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The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  289 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
No one man or woman has ever been in a position to see the presidents, and the presidency, so intimately, over so many years. They called him in for photo opportunities. They called for comfort. They asked about death and salvation; about sin and forgiveness.

At a time when the nation is increasingly split over the place of religion in public life, THE PREACHER AND THE PRE
Paperback, 448 pages
Published June 12th 2008 by Center Street (first published January 1st 2007)
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Jan 17, 2008 Ray rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
found this book as interesting as "Just As I Am" was tedious.

The insights are countless:
* Harry Truman hated Graham
* Eisenhower's bland civil religion policies may have obscured some real spiritaul awakening during his presidency.
* LBJ considered Graham one of his best friends. He would phone Graham in the middle of the night to come to the White House bedroom to kneel and pray with him. Long after LBJ left office and was demonized by both Republicans and Democrats, Graham regularly visited
Tim Chavel
Feb 28, 2014 Tim Chavel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book that not only gives you an inside view of Billy Graham but also of several presidents and some of their family members. If you are interested in Billy Graham and/or American Presidents this is a book you will enjoy! I trust you will enjoy the quotes below:

The Preacher and the Presidents
Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy

We are all sinners, he said, in search of grace. – Billy Graham

The presidents called for comfort; they asked the simplest questions: How do I know if I’ll go to heave
Steve Miyamoto
Oct 09, 2007 Steve Miyamoto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was remarkable to me how Graham was able to become a trusted advisor to some of the most powerful people on the planet over the last 50 years. Graham is shown to be a man who used whatever tools were at his disposal including his name and reputation to build the Kingdom of God and spread the message of the gospel.

I thought this was a politically well balanced book. It presents the failings of the Presidents on both sides of the aisle fairly and often very critically. It also portrays the Pre
Robert Clay
May 22, 2009 Robert Clay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, I don't give out five stars flippantly. I debated whether this should get four or five; it's not the best book I've ever read, but I really enjoyed it. Very informative. The book moves quickly (over half a century in 350 pages), but does a good job of providing enough details to intrigue without getting bogged down in too much policy and jargon. I loved the insights into the Presidents as men with doubts and needs much like any other man, and yet also unlike anyone else; the office of Pres ...more
I was really disappointed in this book. It made out like Billy Graham was the preacher to 11 presidents...however he wasn't. Some didn't even like him enough to send him cards. The presidents that he wasn't friends with they don't spend much time on. You don't even get into too much about what Rev. Graham is doing. However, when you get to LBJ and Nixon then you get almost too much. There are numerous quotes and letters that are talked about ad naseum. Then you get into Carter who didn't want to ...more
Gary Miller
The book examines how religion, especially Billy Graham, has played into the political world. Graham used individual presidents to give him more prestige especially in the beginning of his career, but the presidents also used him. They saw the huge crowds he was able to attract and so they realized it would be good to be on the good side of Graham. They used each other.

Graham has endorsed candidates (though he prefers to indicate neutrality), informed candidates which states to focus on during t
Gail Roberts
Oct 20, 2016 Gail Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jan 31, 2013 Sue rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My interest in this book stems from a curiosity about how religion and politics intersect, and especially about the role of evangelicals in the national conversation and at the polls. I did not arrive with any particular opinion about Graham.

In retrospect, I realize that this history was a huge undertaking. Billy Graham’s career had a long arc, and this book cannot cover it. And there are countless dramatic stories behind the eleven US presidents he knew, from the late 1940s into the 21st centu
Roger Smitter
Jan 27, 2015 Roger Smitter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a unique take on the biography genre. It probes the life of a person by the affiliations he has with others. In this case, of course, the others are US presidents. And the person at the core of the bio is the most admired man in the world, Billy Graham.

We see a growth curve for Graham in sophistication about politics and about fame. As a very young evangelist, he meets once Truman with enthusiasm. Truman never meets with him again. Graham becomes Ike’s spiritual mentor, especially about
I enjoyed this audio book very much. As a young kid growing up in the 1960s & 1970s, I use to hate having my favorite programs interrupted by Mr. Graham's TV appearances. But as I got older, I became somewhat intrigued by this man of God and how he could be a touchstone for so many. I found this biography/memoir very insightful and was a bit surprised at some of the information I learned about a few of our past leaders. It caused me to reflect and re-examine some of these powerful men who ha ...more
Chris Comis
BG was one of the most influential Christian leaders of the 20th c., as this book shows in great detail. He was the personal spiritual advisor for 10 of the last 11 presidents (I believe Truman was the only one Graham never really got very close to). BG was more of a counselor than a prophet though. He knew how to give great advice when it came to personal salvation (kinda), but he was not very effective in giving politial advice as the book makes very clear. Graham's committment to political pl ...more
Sep 26, 2007 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in recent U.S. history
Billy Graham covered much of this ground in his autobiography, "Just As I Am." But I learned more about this extraordinary man from this engagingly written and carefully reported book.
And I learned more about the 11 presidents -- from Harry S Truman to George W. Bush -- Graham has known along the way, several as close friends.
It was news to me, for instance, that President Eisenhower was the first man who was baptized during the time that he was president.
Graham's ability to reach beyond politic
Aug 28, 2012 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me 90+ days to read this work of non fiction, and it was a struggle. I only give it 3 stars because I am not a non fiction lover, and I'm sure those who are would appreciate this better than I. It is one of my book club's selections, and we meet tomorrow so I plugged through it, and, as always, I know that our discussion will raise my level of appreciation for it - anyway, I hope it will! Billy Graham, as you know, was a counselor to presidents from Truman to Bushes helping them whenever ...more
Jun 04, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I am intrigued by the lives of presidents, and this was a fascinating look at how one man, Evangelist Billy Graham, interacted with 11 of the last men in office-- beginning with Truman and ending with George W. Bush (though unfortunately there is not much on that final relationship during the presidential years, much to my disappointment, probably since W. was still in office while the book was being written).

I enjoyed the way the writers put the information together to tell the story. This woul
Hank Pharis
Enjoyed this one more than the last read about Graham. But a huge part of it was the reader.
I'd never realized how much difference the person reading the book can make.
Anyway lots of interesting details here about Graham's relationships with the Presidents.
The plus side is that he has been very encouraging and supportive of all of them
and was loved by most of them. The downside is that he seldom ever spoke
prophetically to any of them. He did not consider this his role but when you consider
the th
Colby Qualls
While I did not enjoy the book as much as The President's Club, I still found it to be a great read. It was an objective and honest view of Billy Graham's private and public relationships with the presidents. He walked a very fine line, but did it better than anyone else in modern history. I only wish this generation was more like him. Willing to be conciliatory, not divisive. He certainly changed and had grown since he first started his ministry, but in the best possible way. He is an evangelis ...more
This was a very intriguing book that gave an amazing insight to how religion is one of the singular things that is very similar to each president. While I don't agree with Graham's feelings about religion I was immediately drawn to how the different political backgrounds regardless Reagan, Carter, Nixon, Bush Sr., Clinton and W. all found peace of mind with this one man. A great and informative read.
Jan 29, 2016 Kw rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and informative, and I think the authors' research and objectivity are remarkable. I enjoyed seeing in detail some of the things I lived through but was unaware of - both in politics and in the spirituality of Americans throughout Billy Graham's ministry. This book is honest and not overly critical of either politicians or others, but neither are they whitewashed. I'm sure much information had to be omitted to keep this on point. Quite an impressive work.
Oct 31, 2009 Mari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual, political
I finally finished reading this book. It was interesting but not what I was expecting. I wanted more of Billy Graham's actual thoughts but the writing was based mostly on research the authors had done rather than being based on interviews with Graham and the presidents who are still living. Overall, it was a good book and I learned much about how involved Billy Graham actually became in the political side rather than just the spiritual side of the presidents' lives.
Jun 10, 2013 Jeff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and very fair book about Billy Graham's relationships with US presidents. Though the authors are from the secular media rather than the Christian media, they did a very even-handed job, exploring both the spiritual and political aspects of Graham's relationships with the most powerful men in the world. They also did a good job tying in the story with the context of historical events happening in the US and the world over the past 50 years.
Margot Friedman
Jan 27, 2008 Margot Friedman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Preacher and the Presidents is a wonderful way to review 20th century history through the particular lense of Rev. Billy Graham's relationship with each president. It also provides an instructive outline of how the religious right gained power in America in the latter half of the 20th century. It is beautifully written and very clear.
Jul 19, 2013 Clint rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Material on presidents was excellent as it was in their book "The Presidents Club," but the authors mistakenly judged Graham by the words of columnists and other politicians instead of the general populace which has always revered him. Also, the book CD reader attempted Graham's accent, which was a horrible mistake and sounded awful.
Jan 16, 2008 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a fascinating angle to learn about as influential a person as Billy Graham. To discover the depth of his relationships with various presidents (since Truman which really dates him) is to discover the ebb and flow of his identity as a Christian first, behind-the-scenes politician second. Worth reading even if just to learn more American history.
Nicole Marble
How close was Billy Graham to the presidents? Billy's first encounter was with Harry Truman who thought Billy was a phoney. Then Ike found him useful. Then Nixon, who used Billy repeatedly. And Billy was astonished, he says, when he learned Nixon was a bigot and racist.
This book is a fascinating look at one of the most influential Americans of the 20th century.
Nov 24, 2008 Kaye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, non_fiction
This book presented an amazing overview through history, highlighting Billy Graham's importance in politics and religion, while offering religious details on presidents Truman through Bush. It was well written and researched, and gave the reader the good and the bad of Graham, and how he grew as a person and a preacher.
Aug 07, 2008 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating study of the relationships between Billy Graham and all of the American presidents from Truman to George W. Who would have guessed that the only two who didn't have close relationships with him were Truman and Carter? I was particularly fascinated by the stories from the Eisenhow administration when Graham was hitting his stride and the relationship of the Bush family with Graham.
Feb 07, 2008 Bethany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating frame for a biography of Billy Graham. Well-written and definitely worth a read for anyone interested in Graham's life and work, or in how faith has affected the recent Presidents of the United States.
Nov 14, 2011 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
The authors do a fine job of presenting the unique relationship Billy Graham has had with the presidents from Truman to W, focusing on how Graham has matured from his cock-a-doodle-doing over his contact with Truman to his deep, adult relationships with Reagan, Clinton, and HW.
Feb 22, 2011 Diane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to the audio while out and about...very interesting look at history. Billy Graham has visited/been involved with every President since Truman. The pull toward politics versus the desire to spread the Gospel made for some interesting tension.
Nov 08, 2007 Lynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I did not know how close Dr. Graham was to the presidents starting with Eisenhower. He gave Ms. Gibbs numerous candid interviews that describe in detail how he matured and learned how to relate and minister to such powerful men. His wife kept him firmly planted.
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Nancy Gibbs is the author of nearly 100 TIME cover stories, including four "Person of the Year" essays and dozens of stories on the 1998 impeachment fight and the 1996 and 2000 presidential campaigns. She wrote TIME's September 11th memorial issue as well as weekly essays on the unfolding story and its impact on the nation. Ms. Gibbs's article "If You Want to Humble an Empire..." won the Luce Awar ...more
More about Nancy Gibbs...

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“The challenge was that it was harder to be subtle than strident.” 1 likes
“Some Christians worried about a faith that was so embracing as to be meaningless, that exalted not the Almighty so much as the American way of life. When civil religion bleached the challenge from faith and left behind a watery patriotism, there was room for concern.” 0 likes
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