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The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity | [Nancy Gibbs, Michael Duffy]

The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity

The Presidents Club was born at Eisenhower’s inauguration when Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover first conceived the idea. Over the years that followed - and to this day - the presidents relied on, misunderstood, sabotaged, and formed alliances with one another that changed history. The world’s most exclusive fraternity is a complicated place: its members are bound forever because they sat in the Oval Office and know its secrets, yet they are immortal rivals for history’s favor.
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Publisher's Summary

The Presidents Club was born at Eisenhower’s inauguration when Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover first conceived the idea. Over the years that followed - and to this day - the presidents relied on, misunderstood, sabotaged, and formed alliances with one another that changed history. The world’s most exclusive fraternity is a complicated place: its members are bound forever because they sat in the Oval Office and know its secrets, yet they are immortal rivals for history’s favor.

Some presidents needed their predecessors to keep their secrets; others needed them to disappear. Most just needed help getting the job done. Truman enlisted Hoover to help him save Europe; Kennedy turned to Ike on Cuba; Nixon sought Johnson’s advice on getting reelected, but then tried to blackmail him; Ford and Carter couldn’t stand each other until they saw what they had in common; Reagan and Clinton relied on Nixon as an off-the-books emissary to Russia; Bush put Clinton and his father to work and they became like father and son; and Obama and Clinton became quiet rivals for the same crown.

Journalists and presidential historians Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy unravel the secret compacts, the shared scars, and the private cease-fires from Hoover to Obama. The Presidents Club will change the way we think about the presidency, for the club itself is an instrument of presidential power.

©2012 Nancy Gibbs, Michael Duffy (P)2012 Simon & Schuster Audio

What the Critics Say

"This is essential reading for anyone interested in American politics.” (Robert Dallek, best-selling author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963)

“Forget Rome’s Curia, Yale’s Skull and Bones and the Bilderbergs - the world’s most exclusive club never numbers more than six. Its rules are inscrutable, and its members box the compass politically and stylistically.... Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs have penetrated thick walls of secrecy and decorum to give us the most intimate, revealing, and poignant account of the constitutional fifth wheel that is the ex-presidency. Readers are in for some major surprises, not to mention a history they won’t be able to put down.” (Richard Norton Smith, author of Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation)

The Presidents Club is magnetically readable, bursting with new information and behind-the-scenes details. It is also an important contribution to history, illuminating the event-making private relationships among our ex-Presidents and why we should do a far better job of drawing on their skills and experience.” (Michael Beschloss, best-selling author of The Conquerers)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (612 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jane Darwin, Australia 05-24-12
    Jane Darwin, Australia 05-24-12 Member Since 2009

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Searching for a US Presidential family"

    There are human beings, mere human beings, who could make the choice to destroy our planet. The President of the United States is one of these people. This is an unimaginable burden.

    The Presidents??? Club traces the relationships between various Presidents. The main theme is that that only former Presidents can understand the enormity and immense loneliness of the position. There are tears, heartbreak ??? the raw emotions of immense egos, greed, compassion, wisdom, fear, love ??? and that ever present question: how will the future judge me. We are given images of Reagan teaching Clinton how to salute, Clinton???s advice on making speeches being sought by Bush 43, Truman being ignored by Ike, the deep friendship between Bush 41 and Clinton, the personal as well as political challenges presented to Johnson and Ford following the Kennedy assassination, Nixon fixated on self redemption, Carter with almost unrestrained idealism. Of particular poignancy was the relationship between the two Bushes.

    The reader is taken through presidential relationships in a calm, factual manner, supported by an authoritative but tired narrator. To my mind, this book amounted to a well researched, very lengthy magazine article. Different points of view were rarely included ??? that would have detracted from the narrative. Instead it sounds like homage to the positive presidential relationships, and almost a dismissal of those who really didn???t want to play the games of this club.

    I don???t feel that the disorder, the messiness and brutality, the fears, bewildering information, the brinkmanship, the risks, and the immense decisions emerging from the constant avalanche of advice, were sufficiently explored.

    Sentimentality pervades this account. The authors seem driven to discover -- or imagine, or create -- threads of a presidential family.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Avins Miami, Florida United States 05-21-12
    A. Avins Miami, Florida United States 05-21-12 Member Since 2012

    Florida_Mom

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    "Very Informative - Many Real Behind The Scenes"
    Where does The Presidents Club rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very informative and real behind the scenes activities and relationships explored. Also I found it interesting the closeness of the past Presidents, even though the public had a very different perception because of media.


    Have you listened to any of Bob Walter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No - I would consider more.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The same as the book - It is a "club" and after listening to the book, I now understand why.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Schifilliti Georgia 05-17-12
    Joseph Schifilliti Georgia 05-17-12 Member Since 2004

    joe the shmoe

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    "History revisited as an intimate insider"
    What did you love best about The Presidents Club?

    I felt like I was allowed inside an amazing secret society.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Whether I loved these individuals or not, I had a new appreciation for the sheer terror the office of President must often present.


    What does Bob Walter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His reading brings a lyrical timing to the prose much like Sinatra did for a song.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Seattle, WA 05-15-12
    Jason Seattle, WA 05-15-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Very interesting"

    This book focuses on the interactions between the Presidents. It only used history as a narrative to give depth to the reasons why past Presidents work with current ones. I am in my 30's and found it very interesting to see how much Eisenhower helped Kennedy. How involved Reagan was in national politics before he became President in the 80's. The stories were extremely interesting to history buffs. I actually wish that they had spent more time on the Clinton/Bush II years and less on Nixon, but overall it was a very interesting read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim St. Johns, MI, USA 05-14-12
    Tim St. Johns, MI, USA 05-14-12 Member Since 2000
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    "The best book I've listened to this year, so far!"
    If you could sum up The Presidents Club in three words, what would they be?

    Detailed, Historical, Important


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I learned more and appreciated more about every president. Their need for confidants and trust was evident and important to learn about. How, even those that history may not appreciate, that they were all extremely helpful and knowledgable and appreciative of America and their successors and predecessors.. I really loved every bit of the book. I can't think of even one criticism.


    What does Bob Walter bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I like listinening to my books at 3x the speed and when going that fast he was still very clear and understandable.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David sea cliff, NY, United States 05-14-12
    David sea cliff, NY, United States 05-14-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrific Read about Empathy & Hope"
    Where does The Presidents Club rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the top stories-restored my faith in all the men who have held the job of President since Truman. It is high level gossip about the workings of the Presidency and the comradarie that they held for one another, given that only they know how difficult a job it is..I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was disappointed when it came to the end, as I could not listen to any more stories..


    What other book might you compare The Presidents Club to and why?

    For me there is no comparison - it felt unique.


    Have you listened to any of Bob Walter’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No - I liked prolonging the read as I used it on my daily walks - it was a treat that I looked forward to every day.


    Any additional comments?

    I gained more respect for the office and it made me more hopeful about politics overall.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt OVERLAND PARK, KS, United States 05-11-12
    Matt OVERLAND PARK, KS, United States 05-11-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "To Quote Mel Brooks...."

    nice.....not THRILLING....but nice. Just ok in my book. Was hoping for more but it just wasn't there. If you are that interested in the ex Presidents then read their biographies. Nothing new here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rita Marbury Louisville, KY USA 05-10-12
    Rita Marbury Louisville, KY USA 05-10-12 Member Since 2002

    Rita

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Who knew?"

    We vote them into the highest office in the land; we make them superstars; we envy their savoir faire; and we want them to be greater than the sum of the parts they had to play to get there. And, they aren't. They may fool the rest of us, but they can't fool one another, and politics is a nasty business. Favors are won, favors paid back, sneers never quite forgotten, and that is where this book becomes fascinating. Helping or hating, criticizing or praising -- they are members of an exclusive club, and each brings something unique to the table.. In reading it, you find Eisenhower was a general all of his life and bears a good deal of responsibility for what happened in Vietnam and that Nixon was far nastier than we knew. You find that Ford really did take the fall for the good of the country, and that Kennedy was like an uncertain prep school freshman when the Bay of Pigs fiasco blew up. about some things and infinitely wise about others. Johnson's tragedy becomes your own. You discover some of Ronald Reagan's unexpected cohorts, and, if you are like me at all, you will come away with a different view of the Presidency and the men who occupy that American throne. It is a great book to listen to while working out!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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