Uncommon Knowledge with Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy

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.