Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity” as Want to Read:
The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  7,565 Ratings  ·  953 Reviews
he Presidents Club, established at Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration by Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, is a complicated place: its members are bound forever by the experience of the Oval Office and yet are eternal rivals for history’s favor. Among their secrets: How Jack Kennedy tried to blame Ike for the Bay of Pigs. How Ike quietly helped Reagan win his first race in 19 ...more
Paperback, 641 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 20, 2012 Marisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Bill Clinton defeated George W.H. Bush after only one term in office, the elder man was completely devastated. To say that he disliked the young upstart is an understatement. So it may come as a surprise that, as the years passed, these two men became the closest of friends. In fact, H.W. once said he felt like the father Clinton had never had. Such was the respect and esteem, and yes, the love, between these two former Presidents - one a Democrat, the other a Republican; one who suffered a ...more
Dirck Halstead
Mar 03, 2013 Dirck Halstead rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First, this is a great book!

Secondly, I feel personally entitled to recommend it.

I covered the Presidency first for UPI, then Time Magazine from the Kennedy inaugural in 1960, through the end of the Clinton Presidency.
As a photographer I saw them up close, through the lens of my camera, traveled many thousand of miles with them around the world ten times over.

Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs are former colleagues and friends, who shared these experiences with me.

I can tell you that they are spot-on
Jun 15, 2012 Audrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very much enjoyed the book. The most important thing I learned: No matter how much you think you know about politics and what is happening, you have no idea.
This book was a great review of history, but it also was gossipy enough to give it another dimension.
I also think the authors stuck to the initial premise of the book. That is, it is about the complex relations between the presidents; it did not wander into other areas of history.
Oct 19, 2012 Erwin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sycophant. I've read a lot of autobiographical works by people who are quite proud of themselves, Jim Rogers, Ray Kroc and Sam Walton all come to mind. There's something nauseating about the author's infatuation with everyone who served as an American President, post WWII. The constant "but 'The Club' will save the day" refrain was used so frequently your eyes may not stop rolling.

One Amazon reviewer wrote that "If one is interested in Presidential history, this is a new and refreshing angle on
Jun 28, 2012 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is thoroughly researched and provides incredible (how in the world did the authors find this out?) and fascinating details -- all told as a highly readable story by two TIME writers. It covers the relationships current presidents have with their predecessors and how they help each other behind the scenes and in public.

You learn how much LBJ depended on Eisenhower as he conducted the war in Vietnam. (Eisenhower is described as practically his Chief of Staff.) You learn that Nixon wrote
Jul 03, 2012 Arminius rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When President Truman needed someone to run the food program to feed the devastated starving Europeans in the aftermath of WWII he called on the hero of feeding the masses of starving Europeans following WWI. That man was a former President from a rival party who was vilified by Truman’s predecessor. Herbert Hoover was living in seclusion following his loss of the presidency. Franklin Roosevelt used the clever ploy of blaming the Great Depression on Hoover. Truman was a different kind of man as ...more
Wow, what a great reading roll I've been on for the past couple of weeks. I enjoy politics and reading about life behind the scenes at The White House. But I had no idea when I picked this book up that it would move me to tears several times.

Beginning with the Hoover administration and following all the way through to Obama's first term, you will go behind the scenes and look at the struggles of the men who have sat behind the big desk in the Oval Office. You will see how they lean on and suppo
Dec 27, 2012 Melodie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
I have always been fascinated by our Presidents,past and present.What makes someone want to assume that mantle of power and responsibility?And once there, do they wonder what the hell they are doing there?This book answers those questions and so much more. There are jaw dropping revelations that will rouse a variety of emotions in the reader, from anger and disgust, to empathy, wonder and respect.
The book is well researched and written is an approachable fashion. Each president has his day so
May 29, 2012 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book gives us a very unique inside account of the presidents' relationships with one another. I never realized how much they actually rely on one another for guidance even if they do battle politically. I love the layout, it's chronological and begins with Truman and Hoover, where "the club" was technically born and goes up to the present. So far I'm enjoying it and HIGHLY recommend it to those who love presidential history, it's a smooth and very interesting read so far and I'm only a chap ...more
Kressel Housman
This is a multi-generational history of the relationships between every U.S. president from Truman to Obama, and surprisingly, most of them, including former opponents, were quite friendly. George H.W. Bush is particularly close with Clinton, the man who unseated him, and Ford and Carter were also able to forge a partnership after a bitter campaign against each other, though it only happened after five years of silence. That’s not to say that all the relationships were friendly; Truman and Eisen ...more
Jim Cooper
Jan 25, 2017 Jim Cooper rated it it was amazing
This book has been sitting in my "to-read" pile for a while. I kept putting it off because I usually don't history books that tell a bunch of stories from a bunch of different times in history, and I assumed that's what this was. I also assumed I had already heard most of what would be in here. I was incorrect on both counts.

Here is a quick list of some of the fascinating stuff that I had never heard about
- How Jimmy Carter, though he drove them nuts and wasn't nice to them, was instrumental in
John Cooper
Dec 27, 2012 John Cooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short history of the modern Presidency from Hoover to Obama, told entirely in stories about the interactions between presidents, ex-presidents, and future presidents. The stuff you'd expect is here—Ford's pardon of Nixon, former president Carter's rogue diplomacy in North Korea, the disaster relief team of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton—but there's a lot of hidden history, too: Nixon's deliberate interference in the Vietnamese peace talks of 1968, stalling any peace settlement until it cou ...more
May 01, 2012 Darlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a political junkie and when this book came to my attention, I just HAD to read it! This book is about one of the most exclusive clubs in the United States... the Presidents' Club. Authors Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy did a spectacular job of researching this club made up of former presidents and the current president, of course. Starting at the Inauguration of President Eisenhower, Presidents Harry Truman and herbert Hoover formed the club. The book begins with the ups and downs of the Hoo ...more
Nov 01, 2012 Ob-jonny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book about the history of American Presidents since Hoover. This book describes the interactions between presidents and ex-presidents, and sometimes ex-presidents with each other. This is not a part of history that is often discussed in textbooks or in documentaries. It allows the reader to see the human side of the presidents in a very real and unedited version. There is a contrast between this and the more conventional stories of the lives of presidents and their various achievements. ...more
Khairul H.
May 13, 2012 Khairul H. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
What touches me most while reading this book is how the former Presidents would assist the man occupying the office at the time regardless of their political leanings. Hoover the Republican helped Truman the Democrat just as Ike advised Kennedy and Clinton became Obama's envoy (okay, they're are on the same side politically but Clinton didn't like Obama taking away the Presidency from his wife Hillary).

It is touching to a Malaysian because I simply do not see that happening in this country. Mal
The Presidents Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy is a must read for all amateur presidential historians. For those who've had the luxury of reading a biography of each president since Hoover, it contains interesting reminders of each president’s interactions with fellow members of the club that are documented elsewhere.

For those who have not yet had the opportunity to study each president, the book is a sumptuous gathering of amuse bouches from which to choose your next object of study.

Michael Mallory
Mar 05, 2013 Michael Mallory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Presidents Club" is a fascinating history of 20th century America through the lens of the Oval Office, focusing on how sitting presidents call upon the expertise and knowledge of their predecessors...or don't. Since the "club" of ex-presidents really started with Truman, little of the first half of the century is covered. But authors Nancy Gibb and Michael Duffy go into great detail, with great insight, as to the workings of the White House thereafter, all the way up to the current presiden ...more
Aug 19, 2014 Caroline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-history
Presidential candidates often run on a platform of distancing themselves from the man in office, attacking his policies and actions, promising to do things differently, better. Or they deliberately align themselves with him, painting themselves as his natural successor, his protege, only to begin to edge themselves out from the long shadow cast once in office. But one thing, Gibbs and Duffy argue, is common to all of those who become President themselves - they find it a lonely, isolating positi ...more
Aug 19, 2012 Dan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The President's Club is a little outside my normal Goodreads interests, and I'm already weary of politics in this election year, but after reading a compelling excerpt of this book in Time Magazine, I was hooked. I've always been fascinated by the inspiring post-presidency bipartisan friendship of Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush. I've also always been cognizant that The President of the United States is arguably the hardest job in the world, which should be factored in before harsh criticism ...more
Stephanie Patterson
Whether it's an election year or not, I enjoy books about politics. This is informative and just gossipy enough to keep one turning pages. It tracks the splits and alliances between former presidents from Hoover to Obama. I am a great admirer of Bill Clinton's abilities to connect with people and was especially interested in his interactions with his predecessors. Spoiler alert: Despite the fact that they share party affiliation, Bill and Jimmy aren't best buds. Indeed, Jimmy Carter emerges as a ...more
Aaron Million
Mar 21, 2014 Aaron Million rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Gibbs and Duffy delve into the much-complicated relationships between and among current and former presidents, beginning with Hoover and Truman in the mid 1940s. This was a fun book to read - to see how all of the ex-presidents would typically put party politics behind to assist whoever happened to be in the office at that particular time.

I did see a few flaws: the authors mention that Truman was eligible to run for a third term in 1952 because he had only served part of Roosevelt's final term.
Mar 20, 2013 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at how presidents bond with one another over a position so unique only a handful ever enter the club. They look to one another for advice and guidance, and sometimes those relationships are not always rosy. Beautifully reported and written, this book offers an insight into each of the presidents in a way that generally isn't addressed. Clinton's affection for Nixon, the two Bush's complex relationship with one another, the antagonistic relationship between Clinton and Carter—e ...more
Apr 27, 2013 Val rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was chosen by my book club and I was not too happy about the subject matter (BORING-- I thought) and the length (way too long to read it and other books in a month). However, from the very first chapter, I found myself totally engrossed and enjoying it. A lot. Almost all of the president's mentioned in this insightful, thought provoking and historically significant book were within my lifetime, yet I was amazed and surprised at how little I knew about what was going on and what I learn ...more
Apr 21, 2012 Lou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This IS a VERY fine book, particularly for anyone interested in 20th Century History and American politics. 530 well-written pages with detailed notes and citations, explore the relationships between Presidents past and present with such insight-fulness that this could actually be a great beach book. Enjoy the twists in the relationships in America's smallest fraternity as politics, world events and personalities converge. The Presidents Club exists as something of a mutual aid society amongst t ...more
Sep 13, 2012 Aunt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who knew old presidents never die-they actually hang around to try to assist "the new guy" should they be called upon! The premise of this book is a fascinating and surprising one. A meticulously researched work that traces the relationships (or lack thereof) between past and present holders of the office features just enough "juicy" stuff to keep an eavesdropper like me happy. I never would have suspected just how much Carter craves attention or that Bush 41 and Clinton have a father/son relati ...more
Johnny Williams
Jul 28, 2012 Johnny Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK this deserves a new shelf title--MUST READ --or REQUIRED READING--
This is indeed a long book but I have to say I would endure even more pages of i got increased depth and knowledge about each of its star characters.

The two authors did a great job of sewing together the thousands of bits of facts from scribblings-letters--hearsay and more to give us a never before look and the metamorphosis of these great men =--like them or loathe them they were each our leaders for a time--

We gain never bef
Jim Kelsh
A rather newsy, gossipy chapter of Presidential history...what do you when you're President and your predecessor is still alive...or if you are Barack Obama and four of your predecessors are still alive.
It started with Truman inviting the scorned Herbert Hoover back into service to handle the rebuilding of Europe. Ike had to deal with both of them, JFK all four of them, and so on.JFK's funeral saw the presence of 5 presidents if you include LBJ.
The club apparently has rules and satisfies a real
Well researched and well written. This book will be absolutely fascinating to anyone interested in history of the USA, presidents or excellent characters (although I guess in this case they aren't exactly characters). I was intrigued to learn about who these men really were/are and the best way to do that is by looking at their relationships. This book does an extraordinary job of leaving politics at the door. Whether you are a democratic, republican, liberal, conservative and all of the ones in ...more
Feb 23, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I found The Presidents Club to be very inspiring, and consider it to be one of the best books I've read about the power of collaboration. Former U.S. presidents, often with very different backgrounds and political philosophies, come together to help the current president... to educate, to support, to act as ambassador on call. Why? The motivations are many: Partly altruistic, partly to cement their reputation in history, but most often for the good of the country. A wonderfully engaging and comp ...more
Nov 12, 2015 Dale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating book. The inside story of former presidents from Hoover through Bush, the younger. I lived through most of these guys and my opinions have been based on popular media at the time of their presidency. This story tells how they worked to preserve the office of the president and their efforts on behalf of the president in office. It was gratifying to learn that after serving, these men are generally able to set partisan politics aside to work for the good of the office, the nation and w ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
U.S. History Read...: The President's Club 17 24 Jun 16, 2015 12:12PM  
Excellent read 3 17 Nov 24, 2013 10:57AM  
“Presidents typically land in office thinking they know better than their predecessors,” 1 12 Mar 15, 2013 11:04PM  
Excellent read 1 20 Apr 23, 2012 07:18PM  
  • White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It
  • Being and Homelessness: Notes from an Underground Artist
  • Sunrise Over Disney
  • Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House
  • The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With the President
  • Rediscovery of North America
  • Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America
  • Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World
  • Living in Sin?: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality
  • A Renegade History of the United States
  • The Real Romney
  • Barack Obama: The Story
  • The Obamas
  • One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon
  • The Oath: The Obama White House and The Supreme Court
  • Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal
  • Neopagan Rites: A Guide to Creating Public Rituals That Work
  • Bullheaded Black Remembers Alexander: The Story of Alexander the Great's Invasion of the Middle East
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...

Share This Book

“Nixon to Clinton: "When seeking advice from people who are more experienced than you, tell them what you plan to do first, and then ask for their reaction. Don't ask for their advice, and then ignore it. That way you save on bruised feelings.” 5 likes
“If compassion and mercy are not compatible with politics," Ford said, "then something is the matter with politics.” 3 likes
More quotes…