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Publisher's Summary

From the author of the New York Times best sellers First Women and The Residence, an intimate, news-making look at the men who are next in line to the most powerful office in the world - the vice presidents of the modern era - from Richard Nixon to Joe Biden to Mike Pence.

Vice presidents occupy a unique and important position, living partway in the spotlight and part in the wings. Of the 47 vice presidents who have served the United States, 14 have become president; eight of these have risen to the Oval Office because of a president’s death or assassination, and one became president after his boss’s resignation. John Nance Garner, FDR’s first vice president, famously said the vice presidency is "not worth a bucket of warm piss" (later cleaned up to "warm spit"). But things have changed dramatically in recent years. In interviews with more than 200 people, including former vice presidents, their family members, and insiders and confidants of every president since Jimmy Carter, Kate Andersen Brower pulls back the curtain and reveals the sometimes cold, sometimes close, and always complicated relationship between our modern presidents and their vice presidents.

Brower took us inside the lives of the White House staff and gave us an intimate look at the modern First Ladies; now, in her signature style, she introduces us to the second-most powerful men in the world, exploring the lives and roles of 13 modern vice presidents - eight Republicans and five Democrats. And she shares surprising revelations about the relationship between former Vice President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama and how Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump interact behind closed doors.

From rivals to coworkers, there is a very tangible sense of admiration mixed with jealousy and resentment in nearly all these relationships between the number two and his boss, even the best ones, Brower reveals. Vice presidents owe their position to the president, a connection that affects not only how they are perceived but also their possible future as a presidential candidate - which is tied, for better or worse, to the president they serve.

This rich dynamic between the president and the vice president has never been fully explored or understood. Compelling and deeply reported, grounded in history and politics, and full of previously untold and incredibly personal stories, First in Line pierces the veil of secrecy enveloping this historic political office to offer us a candid portrait of what it’s truly like to be a heartbeat away.

©2018 Kate Andersen Brower (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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Long but insightful

The text seemed to bounce around a lot and repeat itself but was still very enjoyable.

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Really enjoyed but...

I really enjoyed this book, but you need a pretty good grip on the players and time lines of modern history to follow it. It is organized categorically, so the jumps can be a tad jarring, hopping from Vietnam era to modern day then to Eisenhower’s Illnesses at a moments notice. That being said I really enjoyed the book. I liked that it didn’t seem to be preferential to one party or one era, and explained both sides and motivations of an story when possible.

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Makes me wonder what she'll do next.

She does it again. Her profiles and interviews are spot on. Her chapter on Pence is making me want to vote for him come 2020, rather then Trump, TBH. I'll wait to see what her next book will be about.