Jonathan Yardley

Jonathan Yardley is a Washington, D.C.-based book critic and author.

Selected Works:

Second Reading: Notable and Neglected Books Revisited; Monday Morning Quarterback; Misfit: The Strange Life of Frederick Exley


1981 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism

Visit Author Website

Which one or two American books or plays would you yourself recommend to the foreign leaders?

Silly question, since none of them reads books, but: The Great Gatsby and Sister Carrie.

Who in your childhood—for example, parent or teacher—encouraged you to read books, and which one or two books do you remember most fondly?

My parents. The Horatio Hornblower novels by C.S. Forester, Penrod and Sam by Booth Tarkington, The Story of a Bad Boy by Thomas Bailey Aldrich.

Which books by writers of the other G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom) have been most important to you as a writer?

The novels of Victorian England—Dickens, Thackeray, Austen, the Brontes—and, more recently, the novels of Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, E.M. Forster, Anita Brookner, William Boyd, P.G. Wodehouse. From Canada, Mordecai Richler.

What is the Power of the Word Exhibit?

Power of the Word: Leaders, Readers and Writers is the first online exhibition of The American Writers Museum. As world leaders gather in the U.S. this spring, The American Writers Museum Foundation is inviting American writers and readers to explore the power of the word and join in a discussion of how American books can help readers in other parts of the world better understand our culture.

Leaders Gallery

An exploration into what some of the world’s most powerful leaders like to read, and how reading has influenced them.

Writers Gallery

American writers comment on their early experiences with reading and name the books they think world leaders should read in order to better understand American culture.

Readers Gallery

An interactive, open forum where readers are invited to join the discussion by answering the question: Which American works of literature do you think leaders from other nations should read in order to gain a better understanding of America?

We would like to thank our exhibit sponsors for their generous support:


What is The American Writers Museum?

The mission of The American Writers Museum Foundation is to establish the first national museum in the United States dedicated to engaging the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture and our daily lives. Learn more at