other women reporters as well as Hickok's undercover reports on poverty-stricken areas for the Roosevelt administration that prompted Eleanor to personally undertake relief efforts in West Virginia.

By Susan Quinn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A warm, intimate account of the love between Eleanor Roosevelt and reporter Lorena Hickok-a relationship that, over more than three decades, transformed both women's lives and empowered them to play significant roles in one of the most tumultuous periods in American history

In 1932, as her husband assumed the presidency, Eleanor Roosevelt entered the claustrophobic, duty-bound existence of the First Lady with dread. By that time, she had put her deep disappointment in her marriage behind her and developed an independent life-now threatened by the public role she would be forced to play. A lifeline came to her in the…

Book cover of The Sackett Brand: The Sacketts

Thomas Sewell Author Of Techno Ranger

From my list on clever heroes risking everything to protect others.

Who am I?

When writing about quick-witted heroes fighting through danger to protect the innocent and those they love, I draw on the thousands of books and their authors who shaped my own understanding of how a hero behaves; of the principles and emotions which drive a person to persist in the face of massive adversity. Lost in the worlds of those books, inspired by the reading habits of my adopted father, I inhaled these five authors' works in particular. They became an illustrated history of the craft for me, showing through example how adventure writing had evolved and what it could become at its finest.

Thomas' book list on clever heroes risking everything to protect others

Thomas Sewell Why did Thomas love this book?

Louis L'Amour mastered the art of the adventure story. A story where we root for the hero to succeed and live their exuberance with them when they do. In 1965, he published The Sacket Brand, a western about a man and his new bride traveling to their first home together. Ambushed, badly injured, hungry, cold, and desperate, we live his experience of being hunted by enemies while uncovering the mystery of why it's all happening.

When he finally discovers the truth, we cheer as he, in turn, forces his enemies to run from him. Honor, integrity, stubborn principle. Persistence in the face of extreme adversity. Those were the life lessons I received from L'Amour's books and try to pass on in mine.

By Louis L'Amour,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In The Sackett Brand, Louis L’Amour spins the story of a courageous man who must face overwhelming odds to track down a killer.

Tell Sackett and his bride, Ange, came to Arizona to build a home and start a family. But on Black Mesa, something goes terribly wrong. Tell is ambushed and badly injured. When he finally manages to drag himself back to where he left Ange, she is gone. Desperate, cold, hungry, and with nothing to defend himself, Tell is stalked like a wounded animal. While he hides from his attackers, his rage and frustration mount as he tries…

Book cover of Becoming

Keisha Blair Author Of Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity, and Happiness

From my list on resilience and overcoming setbacks.

Who am I?

I'm a trained Economist and Harvard Trained Policy Expert. I was part of the Prime Minister's supporting delegation to the World Economic Forum, ASEAN, and APEC Summits in Singapore. I'm the Founder of the Institute on Holistic Wealth and host of the Holistic Wealth podcast. I wrote a viral article entitled "My Husband Died At Age 34. Here Are 40 Life Lessons I Learned From It". I coined the term Holistic Wealth with the publication of the first book on Holistic Wealth. I am the founder of the Holistic Wealth movement and known as the Mother of Holistic Wealth. I've written three books on Holistic Wealth (series). 

Keisha's book list on resilience and overcoming setbacks

Keisha Blair Why did Keisha love this book?

I’ve done extensive writing about the Holistic Wealth mindset that I developed, and about women who embody this mindset including Michelle Obama.

Her story of becoming the first African American first lady on the life experiences that shaped her journey from the south side of Chicago to the White House. Michelle titled her book Becoming because she is constantly evolving, “becoming” the woman she aspires to be, which is part and parcel of the Holistic Wealth mindset.

It’s a great book on resilience and overcoming setbacks. Michelle stated in an interview with Oprah Winfrey: “My journey is the journey of always, continually evolving, that there is never a point where you arrive at a thing. And if you do, that’s kind of sad, you know?” said Obama.

“If you think there is a point in your life when you stop growing or stop learning, that’s kind of sad, because what…

By Michelle Obama,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Becoming as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir; 17 million copies sold worldwide





Now in paperback featuring a new introduction by Michelle Obama, a letter from the author to her younger self, and a book club guide with 20 discussion questions and a 5-question Q&A, the intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama…

Book cover of The Rich and Other Atrocities

Michael Gross Author Of Rogues' Gallery: The Secret Story of the Lust, Lies, Greed, and Betrayals That Made the Metropolitan Museum of Art

From my list on American High Society.

Who am I?

I started my career writing about rock music. Rock stars dated models, and I soon started writing about them, too, which led me to cover the fashion world, where I was often seated near the rich and famous at runway shows in London, Paris, Milan, and New York, and began to study them. Thus began years of reading and writing about Society, first for The New York Times and New York magazine, and later in a series of books on the worlds of the rich and the famous. The latest, Flight of the WASP: The Rise, Fall, and Future of America's Original Ruling Class, will be published this fall.  

Michael's book list on American High Society

Michael Gross Why did Michael love this book?

I was fortunate to cross paths with Curtis when I went to work for what were called the women’s pages” of The New York Times, which she had written for and edited before rising to the exalted op-ed page. When I got that job, my soon-to-be wife gave me a copy of this book—a collection of Curtis dispatches from the front lines of Society—and said, “This is what you can do if you’re good at it.”

By Charlotte Curtis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The rich and other atrocities [Jan 01, 1976] Curtis, Charlotte