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
"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)
Sure. I read a TIME article on the book and the photos were fascinating. The concept of a real A Team of presidents is cool and even entertaining. I am old enough to remember the Nixon years so I found it fascinating to relive the Nixon Ford pardon debate. After reading the book I realized I have changed my mind about the pardon and why Ford did what he did. I agree now that he did the right thing because it was always about the presidency, not the person. Although now the presidency and the man occupying are getting disrespected outright but I digress...Great book in giving the reader of history a real education not covered in the history books. The sections on Hoover and Truman were long but I came away learning a lot about that era and post war Europe.
Nixon and his interactions with Clinton. I could sense Nixon`s neediness to connect with Clinton and while ironic they became best buds, it all kind of makes sense. I have a new respect for Bush senior too.
It was okay. Pretty monotone.
There were many but the section when Carter lost it with Cedras to get the heck out of Haiti because children could die was moving. Carter for all his faults - he does seem more of a loner compared to the rest of the fraternity - does march to the beat of a different drummer. The section also on Ford telling Nixon and Carter to go with Jerry, Jimmy and Dick was pretty memorable.
I was surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. I ended up disliking Eisenhower; sympathetic to LBJ; respectful of Nixon`s complexity; and overall had a vicarious enjoyment of the presidents being above the fray. Capturing the interactions of the ones alive and representing America in retirement makes great reading! The authors will need to include Obama in the next edition.
The Presidents Club is a fascinating lens through which to view recent US history. The research at the foundation of this book would have been massive and meticulous. But the real value is the way all the details are strung together in a compelling narrative. Though not always chronological, strong links kept me engaged and enthralled.
I already knew the news stories that populate this book; war, assassination, resignation, impeachment and elections. But I didn't know the "back story". And Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy tell one fabulous back story!
Bob Walter does a very good job of narrating throughout. His approach is steady and non-dramatic. In his voice, all the Presidents sound the same, with one odd exception, when President Clinton is doing an impersonation of President George W Bush.
I loved this book because it brought familiar events and people to life in a very different way and provided incredible insight into what must be one of the most difficult jobs in the world.
A fantastic review of the key events and relationships of former presidents
A great incite into history and how the former Presidents handled the critical events in their own time with the former Presidents. A great way to gain a powerful understanding of the presidential history from 1940 until today
no, would rate equally
an additional insight into the lives of the President's
This is one of the best books i have "read" this year....really insightful and interesting.
Yes, I would listen to this book again. I am sure I missed a few key points in the various stories. Also, the book is fascinating. It would be very easy to listen to it again.
There were many. But most of all it was understanding just how big of a crook Richard Nixon really was.
No, So I have no comparison.
When Nixon sabotaged the peace talks with North Vietnam.
If you have any interest in high level politics and how they work this is a great book. The forward was a little dry and drawn out but once the real story begins it is hard to put this book down.
This was a really interesting story, with particular reference to the relationship between the different presidents up to and including Bill Clinton.
the relationship between the different men was both very enjoyable and also enlightening. this is also the case when comparing the public face of the different presidents and the person who they really are.
The story made me also think about the different relationships that have existed between presidents and their vice presidents - that was not covered, unless the vice president went on to become president - and only then it was superficial.
It is obviously very difficult to write about the Obama administration and it's relationship with the past presidents, including the potential role they have played in getting votes in the senate and house for raising the debt ceiling etc. When that is able to be written I will certainly spend a credit on that too.
One of the best histories I have listened to because of the personal characterization it brought to our modern presidencies. I have relived the history of my youth with details that were not known to the public at that time in order to illustrate the relationships ex-presidents have with current presidents. It gives you a new outlook on presidents you thought you knew.
If you're interested in presidential politics this book is for you. You will learn things that you could not have imagined. More amazing than fiction. Well researched, well presented, a facinator that I couldn't stop listening to and at the same time didn't want it to end!
Yes - but I didn't do it.
I enjoyed it so much that I ordered the book on Amazon and gave it to a very good friend for her birthday.
This is a must read for students of American History, or those curious about the modern days presidents and their relations. It may very well change your perception about one or two of the last ten or so presidents.
We enjoyed listening to this and had a lot to talk about during and after we heard the book. The political caricitures become human characters. The polarizing black and white of each era is dispelled by welcome persepective.
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