Just in the nick of time, along comes a book that enlightens and entertains in a surprisingly nonpartisan and detailed way. The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy should be a welcome antidote to anyone troubled by this year’s brutal Presidential campaign. The ‘Club’ consist of ex-Presidents who are called on by the current President when assistance is needed with Foreign Affairs, public relations or a domestic situation.
The Club was initiated by Herbert Hoover and Harry Truman during Dwight Eisenhower’s Presidency. The two former Presidents from opposing parties joined forces to help feed those starving in Europe following World War II. They took it upon themselves to close ranks and offer any assistance that the newly elected Eisenhower needed. The Club has continued down through the subsequent Presidencies as anywhere from 2 to 5 living ex Presidents have been called upon by the sitting President to circle the wagon.Their love of country and their own reputations in history have some times gone hand in hand, but the protection of the Presidency, no matter what the party affiliation of those involved, is most paramount.
Since only an elite few know firsthand what the pressures and challenges of being elected the leader of the free world are, the ex-Presidents have continued to come together through the decades for a variety of reasons. Whether it was helping JFK get out of The Bay of Pigs debacle, counseling Nixon that his resignation would be best for the country, or helping Clinton face his impeachment charges, these stories are revealed with the utmost care and precision. Richly illustrated and footnoted, there are stories and points of view most people have never heard before. You may have your own opinion of these men but reading about the unusually warm relationships Bill Clinton shared with both Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush confirms that party lines can be crossed because personal connections and respect should not stop at each party’s door.
Put your personal ideologies and partisanship aside and enjoy this historically significant book. You will be hard pressed to find a more evenhanded political book on the market today.