In the current edition of Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, Time editors Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy discuss their new book, The Presidents Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity. The book explores the relationship in the modern era between the president and living ex-presidents as well as the ties that bind them all.
The existence of a presidents club as Gibbs and Duffy conceive it depends on living ex-presidents. There was a brief time, if I am not mistaken, after Lyndon Johnson died in January 1973, when we had no living ex-presidents and therefore no presidents club. By the same token, Janet Maslin notes in her review of the book in the Times: “There wasn’t much collaboration among the ex-presidents when [Jimmy] Carter was in office, as Kennedy, Eisenhower, Truman and Johnson were gone.” At the moment we are relatively rich with living ex-presidents. I pray that Barack Obama will increase their number next January. Gibbs and Duffy have in any event seized the moment.
This is an interesting interview, running nearly a full hour. Please take the time today or over the weekend to check it out.