Don’t Know Much About® the American Presidents

NOW AVAILABLE in hardcover and ebook from Hyperion; and in audiobook from Random House Audio

Writing in the style that has made the New York Times bestseller Don’t Know Much About® History a popular classic, Davis looks at the history of the most powerful office on earth and the men who have occupied it.


  • Which president broke the law to keep his slaves from being freed?
  • How did a president help save college football from early extinction?
  • Who said, “When the president does it, that means it’s not illegal”?
  • If the framers of the Constitution didn’t mention an “electoral college,” how come it picks the president?
  • Who was the “Negro President?”

You have questions. Kenneth C. Davis has answers.

For more than twenty years, since his New York Times bestseller Don’t Know Much About History: Everything You Need to Know About American History but Never Learned first appeared, Davis has shown that Americans don’t hate history, just the dull version dished out in school. An instant classic, his first work of American history has sold more than 1.6- million copies.

Now Davis turns his attention to what is arguably the most important and most fascinating subject in American history: our presidents. From the heated debates over executive powers when those Framers improvised the office in the steamy summer of 1787, through the curious election of George Washington and, for more than 200 years, up through the meteoric rise of Barack Obama, the first African American Commander in Chief, the presidency has been at the heart of American history.

From the low lights to the bright lights, from the intellectuals to the disasters, from the memorable to the forgettable and forgotten, Davis tells all the stories. He uses his entertaining question-and-answer style to chart the history of the presidency itself as well as debunk the myths of America’s leaders and recount the real story of these real people. Here’s the young Lincoln building his mother’s coffin and dragging it through the snow to be buried; Theodore Roosevelt, America’s youngest president, shockingly thrust into the presidency –with greatness thrust upon him; FDR, the only man elected four times, concealing his crippling disability from the American public as he led the nation through Depression and world war; Lyndon Johnson, reelected in a landslide, then crushed by the weight of the Vietnam War.

For history buffs and history-phobes alike, this entertaining book is packed with memorable facts that will change your understanding of the highest office in the land and the men who have occupied it.