Mike Purdy’s Presidential History Blog

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

Grant’s Race Against Time

After his presidency, Ulysses S. Grant – an international celebrity – took a two and a half year world tour where he was acclaimed by heads of state. Short of Cash: Back in the United States, he needed an income (the trip had deleted most of his savings)... read more

A Dozen Presidential Books I Read in 2017

There was definitely not enough time in 2017 to read. So many books, so little time! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read more books. The following is a list of the books about the presidents that I read in 2017 (the titles below are linked to Amazon or... read more