THE PRESIDENTS CLUB

By: Nancy Gibbs & Michael Duffy

This is a nifty book. Filled with rich and revealing anecdotes, The Presidents Club describes the complex and often poignant relationships between former and incumbent presidents of the United States.

The “Club” actually had and has some formality to it. At the inauguration of President Eisenhower in 1952, Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman founded the Club. After this founding, Hoover and Truman developed a deep friendship. In his campaign against Thomas Dewey, Truman castigated Hoover as the creator of all the economic ills in the country. Truman then apologized to Hoover, who told Truman not to worry about the attack, implying that he preferred Truman to Dewey in any event.

The warm relationships between both of the Bushes and Bill Clinton are depicted in a detailed and interesting manner. Similarly, Ford and Carter developed a solid friendship, and Nixon was a close and trusted advisor to Clinton.

Not all the relationships between the members of the Club are warm and fuzzy. Nixon worked behind the scenes to undermine Lyndon Johnson’s attempt to negotiate an end in Paris to the Vietnam War, and Jimmy Carter tried to sabotage Ronald Reagan’s efforts to end the Cold War with the now famous negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev. Arguably, the actions of Nixon and Carter rise to the level of treason.

I commend this book to you.

-- Bob Kopf