When we think of exclusive clubs and secret societies, we often connect them with the world's most powerful men. It should come as no surprise, then, that the most exclusive club is composed entirely of men who have previously been the most powerful man in America.
The world's most exclusive club never has more than six members, and its membership varies only through election or death. The only prerequisite for joining the club is having been elected President of the United States.
The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity gives readers a look at the club, conceived in 1953 by members Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover. Since that time, The Presidents Club has allowed sitting presidents to call on past presidents -- sometimes former political rivals -- when they need help getting the job done. Hoover helped in Europe after Truman's call, John F. Kennedy needed Eisenhower's help in Cuba and Richard Nixon went to Russia for Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.
The President's Club covers the one-on-one interactions of presidents and past presidents from Hoover through Barack Obama. Surprisingly, the book doesn't discuss much about the office of president. Rather, it explores the relationships between the men who have worked from the Oval Office. It also provides a behind-the-scenes look at each of the men as individuals, and how they grew both during their tenure and after.
The President's Club is the second book written by Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs, following 2007's The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House. Both Gibbs and Duffy work for Time magazine. Duffy serves as the Washington bureau chief and an executive editor while Gibbs is an editor at large. Both are known for their work in political writing and are considered top commentators on politics and values in the United States.
The bestselling authors of The Preacher and the Presidents return with a riveting new history of the private relationships among the last thirteen presidents, uncovering and exploring the partnerships, private deals, rescue missions, and rivalries of those few men who served as commander-in-chief.
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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 he 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.