US President Bios

29: Warren G. Harding

Recommended Book

The Harding Era: Warren G. Harding and His Administration
by Robert K. Murray
Finding a recommendation for this category was difficult! For starters, Harding isn't very well known and many of the biographies written about him are out of print. Worse, opinions about Harding's presidency vary quite a lot, to put it lightly. Some biographers make Harding appear like a saint, others give you the impression he was the corruption personified. Things get rather "meta" in George Payne's book which argues that the common perception of Harding is a myth, written up by progressive authors who tarnish Harding's legacy.

I decided to pick Murray's book because it appears most balanced and plausible to me, the reader who lives a hundred years later, even though it is a 600-page-long snooze-fest. Twenty pages on Harding's pre-presidency life and then chapter upon chapter about policy work. With a lot of quotations and references to Harding's own and his cabinet's this book seems fact based and brought me to the conclusion that Harding is better than the negative biographies would make you think, but worse than the positive ones do.

626 pages, published 1969

Warren G. Harding (The American Presidents Series)

by John W. Dean

224 pages, published 2004

The Presidency of Warren G. Harding

by Eugene P. Trani and David L. Wilson

244 pages, published 1977

Dead Last: The Public Memory of Warren G. Harding’s Scandalous Legacy

by Phillip G. Payne

296 pages, published 2009

The Available Man: The Life Behind the Masks of Warren Gamaliel Harding

by Andrew Sinclair

500 pages, published 1965

The Strange Deaths of President Harding

by Robert H. Ferrell

216 pages, published 1998