The Short Take:
This non-fiction book about how USA presidents of the last 60-plus years interacted with each other is a must read. Learning how these men reached out — and still reach out — to support and help each other, despite party affiliation or personal interest, is inspiring. I was often buoyed up, occasionally shocked, and constantly entranced by what went on and goes on between members of the most exclusive club in the world.
With all the negativity and outright name calling that goes on today, it’s easy to lose sight of the extreme gravity, complexity, and importance of serving as President of these United States. This book restores all that, heightens your respect for all who have filled that role, and feeds your hope for the future.
Regardless of how you feel now about any of the various office holders, this book is sure to change your opinion — almost exclusively for the better. I have been recommending it to people like crazy. Even if non-fiction is not your favorite genre, reading this one is simply good for your soul.
With about 70 pages of notes and a 10 page bibliography, this book is heavily researched. It felt truly unbiased, except in its constant reminder of the weight and importance of every single American president.
A Little Plot:
Starting with Harry Truman, who reaches back and across party lines to call on Herbert Hoover to help him keep post WWII Europe from massive starvation, as well as other vital tasks, this book carries you right up to the present day (minus a year or so). Relationships between presidents — both before, during and after their time in office — are fully explored.
Some get a bit disenchanted with each other over time, others grow ever closer. In every case you will get a fuller, more nuanced picture of each president included in this book. Unless members of “the club” were involved, major historical events are sidelined. This both keeps the focus clean, and the page count reasonable.
Except for one major exception (it has to do with 1968), I came away with a better feeling of all our presidents. For that alone I will be forever grateful to Gibbs and Duffy.