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)
The book provided a fascinating insight to the sheer pressure that any US President is under every day of their Presidency. It highlights that the 'buck' does stop at the President's desk and the human travel this causes. It is apparent that no one other than a former President actually understands the pressure to make life or death decisions impacting on hundred of thousands of people if not millions. The book reveal how serving President seek out the advice of their predecessors who are happy to give it. It is clear that it is a job beyond the capabilities of most normal human beings however the existence of 'The Club' has greatly assisted the sitting President and perhaps changed the course of history. To finish the book provided an insight into the way the US political system operate, the frustration and achievements of sitting Presidents and the fascinating relationships between former Presidents. Many of these relationships were/ are very surprising.
This book tells the stories of the behind-the-scenes relationships between all post-WWII presidents, from Truman to Obama (plus Herbert Hoover).
For anyone interested in history, this will be a sinful treat. For those less interested in history, it will still be a great source of juicy historical tidbits, which at the very least will shed a new light on the chasm between presidents' public postures and their behind the scenes attitudes.
The book is broken-down into presidential pairs, with almost never more than 2 presidents being covered in one chapter, and the format works really well, a tribute to the author's skill in organizing the flow of the book.
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