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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 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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By LucyLu on 06-18-12
Inflection of narrator really annoying
I've read MANY historical accounts of the presidencies covered in this book, and did notice a few areas where the accounts here didn't quite jive with others (considered to be authoritative), but I can't speak to the bias that I noticed in other reviews, as I'm not far enough along to have encountered them. I certainly don't see it thus far, and I'm up to the account of Nixon's campaign. I've never written a review prior to finishing a book, but this one made me want to due to the narration. Perhaps it will help someout out.
Argghh! I'm truly surprised that more folks haven't mentioned this, but Bob Walter's inflection and pacing is reminiscent of a really bad John Wayne impression. I'm not terribly picky about narration in general, and thus didn't listen to the sample. I wish I had. I find his pacing, inflection, and emphasis bizarre, and very distracting and annoying. This experience . . . has . . . taught me that I . . . should definitely . . . listen to the . . sample before I . . . purchase . . . a book. I'll certainly avoid him in the future, as it makes the book a tedious listen for me.
Finally, at least thus far, the authors didn't seem to have enough material to warrant a book on the specific topic of the relationships between past and present presidents, and spend a considerable amount of time away from that angle. I understand the need to provide historical context to readers, certainly, but much of the time it feels like the 'presidents club' is more of an aside. I was hoping for more on this specific topic, as it's interesting, and usually an aside in more focused biographies of presidents. However, this doesn't provide much to previous works in this respect. As such, it kind of feels like more of a marketing angle to justify a history of the presidencies of Truman through the present. If you haven't read a lot of political history, that might be more interesting to you, but if you've read a lot, it's mostly a re-hash with a little more emphasis on the presidential relationships.
Just to put this review in context, it is the worst I've ever given, by far--and again, mostly due to the narration, and to a lesser extent, to the paltry amount of new information regarding the presidential relationships.
21 of 22 people found this review helpful
By L. on 06-18-12
I didn't want it to end
Would you listen to The Presidents Club again? Why?
I would listen to it again, probably after a few years. After more history is revealed about the Presidents, would be interesting to go back and compare what is in the book to things that have come to light since its publication.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Presidents Club?
Three ex-presidents traveling to Egypt for the funeral of Anwar Sadat. Some of it was funny because of the awkwardness but in the end Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter became sort of friends.
Any additional comments?
I found out so many things I never knew. I never knew that Harry Truman barely had any money, what a sensitive spirit Lyndon Johnson had or how close Bill Clinton is to the Bush family. There are many memorable moments in the book, many very touching, even about Richard Nixon.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mr M T Hardy on 10-23-16
Enthralling history, told in a very distracting manner...
This is one of the most consistently good audiobooks that I have listened to all year. Fascinating overview of history, great anecdotes and nicely structured.
One problem though, and it's a major one; the narration. I'm sad to say that Bob Walter has the most distracting speaking style (kind of like a cross between Messrs Bean & Spock) that took an awful lot of getting used to. I did to a certain extent, but it jarred, occasionally altered meaning & generally withdrew me from the narrative.
Still a thoroughly enjoyable listen, but could have been even better!
By AnnieG on 08-13-16
Truman To Obama
If you are a rabid left winger or a right wing zealot this book is best avoided because it will crush the divisive nonsense rhyming around your head.
Eisenhower masterminding early days of LBJ Whitehouse? Gerald Ford leading Bill Clinton defence case or George Bush senior and Bill Clinton becoming as close as father and son.....This book is a fascinating look at the real human relationships between members of this exclusive club.