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The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity Paperback – 28 Mar 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (28 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439127727
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439127728
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"This is essential reading for anyone interested in American politics." --Robert Dallek, bestselling author of "An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963"

"Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs have taken us inside one of the most powerful and unusual families in American life--the brotherhood of former presidents of the United States. Political junkies, historians, psychologists and main street citizens will find the tales of friendship, envy, conspiracy, competition and common cause irresistible." --Tom Brokaw, bestselling author of" The Greatest Generation"

"Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy have given us a great gift: a deeply reported, highly original, and wonderfully written exploration of a much-overlooked part of American history. The tiny world of U.S. presidents is our Olympus, and Gibbs and Duffy have chronicled the intimacies and rivalries of the gods." --Jon Meacham, bestselling author of "American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House"

"A fabulous book . . . I absolutely love it." --Greta Van Susteren, FOX News

"Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs offer more than a fresh and fascinating first look at the world's most exclusive men's club. It's a book of real substance about clashing egos and strange bedfellows at the top." --Jonathan Alter, bestselling author of "The Promise"

""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, bestselling author of" The Conquerers"

"This is a great scoop . . . Amazing." --Chris Matthews, NBC

"This is a brilliant idea for a book, wonderfully written! At Eisenhower's inauguration, Hoover and Truman half-jokingly decided to form a 'President's Club.' With surprising reporting and insights, this book reveals the relationships and rivalries among the few men who know what it's like to be president. It gives a new angle on history by exploring the essence of the presidency." --Walter Isaacson, bestselling author of "Steve Jobs "and "Benjamin Franklin"

""The Presidents Club" is a lucid and well-written glimpse into the modern presidency and its self-sustaining shadow organization. It's worth reading and rereading for its behind-the-scenes insights." --"USA Today"

"Forget Rome's Curia, Yale's Skull and Bones and the Bilderbergs--the world's most exclusive club never numbers more than six. . . . 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"

About the Author

Nancy Gibbs is the deputy managing editor of Time magazine and coauthor with Michael Duffy of the New York Times bestseller The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House.

Michael Duffy is Time’s executive editor and Washington bureau chief and directs coverage of presidents, politics, and national affairs for the magazine.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an interesting and well reasearched account of the relationships between each president since Truman with their predecessors right through to Obama and his relationships with Clinton and Bush.

In telling the story of these relationships this book covers pretty much all of the major points of US history since WII in a very readable way. I thouroughly enjoyed this book and learned a great deal - some of which - for example the warm relationships between Bill Clinton and both Bush father and son surprised me a liitle.

Interesting and informative - a very humane account of the pressures of very high office and what it is like to move on from the summit of power
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Format: Paperback
Presidential candidates often run on a platform of distancing themselves from the man in office, attacking his policies and actions, promising to do things differently, better. Or they deliberately align themselves with him, painting themselves as his natural successor, his protege, only to begin to edge themselves out from the long shadow cast once in office. But one thing, Gibbs and Duffy argue, is common to all of those who become President themselves - they find it a lonely, isolating position, and only a few other men can really understand what they're going through - and it's the very same men they have been deliberately avoiding or cultivating.

Relationships with everyone change once a man becomes President - with his family, friends, staff, voters - and perhaps most particularly of all with the other men who bear the title of President. This book is a truly fascinating read, charting the relationships between all of the Presidents since Truman and Hoover first formed what they jokingly called 'the Presidents Club'. Cooperation, competition and consolation form the hallmark of this Club, and it's interesting to see how different presidents have relied on their predecessors in different ways - to lend political support, to influence voters, to give advice and guidance, to take on tricky extra-governmental missions, to serve as a sounding board, or even just as a friend who has been there.

Some Presidents could let go, content to fade into the background and serve when called upon, like Eisenhower, Truman, Ford, or the Bushes. Others were bored and restless, inserting themselves into events on the world stage whether they were wanted or not, like Carter and Clinton.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book wonderfully describes the relationships between the sitting and the former - never really retired - presidents. It is interesting to see that the most fruitful relationships do occur when they both are at the opposite of the political spectrum.
The most striking example is the alliance forged after the end of the second world war between Hoover and Truman. The help and the restless travels that Hoover did averted another tragedy in Europe for bringing food and restoring the economies to a functioning state.
Eisenhower and JFK relationship remains also essential since they very much despised each other at begin of their encounter but finally manage to form an almost workable relationship . Eisenhower was proved to be a definitive help and a loyal ally during the Cuban crisis when he advised JFK to pursue and announce the quarantine of Cuba.
The example of Jimmy Carter in this book is also striking, the very fact that he criticizes publicly Clinton's foreign policy decisions labelled him as "black sheep" of the club.
The relationships between Senior Bush and Clinton are also worth to read, notably in the role they both play following the contentious election in 2000 between Al Gore and Junior Bush.
Reagan and Nixon remains a fascinating relationship . It is Reagan whom restated Nixon by seeking his advice during the most dangerous years of the Cold War.

The open question remains with whom 44 will be friend with when his term finishes in 2016 ??
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By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Jun. 2015
Format: MP3 CD
“The President’s Club” is a fascinating introduction to that exclusive fraternity of men who have served as President of the United States. It is a web in which political rivals unite to protect the office, serve their country and world and and find ways to make themselves useful.

The modern club began when Harry Truman invited Herbert Hoover to undertake the task of food relief to war torn Europe. Although Hoover resented being the scapegoat again in 1948 he was willing to help reorganize the Federal Government under both Truman and Eisenhower.

The relationships have been as diverse as the members and party divisions have largely been left behind. Truman was an irascible character who liked to be remembered, by some but not all of his successors, who did undertake at least one “you-die I fly” mission. Eisenhower was an advisor and confident to Kennedy and Johnson in war and peace. Johnson’s club membership kept him quiet as Nixon adhered more to the Johnson policies than Democrats of his day. Thereafter presidents became helpers and tricksters. Nixon’s continued dalliance in foreign affairs and Carter’s globe-trotting and free-lance diplomacy produced tense moments in the West Wing and, on occasion, accusations of treason. Perhaps the closest and most productive bonding was between the Bushes and the “other brother”, Bill Clinton. President Obama, like his predecessors, has learned to employ the talents of those few who know what it is like to sit behind the desk and make the decisions that change history.

What I found most interesting about this is the non-partisanship of the Club. Truman and Hoover could work together better than Hoover did with Eisenhower or Truman with Kennedy.
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