My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book wasn’t a page turner, but it did prove to be an interesting read. It’s about the relationships, bonds, and occasional bouts of bitterness between former presidents, current presidents, and future presidents, dating from Truman and Hoover up through Obama. I learned a lot of details about daily goings on and difficult decisions that have to be made, and it was interesting to read about the interrelationships between, say, Kennedy and Ike. I already knew quite a bit about Johnson and Nixon, so there wasn’t much new there for me, but it did reinforce some opinions I already held about these two men. It was interesting to read about how many of these men were reluctant to give up power and wanted to continue to “serve” long after their retirement. Even though the book is largely even handed, it does treat Jimmy Carter pretty harshly, making him out to be a near-traitor with his North Korea intervention and negotiations. At best, he was a loose cannon. I was also surprised to see what a great relationship Bush 1 had with Clinton, a man who kicked his ass in the election and whom Bush 2 never forgave for it. Additionally, it proved interesting to see what went on behind the scenes for so many of these presidents and the “club” of ex-presidents and how they called on each other for aid during tough times. The rationale for this was nobody but another president could know how difficult it is to be one, so you throw party affiliation aside as an ex and stand firm for your country behind the current president. Going back to what I wrote earlier about Nixon, I guess I did learn a lot about his early career that I hadn’t known. Oh, I also learned how much Nixon, Ford, and Carter hated Reagan. Hah! The political maneuverings are priceless and well worth the read. Like I said, you probably won’t stay up all night reading this book, but it’s a good book and I’m glad I read it.