Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Regardless of party or philosophy, current and former U.S. presidents have bonded in an exclusive group where they consult, advise, and help each other. A new book, ‘The Presidents Club,’ traces the exclusive fraternity from its beginnings with Truman to the present with Obama.The idea of an Ex-Presidents Club sounds like a punchline. The idea that former presidents eagerly consult each other, let alone have their own clubhouse seems a little absurd. In fact, it’s even been the basis of a long-running Saturday Night Live skit that featured them as superheroes. But the group actually does exist. It’s not a formal organization with Jimmy Carter taking down minutes of the meetings and George W. Bush collecting dues; but it plays an important, albeit underappreciated, role in running the country.
In The Presidents Club Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy examine how this ad hoc fraternity was formed when, after suddenly ascending to the presidency upon Franklin Roosevelt’s death, Harry Truman reached out to his only living predecessor, Herbert Hoover, and how it has influenced the nation up to the present day.
Read both or select just one!
In Upstairs at the White House, West offers an absorbing and novel glimpse at America’s first families, from the Roosevelts to the Kennedys and the Nixons. Alive with anecdotes ranging from the quotidian (Lyndon B. Johnson’s showerheads) to the tragic (the aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination), West’s book is an enlightening and rich account of the American history that took place just behind the Palladian doors of the North Portico.