Vanity Fair's Presidential Profiles: Defining Portraits, Deeds, and Misdeeds of 43 Notable Americans--And What Each One Really Thought About His Predecessor

Forty-three men have held the highest office in the United States, making up an exclusive club of statesmen and sinners, grinds and slackers, winners and losers, Boy Scouts and rogues. They are profiled in incisive and entertaining commentaries written by Vanity Fair contributors Judy Bachrach, David Friend, David Kamp, Todd S. Purdum, and Jim Windolf that tell of their deeds, plumb their characters, and dispense the essential dish about their personal lives. Portraits newly drawn by the acclaimed artist Mark Summers illuminate each of them as vivid individuals. Also included: revealing remarks-in the presidents' own words-showing what each really thought about the man who had preceded him in the Oval Office, an introduction by Graydon Carter, and a foreword by Washington insider Todd S. Purdum.


From George Washington to Barack Obama, here is a memorable chronicle of America's, and the world's, most powerful men, combining history, biography, art, politics, and gossip--and covering international affairs, domestic affairs, and . . . affairs of the heart--in one small, indispensable volume.


Advance praise for Vanity Fair’s Presidential Profiles


“I have had the honor of interviewing every U.S. president since Richard Nixon. But oh, how I wish I had had a copy of Vanity Fair’s Presidential Profiles. It is chock full of insights and information I would have relished.”
-Barbara Walters, ABC News

“Just what we’ve come to expect from Graydon Carter and the talented teams he assembles for Vanity Fair projects—a collection of smart, well researched pieces, beautifully illustrated and filled with details and quotes we never seem to find elsewhere. This one is a keeper.”
-Bob Schieffer, chief Washington correspondent, CBS News

“This is the story of who we are, as measured by those we have elected to lead us. White men, overwhelmingly…12 military generals among them. What else does it say about us?  This is essential reading— a citizens' guide to American Presidents, written in classic American style.  May we learn from all of them…the good, the bad, the ugly.”
-Brian Williams, anchor and managing Editor, NBC Nightly News
“A must read for American history addicts like myself. It's also a fun resource for casual browsers who will enjoy its beautifully rendered illustrations and the pithy essays by America's greatest writers who have assembled biographical highlights and lively anecdotes that bring to life each of our nation's elected executives.”
-Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
“Deftly combines portraits and prose with Vanity Fair’s unmistakable style. The result is an informative and entertaining chronology of American presidents."  
-Vernon E. Jordan, Jr, senior managing director, Lazard Frères & Co. LLC, and chairman of the Clinton-Gore transition team
“A great historical contribution to the American library—an indispensible guide to those who aspire to public office. The Mark Summers illustrations are a magnificent study in character and leadership. Graydon Carter’s and Todd S. Purdum’s contributions are intellectually superb. Having covered ten presidents, I just love the book.”
–Helen Thomas, columnist, Hearst newspapers

Reviews from

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By Craig (Ashland, KY) · ★☆☆☆☆ · May 15, 2013
I am someone who loves history and has an appreciation for art and while I enjoy the artwork of this book, the content of the book itself is extremely lacking.

I was not expecting in-depth biographies of the Presidents however; I found that the authors of the book seem to paint the Presidents that... ...more
By Haley (Hanover Park, IL) · ★★★★☆ · June 16, 2012
This book provided an in-depth summary of pretty much everything important or unimportant about the presidents and had a lot of information I never knew before. It was great to read about these people who (regardless of whether or not we liked them) sacrificed so much time and effort to run our c... ...more
By Christin (Milwaukee, WI) · ★★★☆☆ · March 27, 2010
Found this today at a thrift store (which is odd since it came out the first of this month, I hope that doesn't mean it's crummy). Short little 1 pg bios on all the president's across from a beautiful profile pic. I plan on leaving it in the car to read while I wait for my son to come out of scho... ...more
By Jason (Brighton, CO) · ★★★★★ · December 31, 2012
What a cool book. The book contains a short profile of each President that includes highlights, low lights, gossip, and pop culture references along with a fantastic black and white profile sketch. This is a must read for anyone that is even casually interested in the history of the Presidency. ...more
By sara frances · ★★☆☆☆ · April 19, 2010
this book claims that Andrew Johnson said, "It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word." but all the research i did credits Andrew Jackson with this quote. and some of the bios were lame. and the font was small. ...more
By Katie (Parkersburg, WV) · ★★★★☆ · February 13, 2010
Really good profiles and good essays. Intro said that they tried to be fair, but didn't quite succeed with some of the presidents. Makes a good book to add to the presidential history lovers' bookshelves. ...more
By Donna (Littleton, CO) · ★★★☆☆ · November 12, 2012
A fun read - particularly about the lesser known presidents. Particularly enjoyed the ending where each president is quoted describing the previous president. ...more