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Mount Vernon welcomes authors Brian Lamb, Douglas Brinkley, Edna Greene Medford, and Richard Norton Smith to the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Theater to discuss and debut their book The Presidents: Noted Historians on the Lives and Leadership of America's Best--and Worst--Chief Executives on Tuesday, April 23, 2019.


Date and Time




Robert H. and Clarice Smith Theater
George Washington's Mount Vernon
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.
Mount Vernon, VA 22121

Header Image: George Washington, engraving by G. Petit after Lansdowne portrait by Gilbert Stuart, c. 1900. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.

About the Book

The complete rankings of our best -- and worst -- presidents, based on C-SPAN's much-cited Historians Surveys of Presidential Leadership.

Over a period of decades, C-SPAN has surveyed leading historians on the best and worst of America's presidents across a variety of categories -- their ability to persuade the public, their leadership skills, the moral authority, and more. The crucible of the presidency has forged some of the very best and very worst leaders in our national history, along with much in between.

Based on interviews conducted over the years with a variety of presidential biographers, this book provides not just a complete ranking of our presidents, but stories and analyses that capture the character of the men who held the office. From Abraham Lincoln's political savvy and rhetorical gifts to James Buchanan's indecisiveness, this book teaches much about what makes a great leader--and what does not.

As America looks ahead to our next election, this book offers perspective and criteria that may help us choose our next leader wisely.


About the Authors

Brian Lamb is the founder and Executive Chairman of the private, nonprofit cable network C-SPAN that provides access to the proceedings of Congress and other public affairs programming and information services.

Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University, the CNN Presidential Historian, and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Audubon. The Chicago Tribune has dubbed him “America’s new past master.” His recent publication Cronkite won the Sperber Prize for Best Book in Journalism and was a Washington Post Notable Book of the Year.

Edna Greene Medford is a professor of history at Howard University, where she teaches courses on Jacksonian America, Civil War and Reconstruction, nineteenth-century history, and African American history.

Richard Norton Smith is a nationally-recognized historian, biographer, and authority on the American presidency, whose many books include Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation.