America,  Book Reviews,  History,  NON FICTION

The President’s Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy *** (of 4)

An interesting perspective on U.S. history as seen through the relationships of all the Presidents since Truman to their predecessors.  It is a forgiving and largely supportive account of each man learning a job burdened by pressures so weighty that only others who have borne the mantle could possible understand.  As a consequence, the authors argue, the club of ex-Presidents rallies around the man in office regardless of political affiliation and we readers are left to understand that each President has fulfilled the office to the best of his ability and with the greater interests of the country always as his driving emotion.  Through this lens no President in this book did anything wrong or unconscionable.  Nixon meant well.  Johnson did the best he could on Vietnam.  Kennedy’s blunders in Cuba were minor.  Bush the younger’s war on Iraq was justified.  And all the ex-Presidents emerge, with time, as friendly, fatherly figures willing to assist in any way possible.  Funny, the only ex-Prez to come off poorly is Carter.  The man with perhaps the best post-Presidency press, Jimmy Carter, comes across as an egotistical loose-cannon as prone to do harm to international relations as he is to accomplish good.  This is a book for old people that can remember living through most of the events in the book, not worth the time, I wouldn’t think, for younger readers.