The Presidents Club

Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity

The Presidents Club

Read by: Bob Walter
  • 1
The bestselling authors of The Preacher and the Presidents return with a riveting new history of the private relationships among the last thirteen presidents, uncovering and exploring the partnerships, private deals, rescue missions, and rivalries of those few men who served as commander in chief.

The Presidents Club was born at Eisenhower’s inauguration when Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover first conceived the idea. Over the years that followed—and to this day—the presidents relied on, misunderstood, sabotaged, and formed alliances with one another that changed history. The world’s most exclusive fraternity is a complicated place: its members are bound forever because they sat in the Oval Office and know its secrets, yet they are immortal rivals for history’s favor.  

Some presidents needed their predecessors to keep their secrets; others needed them to disappear. Most just needed help getting the job done. Truman enlisted Hoover to help him save Europe; Kennedy turned to Ike on Cuba; Nixon sought Johnson’s advice on getting reelected, but then tried to blackmail him; Ford and Carter couldn’t stand each other until they saw what they had in common; Reagan and Clinton relied on Nixon as an off-the-books emissary to Russia; Bush put Clinton and his father to work and they became like father and son; and Obama and Clinton became quiet rivals for the same crown.  

Journalists and presidential historians Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy unravel the secret compacts, the shared scars, and the private cease-fires from Hoover to Obama. The Presidents Club will change the way we think about the presidency, for the club itself is an instrument of presidential power.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • 2 disks | 
  • ISBN 9781442362901 | 
  • December 2012
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Presidents Club includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Backroom deals, secret alliances, bitter rivalries—these are just a few of the facets of what is perhaps the most important fraternity in American History. Bound by experience and the singular weight of holding supreme office, this club of former and current presidents has, in one way or another, acted as a secret and impactful instrument on the course of American—and world—history. Time editors Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy put these complicated relationships, from Truman and Hoover’s truce at Eisenhower’s inauguration to Clinton and Obama’s touchy modern relationship, under the ultimate lens, revealing the ways in which presidents in office must rely, sometimes against their will, on those few men who have sat in the same seat.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. List and discuss the most unlikely relationships in the Presidents Club. Who reached farthest across the aisle? Why are former and current presidents so likely to work together, even when their policies and pe see more

About the Authors

Nancy Gibbs
Photograph by Javier Sirvent

Nancy Gibbs

Nancy Gibbs is the deputy managing editor of Time magazine and coauthor with Michael Duffy of the New York Times bestseller The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House.

Michael Duffy
Photograph by Javier Sirvent

Michael Duffy

Michael Duffy is Time’s executive editor and Washington bureau chief and directs coverage of presidents, politics, and national affairs for the magazine.