The Presidents Club: Inside The World's Most Exclusive Fraternity is a fascinating read. I enjoyed it tremendously, especially since I'm interested in American history and our presidents. As authors Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy explain, the only members in the relatively modern invention of the club are the men who have been President of The United States.
The authors explain that once a man joins the club (and perhaps some day we'll have a woman club member), the other members (for the most part) close ranks around him and do what they can to provide assistance. Gibbs and Duffy state that former presidents rarely criticize their successors because they are the only people who truly understand how difficult the job is.
The authors write:
For the former presidents, the club can be a vital, sometimes surprising benefit of post-presidential life. They have relinquished power, but not influence; and so their influence becomes a piece of the sitting president's power. They can do more together than apart, and they all know it; so they join forces as needed, to consult, complain, console, pressure, protect, redeem.
Here are some bits of information from the book that I found interesting:
- The club's formal beginning took place at the inauguration of Dwight Eisenhower when Herbert Hoover suggested to Harry Truman that they organize a former presidents club. "Fine," Truman replied. "You be the President of the club. And I will be the Secretary."
- Truman had already helped to rehabilitate Hoover's image by requesting his assistance with the problems of post-World War II Europe.
- When Johnson had to assume the presidency abruptly, Eisenhower became one of his most trusted confidantes. Johnson told Eisenhower that he was the best chief of staff Johnson had.
- In a breach of loyalty to our country and to his Commander in Chief, Nixon sabotaged Johnson's efforts to end the war in Vietnam. Nixon wanted the war to continue so he would be needed as the president who could achieve peace.
- The enmity between Ford and Carter ended during the plane trip back to the U.S. following Anwar Sadat's funeral. Ford and Carter then became close friends, and teamed up on many projects.
- Reagan taught Bill Clinton how to salute properly; Nixon became a close adviser to Clinton.
- When George W. Bush was elected and greeted his father, former President George H.W. Bush in the Oval Office, both men were so overcome by emotion that they couldn't speak.
- President George W. Bush asked his father and Bill Clinton to work together to raise funds to provide assistance following catastrophes. Bush (41) and Clinton went on to become such close friends that Bush 43 joked about Clinton recovering from heart surgery -- that Clinton "woke up surrounded by his loved ones: Hillary, Chelsea . . . my Dad."
I learned many interesting tidbits of information about U.S. history and our presidents from this book. The Presidents Club has The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.
I purchased the book from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/The-Presidents-Club-Fraternity-ebook/dp/B005GG0MIS/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1.
I wish you happy reading, whether you choose this book, or possibly another of my new favorites, Treadwell, by our blogger friend Dana Joy Wyzard. To read my review of Treadwell, please click HERE.
Infinities of love,