Mike Purdy’s Presidential History Blog

The Shaping of Jimmy Carter

If you want to know what has shaped and made Jimmy Carter the man he is, you have to soak in the ambience of the small town of Plains, Georgia. It was here on October 1, 1924 that the future president was born. And it is in Plains that Carter has always returned, and... read more

The Hands and Halls of Power

I left the air-conditioned comfort of the elegant Willard Hotel – the long-established “Residence of the Presidents” – a little after 5:00 pm. I immediately felt like I had just been immersed into a hot and muggy sauna. Welcome to Washington, DC! It was a sweltering... read more

If I Meet President Trump, What Should I Say?

I’ll be in Washington, DC attending the Presidential Sites Summit during the last week of August. It’s a conference sponsored by the White House Historical Association and will bring together more than 200 presidential historians, archivists, museum/library managers... read more

So Many Presidential Books, So Little Time

Presidential biographers continue to churn out an amazing flow of new books about the presidents. It’s hard to keep up with them all! Steve Floyd, who has been reading and reviewing presidential biographies since late 2012, has compiled a list of upcoming and... read more

Remembering Barbara Bush

There is no job description for First Lady, nor is there a job description for being a political spouse. Nevertheless, Barbara Bush navigated being in the public eye for more than 50 years as the wife of prominent politician and one-term president, George H.W. Bush... read more

The Spell of Reagan’s Ranch

“From the first day we saw it,” Ronald Reagan said, “Rancho del Cielo cast a spell over us.  No place before or since has ever given Nancy and me the joy and serenity it does.” Reagan’s Beloved Retreat: Rancho del Cielo (Ranch in the Sky) was Reagan’s beloved... read more

When Shots Rang Out

Many of us know that four presidents have been assassinated (Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, John F. Kennedy).  But what is less known is there have been numerous attempted assassinations and threats against not just presidents, but presidential... read more

The Scene of the Crimes

Four American presidents have been assassinated. Today, with one exception, you can visit the scene of the crimes and find physical commemorations of the tragedies – in the form of a paint on a road, a theatre box, and an obscure historical marker. The site of... read more