I have a long term goal to read a biography of each American President. My list of the books I have read so far is here.
Reading biographies is giving me a more focused feel for American History. During our recent road trip I finished reading about President number twelve, Zachary Taylor. The biography was written by John S. D. Eisenhower, a retired brigadear general, historian and the son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Eisenhower’s biography of Taylor is short, only 140 pages. “His presidency was also short. He was sworn in March 5 1849 and he died of an infection on July 9, 1850.” Taylor’s personal papers were destroyed during the Civil War when Union soldiers destroyed the home of Taylor’s son, Richard, at Baton Rouge. As a result not a lot is known about Taylor’s view of his presidency.
Taylor was best known as Old Rough and Ready, the general who led the U.S. to victory in the Mexican American War. Reading about the significant battles in that war and about Taylor’s leadership was the highlight of the book.
If you are looking for a book to read about Taylor I would recommend the Eisenhower book. It is a well written easy read.
Next I will be reading about Millard Fillmore, Taylor’s Vice President, who took over when Taylor died. He is considered one of our worst presidents so this should be interesting.