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Apr 03

What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House

From Cicero to Snooki, the cultural influences on our American presidents are powerful and plentiful. Thomas Jefferson famously said "I cannot live without books," and his library backed up the claim, later becoming the backbone of the new Library of Congress. Jimmy Carter watched hundreds of movies in his White House, while Ronald Reagan starred in a few in his own time. Lincoln was a theater-goer, while Obama kicked back at home to a few episodes of HBO's "The Wire." 

America is a country built by thinkers on a foundation of ideas. Alongside classic works of philosophy and ethics, however, our presidents have been influenced by the books, movies, TV shows, viral videos, and social media sensations of their day. In What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted, presidential scholar and former White House aide Tevi Troy combines research with witty observation to tell the story of how our presidents have been shaped by popular culture. 

Tevi Troy, Ph.D. is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. In addition to being a writer and consultant on health care and domestic policy, he is also a presidential historian, making him one of only a handful of historians who has both studied the White House and worked there at the highest levels. He is also the author of Intellectuals and the American Presidency: Philosophers, Jesters, or Technicians?

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Tevi Troy, Ph.D.
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Derrick Morgan Derrick Morgan

Vice President, Domestic & Economic Policy Read More