The Corner

Literate Presidents

Grant’s Personal Memoirs is a classic. John Quincy Adams wrote a translation of Horace’s ode, I.XX (“Integer vitae…”) so good it’s anthologized. John Adams’s books are almost unreadable, but sometimes interesting. Jefferson’s “Notes on Virginia” is very readable, alas for him.

Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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