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The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity Paperback – February 12, 2013

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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, April 2012: It's hard to imagine a more obviously fascinating prism through which to look at American history and politics since the end of World War II. Starting with the surprisingly effective relationship of Harry S. Truman and Herbert Hoover, and following through "Obama and His Club," TIME Magazine's Executive Editor Nancy Gibbs and Washington Bureau Chief Michael Duffy trace the surprising, complicated story of "the world's most exclusive fraternity." Sitting presidents and their predecessors have at times proved remarkably simpatico, at others impossible thorns in each other's sides. The authors' extensive research demonstrates that ex-Presidents have a penchant for morphing from consummate team players into irascible rogues, sometimes within weeks, as they strive both to remain relevant and to shape their own legacies. In Gibbs and Duffy's hands, their stories never fail to captivate. --Jason Kirk --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"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"

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439127727
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439127728
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (905 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

200 of 210 people found the following review helpful By Spk on July 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The President's Club is a refreshingly different kind of read. There are plenty of Presidential biographies. This book is not about Presidential accomplishments. It is not also about post-presidential accomplishments, such as the well know Clinton Global Initiative (CGI, as it is known). Rather this book explores the relationships between current Presidents and e-Presidents. i.e. how did ex-Presidents partner with current ones. Very well written with fun and telling anecdotes. As I read through this list starting from Truman's Presidency through to Obama, I thought it would be fun to subjectively rate some of these relationships:

Best: Hoover helping Truman get food supplies to 100 million starving Europeans after WWII (wow!)

Second best: Nixon helping Clinton deal with Yelstin. This is a really cool story!

Worst: Jimmy Carter annoying pretty much everybody

Delicious: Johnson and Nixon trying to outfox each other

Most fun anecdote: Reagan teaching Clinton how to salute.

If one is interested in Presidential history, this is a new and refreshing angle on this well worn path.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Wes F on April 24, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Presidents Club is a must read for anyone that is truly interested in the fine line that exists with current Presidents and their successors. It opens the chapters of history from a perspective that is seldom seen by the general public.

Exciting -- The book is an easy read that keeps the reader engaged as the authors tell the narrative of Presidential interaction. From Hoover to Obama the dynamics are shaped by the most powerful men in the world. From ego's to self-empathy the authors tell the real life history of how the club has grown and shrunk over the last 50 years.

Credible - Well sourced and full of citing the authors took the job seriously and gave readers insights only found by scouring thousands and thousands of pages of Presidential material

Insightful - Discover how Hoover was a tremendous help at the end of WWII. Put yourself in President Reagan's post-presidential office as he teaches another President how to salute.

Perception Changing - The book opened this readers eyes to the decisions that Presidents have to make. Foreign Policy rules the land and I would bet each of us are hard pressed to ever look at our leaders through the same lens as we did before reading this book.
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115 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Tripp Braden on April 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Looking for a great book that combines the best and worst qualities of leaders during challenging times? I just started The Presidents Club and can't put it down. Working in the White House is a different world. Wonder what it's like to be in the most exclusive fraternity in the world? This book might offend people on both sides of the political spectrum but entertain all. It reminds us all that Presidents are still people and how they deal with crushing pressure could be a lesson for us all.
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112 of 128 people found the following review helpful By Deygan Brendan on April 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Anyone - Democrat or Republican - with an interest in the workings of the Presidency will find this a fascinating read. Sides of past presidents will be revealed that you hadn't known existed. It's an equally-interesting book when you take into account that even what is written about only scratches the surface, as ex-Presidents will only reveal so much.
I prefer not to list certain portions of a book like this that I really liked, as I know how much I like to avoid seeing even trivial "spoilers" - but rest assured, this is an account saturated with highly educational information.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hunt on May 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It has often been said that the United States Senate is the world's most exclusive club with its one hundred members, but as Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy point out in their excellent new book, "The Presidents Club", living former U.S. presidents have it hands down on exclusivity. This is one club about which we have heretofore known very little, but with a flourish, the authors reveal quite a mosaic.

Beginning with Harry Truman's "rehabilitation" of Herbert Hoover shortly after Truman assumed the presidency in 1945, current and former holders of the office have formed some of the most fascinating relationships borne out of many factors. Truman needed expertise on European relief after the Second World War so he turned to Hoover, who had made a name for himself doing the same after World War I. In turn they became friends, something that would happen often to presidents, especially of opposing parties.

We get more than a glimpse of super egos needing to be wanted and stroked. There are "gentlemanly" ex-presidents and "rogue" ones as well. They're kind of like a big family...often colliding with one another, making up afterwards, only to set off on another crash course along the way. A wonderful contribution of this book is the summaries of presidential discussions, leaving the reader with the wonder of how fragile these men are. All of them. Some chapters are better than others. Nixon's manipulation of LBJ is juicy, as is the drama that played out between Ford and Reagan...not only at the 1976 GOP convention but at the one four years later, too. And there's Jimmy Carter going way out of bounds on a trip to North Korea to the utter dismay of Bill Clinton.
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