Did you know that Presidents’ Day was originally called “George Washington’s Birthday?” That’s because, as the name suggested, it was a national celebration of our first president. The holiday was renamed when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act officially moved its date from February 22nd to the third Monday in February.
So, while you’re enjoying a relaxing day off work, remember, it’s all thanks to the greatest birthday party in the history of our nation.
To celebrate, we’ve put together a list of patriotic must-reads that are perfect for Presidents’ Day.
Often considered a companion piece to McCullough’s biography of John Adams, 1776 focuses on the events surrounding the American Revolution. Unlike similar historical texts, McCullough’s work reads with the narrative attentiveness of a novel, illuminating the deeply human struggle behind America’s most important year.
Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 includes character studies of George Washington, King George III, General Howe, Henry Knox, and Nathanael Greene, along with key Revolutionary War battles told from both sides of the trenches.
Franklin was a Founding Father of the United States, a polymath, an author, a freemason, a civic activist, a statesman, a diplomat and, lest we forget, Benjamin Franklin also invented the rocking chair.
Walter Isaacson’s sweeping narrative chronicles Franklin’s journey from Boston to Paris and back again, with an in depth exploration of Poor Richard’s Almanac, the Declaration of Independence, and the compromises that gave us the Constitution.
Abraham Lincoln not only preserved the Union through the Civil War, he also strengthened the federal government and modernized the economy.
David Herbert Donald’s exploration of Lincoln’s character unashamedly portrays our 16th president’s capacity for evolution and growth, illustrating the traits that made it possible for someone so inexperienced to become one of the greatest leaders the United States has ever seen.
The Bully Pulpit
Theodore Roosevelt was an American statesman, explorer, naturalist, and conservationist and, as luck would have it, best friends with William Howard Taft…until 1912, when both men ran for president. The fight would prove brutal, ruining their marriages, dividing their children, and crippling the progressive sect of the Republican Party.
Doris Kearns Goodwin’s draws inspiration for her book from an incredible stock of letters written by Roosevelt and Taft to each other. The correspondence of more than four hundred letters gives The Bully Pulpit an extremely heartfelt and oftentimes hilarious foundation.
A People’s History of the United States
The history of the United States is often told through the stories of great men making great strides and overcoming great odds. But, what about the formation of our country on the street, in the home, and in the workplace?
Read Howard Zinn’s alternative interpretation of the history of the United States of America to learn about the struggle of those who fought for civil liberties, worker rights, and social change.
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