I’ve always been interested in Presidential history. One of the earliest books I read about the presidency or the White House was a book by a former White House usher, Upstairs at the White House which provided a view of how the White House was run and behind the scenes of taking care of the president’s family. So when I heard a book about what is informally called “The President’s Club” was coming out, I knew I had to read it.
In 1953, when President Eisenhower was sworn in, Herbert Hoover suggested to Harry Truman that they form a President’s club. Yet the foundation for this “club” had already been built when Truman worked to bring Hoover back into public life after Truman took office. For twelve years during FDR’s three terms, Hoover had never been invited to the White House and was essentially ignored. Roosevelt had even gone so far as to rename the Hoover Dam “Boulder Dam” because of his dislike of Hoover. Seeing how Truman worked to bring Hoover back into public life, how he assigned Hoover the task of setting up food aid for the millions of starving people in Europe after World War 2 makes me respect Truman even more than I already did.
I haven’t finished the book yet; I just finished the section on Richard Nixon’s torpedoing of the Paris peace talks in 1968 just before the presidential election so that Hubert Humphrey wouldn’t win the election. It’s amazing to me that Johnson never told the country what Nixon and his people did because he knew that the presidency was more important than destroying Nixon (who ended up destroying himself without any help from Johnson).
If you’re interested in history like I am or if you’re interested in the presidency, read this book. I will have to say that it has given me insight into how many more things can be accomplished when politicians work together rather than against each other.
The President’s Club