Barack Obama: The pursuit of identity
Political strategist David Axelrod and biographer David Maraniss discuss Barack Obama's search for identity -- and how that quest has paralleled America's own complex reckoning with race.
30 Oct 2016
John F. Kennedy: We are all mortal
Robert Dallek, Michael Beschloss and Fredrik Logevall--three major Kennedy historians and biographers--join us on this week's episode to talk about JFK and death. But not his assassination...
28 Aug 2016
James Madison: Burning down the house
Though he's our first wartime president, James Madison is usually better remembered for his work on the Constitution rather than his time as commander-in-chief while the White House went up in flames. But maybe that's the wrong way to look at it.
31 Jan 2016
James Monroe: The Forrest Gump of presidents
In the latest episode of Presidential, we look at our fifth president's knack for being present at famous moments in history.
7 Feb 2016
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Herbert Hoover: Dealing with disaster
Herbert Hoover entered the White House with an array of high-profile experiences leading disaster relief. So why was his handling of the Great Depression considered a failure? Biographer Charles Rappleye guest stars.
31 Jul 2016
Andrew Jackson: The violence, the fight
Barbara Bair, Steve Inskeep and Jon Meacham examine the tragedy of Andrew Jackson's personal life, the brutality of his battles and his policies against Native Americans, and the conflict that makes up a dynamic democracy.
21 Feb 2016
John Quincy Adams: The trait that broke a presidency
We're about to witness how the inability to compromise can tank any hope of being an effective president.
14 Feb 2016
Calvin Coolidge: A tale of two Coolidges
Former politician Michael Dukakis, biographer Amity Shlaes and political scientist Robert Gilbert join Washington Post economics reporter Steven Pearlstein to offer a version of Calvin Coolidge's legacy that doesn't follow the standard story.
25 Jul 2016
Theodore Roosevelt: Exuberance
Biographer David McCullough and historian Michelle Krowl take us inside the wild, unstoppable dynamism of Teddy Roosevelt, whose energy and activism redefined the role of American president.
26 Jun 2016
Abraham Lincoln: His hand and his pen
Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of 'Team of Rivals,' and Michelle Krowl of the Library of Congress guide us through Lincoln's love for language--and how his gift for writing and oratory became one of his greatest presidential leadership tools.
24 Apr 2016
Woodrow Wilson: A complicated legacy
Racism, diplomacy, women's suffrage...historian John Milton Cooper and Woodrow Wilson House executive director Robert Enholm lead us through Wilson's complicated personal and presidential legacy.
11 Jul 2016
Donald Trump: Division and union
In this final episode of the podcast, Library of Congress historians Michelle Krowl and Julie Miller return--along with Washington Post journalist Dan Balz--to reflect on the changing nature of the American presidency.
9 Nov 2016
Warren G. Harding: Love and scandal
Steamy love letters. Jazz. Scandal. Psychics. Newspapers. The Hope Diamond. Historian Nicole Hemmer helps guide us through the wild life and presidency of Warren G. Harding.
18 Jul 2016
Bill Clinton: The good and the bad
David Maraniss, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Bill Clinton, explores how Clinton's core character traits had both a bright and a dark side. And Post reporter Jim Tankersley examines a similar duality in his policy legacy.
16 Oct 2016
William Howard Taft: This chief, not that chief
Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of 'The Bully Pulpit,' along with historian Michelle Krowl and Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes discuss why President Taft made a better chief justice than commander-in-chief.
3 Jul 2016
George H. W. Bush: Restraint
Historians Jon Meacham and Jeffrey Engel discuss President Bush's unique form of presidential leadership--a vintage combination of public service, conservatism and emotional restraint--and examine why his legacy has grown more positive over time.
9 Oct 2016
Martin Van Buren: The story of our two-party system
Martin Van Buren did much to create the political party establishments we have today. Experts Barbara Bair and Mark Cheathem, along with Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza, examine his mark on modern politics.
29 Feb 2016
Ulysses S. Grant: Lover, fighter, writer
Ulysses S. Grant's memoirs are considered the best ever written by a president. In this episode, Washington Post nonfiction book critic Carlos Lozada and biographer David Maraniss discuss what they found funny, touching and illuminating about the work.
8 May 2016
James Buchanan: The bachelor and the bloodshed
America is on the eve of civil war, and James Buchanan is alone in the White House as our first and only bachelor president. Historians Jean Baker and Jim Loewen, and The Washington Post's Jim Tankersley, explore the lack of personal and political union.
18 Apr 2016
Rutherford B. Hayes: The most contested election
How does a vicious, close and disputed election spill over into a presidency? We examine the razor-thin election results for Rutherford B. Hayes, and the equally fine line he then had to tread as president during the end of Reconstruction.
15 May 2016