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After serving the highest office of American government, five men - Jimmy Carter, the late George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama - became members of the world’s most exclusive fraternity. In 'TEAM OF FIVE', Kate Andersen Brower goes beyond the White House to uncover what, exactly, comes after the presidency, offering a glimpse into the complex r After serving the highest office of American government, five men - Jimmy Carter, the late George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama - became members of the world’s most exclusive fraternity. In 'TEAM OF FIVE', Kate Andersen Brower goes beyond the White House to uncover what, exactly, comes after the presidency, offering a glimpse into the complex relationships of these five former presidents, and how each of these men views his place in a nation that has been upended by the Oval Office’s current, norm-breaking occupant, President Donald Trump. With an empathetic yet critical eye and firsthand testimony from the aides, friends, and family members of the five former presidents, 'TEAM OF FIVE' takes us inside the exclusive world of these powerful men and their families, including the unlikely friendship between George W. Bush and Michelle Obama, the last private visits Bill Clinton and Barack Obama shared with George H.W. Bush, and the Obamas’ flight to Palm Springs after Donald Trump’s inauguration. Perhaps most timely, this insightful, illuminating book overflows with anecdotes about how the ex-presidents are working to combat President Trump’s attempts to undo the achievements and hard work accomplished during their own terms. Perhaps most poignantly, 'TEAM OF FIVE' sheds light on the inherent loneliness and inevitable feelings of powerlessness and frustration that come with no longer being the most important person in the world, but a leader with only symbolic power. There are ways, though, that these men, and their wives, have become powerful political and cultural forces in American life, even as so-called “formers.” 'TEAM OF FIVE' includes 16 pages of color photographs for those choosing to read in book and/or kindle format. *PLEASE NOTE* (Audible listeners) When you purchase this title on Audible the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. RUNNING TIME ⇒ 9hrs. and 50mins. ©2020 Kate Andersen Brower (P)2020 HarperAudio


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After serving the highest office of American government, five men - Jimmy Carter, the late George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama - became members of the world’s most exclusive fraternity. In 'TEAM OF FIVE', Kate Andersen Brower goes beyond the White House to uncover what, exactly, comes after the presidency, offering a glimpse into the complex r After serving the highest office of American government, five men - Jimmy Carter, the late George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama - became members of the world’s most exclusive fraternity. In 'TEAM OF FIVE', Kate Andersen Brower goes beyond the White House to uncover what, exactly, comes after the presidency, offering a glimpse into the complex relationships of these five former presidents, and how each of these men views his place in a nation that has been upended by the Oval Office’s current, norm-breaking occupant, President Donald Trump. With an empathetic yet critical eye and firsthand testimony from the aides, friends, and family members of the five former presidents, 'TEAM OF FIVE' takes us inside the exclusive world of these powerful men and their families, including the unlikely friendship between George W. Bush and Michelle Obama, the last private visits Bill Clinton and Barack Obama shared with George H.W. Bush, and the Obamas’ flight to Palm Springs after Donald Trump’s inauguration. Perhaps most timely, this insightful, illuminating book overflows with anecdotes about how the ex-presidents are working to combat President Trump’s attempts to undo the achievements and hard work accomplished during their own terms. Perhaps most poignantly, 'TEAM OF FIVE' sheds light on the inherent loneliness and inevitable feelings of powerlessness and frustration that come with no longer being the most important person in the world, but a leader with only symbolic power. There are ways, though, that these men, and their wives, have become powerful political and cultural forces in American life, even as so-called “formers.” 'TEAM OF FIVE' includes 16 pages of color photographs for those choosing to read in book and/or kindle format. *PLEASE NOTE* (Audible listeners) When you purchase this title on Audible the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. RUNNING TIME ⇒ 9hrs. and 50mins. ©2020 Kate Andersen Brower (P)2020 HarperAudio

30 review for Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    In spite of having read the biographies or memoirs of all the five presidents and their wives, I found this book most interesting. The book is well written and researched. The author conducted interviews with all the parties involved. The majority of information was about their post presidential lives and their relationships with each other. I felt there was some bias against President Trump, but I felt the author went out of her way to point out positives about Trump and in particular his positi In spite of having read the biographies or memoirs of all the five presidents and their wives, I found this book most interesting. The book is well written and researched. The author conducted interviews with all the parties involved. The majority of information was about their post presidential lives and their relationships with each other. I felt there was some bias against President Trump, but I felt the author went out of her way to point out positives about Trump and in particular his positive relationships with White House servants and his grandchildren. Brower points out that in an interview Trump stated he will not be a part of the “President Club” as his role is to be a different type of president. Brower pointed out that none of the prior presidents have broken the rule to speak out against a sitting president. I noted the excellent relationship between the Bush, Clinton and Obama families, but the Carters were on the outside. Brower spent some time with the Carters and their humanitarian work with their foundation. Brower covers which president asked prior presidents to help out and how they did their jobs. If you have never read about these presidents, this is a good overview of them and how they have risen above politics. Overall, an excellent read. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is nine hours and fifty minutes. Erin Bennett does an excellent job narrating the book. Bennett is an actress and voice-over artist. She has won many Earphone Awards and has been nominated for the Audie Award.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Audiobook... narrated by Erin Bennett Jimmy Carter, the late George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama—“became members of the world’s most exclusive fraternity”. These old farts unite.....( wish the rest of our country would take a lesson). I was moved & touched ... Sometimes funny, too! I enjoyed being-‘a-fly-on-the-wall’, audio-listener. This book was just what I hoped for - personal, interesting. It’s a great antidote to our current events. God bless us... May we please see Audiobook... narrated by Erin Bennett Jimmy Carter, the late George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama—“became members of the world’s most exclusive fraternity”. These old farts unite.....( wish the rest of our country would take a lesson). I was moved & touched ... Sometimes funny, too! I enjoyed being-‘a-fly-on-the-wall’, audio-listener. This book was just what I hoped for - personal, interesting. It’s a great antidote to our current events. God bless us... May we please see peace on our streets!!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Always one to flock towards something political, especially as I prepare for my ‘election-related book reading’ binge, I turned my attention to this piece by Kate Anderson Brower. The premise of the book is quite intriguing, an analysis of that elusive club of past US presidents in the Age of the current POTUS. Brower uses the early part of the book to lay out some of the unwritten ground rules the club has, things that each member ought to do (or not do) to keep themselves in good standing. Thi Always one to flock towards something political, especially as I prepare for my ‘election-related book reading’ binge, I turned my attention to this piece by Kate Anderson Brower. The premise of the book is quite intriguing, an analysis of that elusive club of past US presidents in the Age of the current POTUS. Brower uses the early part of the book to lay out some of the unwritten ground rules the club has, things that each member ought to do (or not do) to keep themselves in good standing. This includes not being overly critical of the sitting president in a public forum, respecting the role of the office, and engaging in at least cordial behaviour when gathering for public events, whatever those might be. While the book uses the most recent group of five living presidents at the time of the 2016 election—Carter, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama—there is a great deal of discussion about other groups over the years and how they interacted with one another. This contrast becomes important throughout the book, but also adds some additional flavour to an already interesting topic. Brower highlights that there have been a number of unexpected friendships that grew out of being a part of this club, even men who were sworn enemies at one time (when they clashed in elections) but have come to grow close, such as the Carter-Ford, Bush 41-Clinton, and Bush 43-Obama connections. While the relationships may have been unexpected, there was always the thread of statesmanship and respect that helped to foster these ties. Brower extrapolates her exploration to include First Ladies as well, some of whom have been as warm to one another as their husbands. All of the players herein receive their own peppered biographies and the connections enrich the larger narrative as the reader can see just how integral the cohesiveness of the club mentality is to success. Surprisingly, there is one standout member of the club, one who seems to be less within the fold than simply accepted because his credentials match the threshold for entry. Jimmy Carter has been quite outspoken about all the others who followed him and made no qualms about voicing his concerns and criticisms. This is surprising for the man I always thought of as the affable farmer, but it seems he really does rub people the wrong way. The reader need look no further than the cover photo for the book to see how he is outside the visual collective of the others. While the Carter distancing finds itself a part of the book throughout, it is an interesting foreboding to the second underlying theme of the book, what the next club member (current POTUS) has been doing in relation to those who await his arrival. It is there that things get even more interesting. There is no doubt that President Trump has made it his mission to speak his mind, no matter then consequences. His Tweets, public comments, and rousing conspiracies have been a part of his persona for many years. Brower depicts this and doesn’t pull any punches as she analyses how this plays into the foundational rules of the Presidents’ Club. Trump has targeted all of his predecessors as being wrong, poor leaders, or completely unfit at one point or another. His slanderous comments far surpass anything even the outsider Jimmy Carter may have said over the past four decades. That Trump is tearing down those who have come before him, serving the American public, is quite telling and Brower makes the argument that it could topple the strength of the club as soon as January 20, 2021 when there could be a new POTUS sworn-in. That he has no shame in attacking others does not surprise any of the other men who are part of the club, though Brower highlights just how they feel about the current US Administration. There is no love loss between club members and their next inductee, though I am not sure Trump cares all that much. His scorched earth policy of ruining anything that does not make him look amazing has surely been effective in keeping America from being great, as Brower effectively argues, though what it will do for the club remains a mystery. Never has a sitting president offered up so much negativity towards those who served before him and rarely have members of the club been so vocal in their critiques. Whatever does happen, it will surely be worth watching, as the country teeters. A great piece that mixes presidential biographies with a biography of the presidency. Kate Anderson Brower offers a refreshing look at one of the most exclusive groups in the world. Recommended to those who love presidential biographies, as well as the reader interested in some investigative journalism and analysis. I am always interested in seeing some of the sentiments that emerge from these Wizards of American Oz, particularly when one can peek behind the curtain and get the honest truth. Brower uses a great writing style to present a thorough backstory of the five men being discussed at length herein, as well as some added anecdotes about other past members of the club who have died. She offers what seems like a well-rounded approach, with strong comparisons to other times the club has been this large, though there were also times when only one or two past presidents lived, their sage advice much harder to garner. Brower offers up much in the way of background research within this piece, using past aides, White House employees, and even the actual actors (presidents and First Ladies themselves) to guide the narrative offer something more impactful than even I could have expected. Things flowed really well and Brower organizes herself in such a way that the reader cannot help but want to know more. There are some truly touching moments that show the compassion of these men towards one another—particularly when speaking of attending funerals for past presidents—as well as a true frigidity between them during major policy clashes, even if a buttoned lip remained the order of the day. The attention to detail is fabulous and Brower begs the reader to pay attention so that she can present some raw truths and scandalous sentiments about how these former presidents feel the Republic is faring. The thoroughly documented chapters offer the reader a great deal of information, though could be a great launching point for more research, should the keen reader wish to do so. If there is one thing that I took away from this book, it is that since January 20, 2017, America has lost its lustre and there is a need to look to its past to truly find its displaced greatness. Whether it will find its way is one thing, but one can be sure that the Presidents’ Club is surely never to live up to its past greatness for a number of years. That is perhaps the most disheartening thing of all! Kudos, Madam Brower, for educating and entertaining me so much as I made my way through your book. I cannot wait to see what else you’ve penned, as I am sure to take something away from it as well! Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    This was a fun read! I didn't think it would be, but I enjoyed it. The author covered the relationships between these five men, as well as the oil and water aspect that has existed (and may still) between some of them, and how for most the relationships changed after they left office. Also discussed was the non-relationship they have (and are surprised, because it has been traditional for a relationship to continue to float between former and current POTUS(es?) with the current office holder. Any This was a fun read! I didn't think it would be, but I enjoyed it. The author covered the relationships between these five men, as well as the oil and water aspect that has existed (and may still) between some of them, and how for most the relationships changed after they left office. Also discussed was the non-relationship they have (and are surprised, because it has been traditional for a relationship to continue to float between former and current POTUS(es?) with the current office holder. Anyway, the focus is on the formers and their families. Overall, the book gave me a feeling of comfort, because I'd like our formers to play well together. We've invested a helluva lot of money in them and their families, and they have such a unique information and data set in their heads, hearts and spirits. They can truly be agents for positive change in our country and others. All have the potential to be ambassadors of goodwill, of warning, of encouragement, of motivation, and for the most part, this book shows they are mostly striving in that direction. Of course, there is always the other side of the coin and I am grateful the author doesn't spend a lot of time on that - we are quickly helped to that side of anyone's profile with one click of the mouse. That's about all I'm willing to lay out there, since feelings are high these days. I enjoyed this book, it helped me rein back the dark clouds, wicked bats and actual loss of senses. 4 stars, for team spirit. VOTE! Make your choice based on what is most important to you. It really matters.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    Kate Andersen Brower, author of “Team of Five: The Presidents’ Club in the Age of Trump”, has written one of the best books on America and our politics I’ve read in the past four years. She begins by introducing the reader to the So-called “Presidents’ Club”, a loose fraternity of America’s living former presidents, who have become friends and admirers of each other after they leave office. And this affinity transcends political party; both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are best pals with the la Kate Andersen Brower, author of “Team of Five: The Presidents’ Club in the Age of Trump”, has written one of the best books on America and our politics I’ve read in the past four years. She begins by introducing the reader to the So-called “Presidents’ Club”, a loose fraternity of America’s living former presidents, who have become friends and admirers of each other after they leave office. And this affinity transcends political party; both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are best pals with the late Bush 41 and son Bush 43. Jimmy Carter seems to be the same wild card he was while in office. A fabulous picture taken during Obama’s term shows the four men -the Bushes, Clinton, and Obama - standing together, laughing, while a half smiling Carter stands a bit off, not really part of that famous “in group”. But where does Donald Trump fit into this “fraternity”? Brower’s book is not written with malice about our current president and his position in the ex-presidents’ group. She interviewed him a few times along with her other interviews of former presidents, but I think she believes he does not want to be in the world’s most exclusive club. He shows little regard for those men who came before and has stated that he will not use, or even ask for advice from those have gone before him. He’s out of the club before was even asked to be in it. The job of President of the US is an extremely tough job, and, as the former presidents point out, the one job the current office holder sometimes needs advice and solace from those who’ve gone before. Andersen Brower has written a superb book that any political junkie will adore.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cara Putman

    An utterly fascinating look at the relationships between presidents and former presidents. I really enjoyed this look into the historical and current relationships. The author includes chapters on the first ladies and children as well. My history and poli sci loving mind inhaled this book -- and it's almost ten hours of audio. An utterly fascinating look at the relationships between presidents and former presidents. I really enjoyed this look into the historical and current relationships. The author includes chapters on the first ladies and children as well. My history and poli sci loving mind inhaled this book -- and it's almost ten hours of audio.

  7. 5 out of 5

    M. [storme reads a lot]

    This book was so interesting! I loved it, and I learned a lot. I miss Obama, and I super extra hate Trump now.

  8. 5 out of 5

    HR-ML

    The author focused on former Presidents : Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush (before his death), Bill Clinton, George W. Bush & Barak Obama. All members of the President's Club. Jimmy Carter seemed to be the least popular b/c he was perceived by the 4 others as a know-it-all & involved post-POTUS in foreign affairs w/o at times contacting the State Dept 1st. Author indicated ex-POTUS followed these unwritten rules 1) honor a shared history 2) respect the office and one another 3) avoid criticizing a s The author focused on former Presidents : Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush (before his death), Bill Clinton, George W. Bush & Barak Obama. All members of the President's Club. Jimmy Carter seemed to be the least popular b/c he was perceived by the 4 others as a know-it-all & involved post-POTUS in foreign affairs w/o at times contacting the State Dept 1st. Author indicated ex-POTUS followed these unwritten rules 1) honor a shared history 2) respect the office and one another 3) avoid criticizing a sitting POTUS at all costs 4) don't be too proud to ask for help 5) unite in tragedy & 6) come together for celebrations 7) treasure the White House & 8) give back 9) family comes 1st. She noted Ex-POTUS who clashed and eventually became friends IE Ford and Carter. And Ex-POTUS of opposing parties who fund raised for Katrina relief etc Geo. H. W. & Bill who grew to be a nearly father and son role. H.W. did not hold grudges, per the author. She also mentioned the POV of the First Ladies & singled out Laura Bush for her gracious ways. White House perm- anent staff ie butlers, florists, shared their observations. George W. received kudos for his HIV/ AIDS prevention wk in African countries & Jimmy for his work in innoculation programs in 3rd World Countries & conflict resolution and monitor function of free elections (via the Carter Center). The author mentioned that Trump relied briefly on Pres. Carter for expertise, but then mostly went it alone. She did not seem keen on Trump's confrontational approach. However the permanent WH staff reportedly saw a softer side of Trump. Read x 1.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This book was fascinating! A timely reminder of how important the peaceful transfer of power is to our democracy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pearl

    It’s okay. Not awful. Not tabloid stuff. But not much new information or not very exciting or revelatory. If anyone follows news about the various Presidents at all, they’ve read or heard some version of the stories that Brower recounts. Her sources, she tells us, include hundreds of interviews she did with the five in the “club” (more about the club later), plus one interview with Trump who is not yet in the club and never likely to be, interviews with their wives, with their staffs, and with c It’s okay. Not awful. Not tabloid stuff. But not much new information or not very exciting or revelatory. If anyone follows news about the various Presidents at all, they’ve read or heard some version of the stories that Brower recounts. Her sources, she tells us, include hundreds of interviews she did with the five in the “club” (more about the club later), plus one interview with Trump who is not yet in the club and never likely to be, interviews with their wives, with their staffs, and with close friends and associates. Nonetheless most of the book reads like articles from “People” magazine or some other similar source. Familiar stuff, competently told, but not really any analysis. This doesn’t mean the book is not interesting. It’s mildly so. Brower moves back and forth among the five and their wives in order to show us how each President dealt with leaving office, with what they have done in their post-Presidency, with what friendships have or have not formed among and between them, how very much they all miss the Presidency and regret having had to leave it, except for George W., and the enormous respect they all had and continue to have for the office. (Note: Trump is not one of the five.) Whether they are a club at all seems questionable. They don’t meet regularly; they don’t really socialize; but they do honor unwritten rules (chiefly, don’t criticize a sitting President, don’t comment on his policies). At least most of them do. Jimmy Carter famously doesn’t, much to the irritation of the others. Brower recounts the much written about friendship that developed between Presidents Clinton and George H. Bush as well as some that are not quite so familiar, such as the one between Nancy Reagan and Jackie Kennedy, and the admiration that President Obama had for President George H. Bush. Michelle’s friendship is with the son. They both have an irreverent sense of humor. The most poignant story of friendship, I thought, was the one between the Johnsons and the George H. Bush. Although they were both Texans, they came from different political parties and different social classes. But at President George H. Bush’s funeral, Brower recounts how Lynda Bird Johnson wept remembering the kindness he had shown to her father. For the most part Brower seems even-handed in her treatment of the Presidents, although I’d say she likes Bush, the elder, the best. She’s fairly critical of how quickly the various Presidents tried to accumulate wealth after they left office, especially of President Clinton. Bush (41) and Carter were notable exceptions. Bush, of course, didn’t need to, and Carter almost immediately got busy with humanitarian efforts. Kind of ironically, he and Rosalyn are the most bitter club members. Besides the five: Carter, Bush (41), Clinton, Bush (43), and Obama, Brower interweaves some stories about Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Ford, and Truman. She also mentions that John Quincy Adams was the first and last President to serve in Congress after leaving office. I guess both she and her editors forgot Andrew Johnson. The title, I think, it somewhat misleading. The club doesn’t seem to have been much influenced, if at all, by existing in the age of Trump. True, some of them have broken the unwritten rule of not criticizing a sitting President, but it’s not a big feature of the book. None of them seems to have any relationship with the current President and Laura Bush, Brower says, is the only former First Lady to have any relationship at all with Melania Trump. And as for Trump, Brower says he recognizes that he is very unlikely to be a member of the club and says he doesn’t care.

  11. 4 out of 5

    MaryAnn

    The comparison of these five good men to the current occupant of the WH is stunning.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gary Anderson

    Author Kate Andersen Brower examines the nature of the post-presidency with a specific focus on the four living ex-presidents (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama), as well as George H. W. Bush who died in 2018 as this book was being prepared. Brower delves into the presidents’ relationships with each other and with the incumbent Donald Trump. Trump was interviewed for the book and freely admits that he doesn’t have much use for the ex-presidents and he doesn’t expect to Author Kate Andersen Brower examines the nature of the post-presidency with a specific focus on the four living ex-presidents (Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama), as well as George H. W. Bush who died in 2018 as this book was being prepared. Brower delves into the presidents’ relationships with each other and with the incumbent Donald Trump. Trump was interviewed for the book and freely admits that he doesn’t have much use for the ex-presidents and he doesn’t expect to be in touch with them after leaving office. Much of the book comes from previously published sources, but Brower’s interviews with Trump, Jimmy Carter, presidential family members, and former members of several administrations generate fascinating stories about what happens when presidents collide or cooperate.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Halli

    Another fantastic book by Andersen Brower. Appreciate the humanitarian view of the past Presidents. Barring this last one.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kolumbina

    An interesting book. Lots of history and interesting facts. Considering the current stage in American election, now was the best time to read this book. Well written, great!

  15. 4 out of 5

    ShirleyS

    This is a look at how the living ex-presidents lives intertwine. It is soothing to read about especially with all the craziness going on now. But I doubt that Trump will ever fit into their little group.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir

    In her latest political work, TEAM OF FIVE, Kate Andersen Brower identifies several areas of presidential life that occur in all tenures of the five men on this team. After the death of George H. W. Bush in 2018, four remain in the exclusive Presidents Club: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The book crisscrosses their lives and experiences against the backdrop of our current president, Donald Trump, and his self-created loner status. Brower begins an exploration of the T In her latest political work, TEAM OF FIVE, Kate Andersen Brower identifies several areas of presidential life that occur in all tenures of the five men on this team. After the death of George H. W. Bush in 2018, four remain in the exclusive Presidents Club: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The book crisscrosses their lives and experiences against the backdrop of our current president, Donald Trump, and his self-created loner status. Brower begins an exploration of the Team of Five with a Trump interview in the Oval Office in the spring of 2019, a meeting that was surprisingly easy to arrange. She describes as “surreal” one moment in particular: the accidental showing of a top-secret letter from North Korean president Kim Jong-un. The document was handed to her along with a typed list of things he has accomplished while in office. He asked her more than once what she was writing. In her last questions, Brower asked if being president gave him more empathy and understanding for the men who served before him. “No, not really” was his reply. There are 11 chapters, each one illuminating an aspect of how the Presidents Club functions, and Brower contrasts Trump’s actions and statements with those of his predecessors. In “The Unwritten Rules of the Club,” she explains a relatively new tradition that began with Ronald Reagan for the outgoing president to leave a letter in the top drawer of the Resolute desk for the incoming president. She included lines from several, and writes that the new president has always kept the letter private while in office. It was meant to be used as a buoy representing his predecessor’s support and good wishes. After eight months, however, Trump revealed the handwritten note left by Obama and even showed it to White House visitors. He called it “long” and “complex,” and thought it must have taken him quite a while to write. In his letter, Obama includes a request to Trump to be kind, something not found in other correspondences between presidents. He said, “We’ve both been blessed…. Not everyone is so lucky.” He then wishes Trump and Melania good luck and offers to help him in any way. By showing this message of promise to others so cavalierly, Trump broke an unwritten rule, perhaps seemingly minor, but one that provoked annoyance and added fuel to Trump’s “flamethrowing” reputation. In “Unexpected Friendships,” Brower focuses on connections made between some of the men after they leave office. Of course, some rifts and harsh words are never forgotten. Richard Nixon was famously trying to rewrite history until the last days of his life, and never forgave the enemies he created during his career. However, Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush developed a loving relationship despite their political polarities, in large part because of George W. Bush. He paired up his dad and Clinton to do humanitarian work together, and the two clicked. Clinton admired Bush’s patrician manner and ease of wisdom and humor; Barbara Bush especially liked Clinton’s saxophone-playing celebrity and style. This deep appreciation of one another gave both much pleasure. Speculating for future days, Brower asks Trump if he foresees a friendship rekindling with Clinton. As background, both Hillary and Bill Clinton attended Trump and Melania’s wedding several years ago, and the two men had golfed together and been part of the New York City social scene. Trump said it would not be likely. This reaction underscores his breaking with the protocol of the Presidents Club, acknowledging that he said and did things to both Clintons that could not be forgotten. Other chapters are equally rich and interesting. “First Ladies Circle” introduces the strong women who are married to ambitious men, and how they welcomed the incoming First Lady and helped her assimilate into the White House culture. Each woman created a family home maintaining privacy in very different ways, and Melania is doing so as well. How each president handled the change (or release!) from being the most powerful man in the world to ordinary citizen is detailed in the chapter “Hangover.” There are huge differences in the transitions, of course, and Brower effectively uses her multiple interviews and resources to show the background stories and the expectations. It was easier for some than others. Putting together the many pieces of each man’s words and actions from the separate chapters and reconstructing them into a full character was rewarding. As one example, Jimmy Carter has become a productive, inspirational leader in the almost 40 years since he left 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in deep despair over the Iranian hostage situation. Through deep reflection and hard work, he and Rosalynn, his wife of 74 years, have devoted their lives to improving America. He was the outsider to Washington in the 1970s and in many ways is still an outlier: he has been critical of a sitting president (another of the unwritten rules) and done other negative things. However, Brower believes that public opinion has softened toward him. There are no breaking-news kinds of stories here. After all, the presidents’ foibles and successes have been documented in every conceivable way throughout their tenure in office, and we already should be aware of many pieces of our history. The joy of TEAM OF FIVE comes in Brower making connections among these five men and showing that their love for America was greater than their personal differences. The sadness for the country comes in the current president’s almost-certain exclusion. Brower asks Trump how he will fit into this group, and he shakes his head. “I don’t think I fit very well.” Reviewed by Jane Krebs

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    5 Stars!!! This was a much more intimate peek at our former presidents than we typically know. It's fascinating to learn about them as humans and about their relationships with others. To me, that's something equally important as their leadership and politics. 5 Stars!!! This was a much more intimate peek at our former presidents than we typically know. It's fascinating to learn about them as humans and about their relationships with others. To me, that's something equally important as their leadership and politics.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Darcy

    I randomly ran across this on my library's website, just the cover picture intrigued me so I put a hold on it. I was suprised at how much this one pulled me in from the start and really made my work day go fast as I listened to it. It's true that being a former President is a small club, never really thought about it much, so I liked how this book laid things out, like how it talked about all of the Presidents that are currently alive (even Bush one a lot and some about Regan) and even some past I randomly ran across this on my library's website, just the cover picture intrigued me so I put a hold on it. I was suprised at how much this one pulled me in from the start and really made my work day go fast as I listened to it. It's true that being a former President is a small club, never really thought about it much, so I liked how this book laid things out, like how it talked about all of the Presidents that are currently alive (even Bush one a lot and some about Regan) and even some past Presidents. It's interesting that despite being on different parties some of them have a very close relationship. Sure it didn't happen over night, as there were bruised feeling immediately after an election happened and how the "old" President felt about the "new" President using them or not using them. It does seem though that now they all can agree on one thing and that is a big dislike for Trump. It will be interesting to see if he is welcomed in this ultra elite club when he is no longer President, no matter when that is.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Mace

    What a great book!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cathryn Conroy

    It's totally informal and the all-important rules are unwritten, but there is no more powerful or prestigious club on Earth than the "Presidents Club," one whose members all previously served in the Oval Office. Perhaps, the most important of those unwritten rules is not to publicly criticize other presidents, past or current. The club itself is based on the premise that only those who have served as president fully comprehend how lonely and terrifying it is to hold such great responsibility. An It's totally informal and the all-important rules are unwritten, but there is no more powerful or prestigious club on Earth than the "Presidents Club," one whose members all previously served in the Oval Office. Perhaps, the most important of those unwritten rules is not to publicly criticize other presidents, past or current. The club itself is based on the premise that only those who have served as president fully comprehend how lonely and terrifying it is to hold such great responsibility. And so no matter the political party, the men who have come before feel morally obligated to offer each other their absolute support and respect. And now that has changed—dramatically and with great rancor—with the presidency of Donald J. Trump. This highly readable and absolutely captivating book by presidential expert Kate Andersen Brower spills some of the secrets of the Presidents Club, including all the unwritten rules, as well as dishing on the most unlikely but truly genuine friendships that formed post-presidency across party lines: Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter; Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush; and George W. Bush and Michelle Obama. Find out what it was like for each president and his family since Richard Nixon to leave the White House, how they spend their time after their terms end, and their hopes for our country in the age of Trump. Perhaps most shockingly, the book reveals how the four living former presidents are interacting with Trump and they with him. To put it bluntly: For the first time in recent history, the current president has basically shunned his predecessors. He has not sought their advice, assistance, or help. Instead, he posts denigrating, meanspirited messages about them on social media. And what do those in this most rarefied of clubs think of Trump? Brower offers the inside scoop on what each living former president privately thinks of No. 45—and it's fascinating! This is the rarest of nonfiction books: It's a real page turner!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This is a book about the former presidents. It is mainly about the five most recent presidents: Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Oh, and President Trump. The author writes about the presidents' experiences as they change from being in the spotlight to becoming a private citizen again. She talks about unwritten rules of the club, such as not badmouthing the current president, despite the temptations, and coming together in times of national tragedy s This is a book about the former presidents. It is mainly about the five most recent presidents: Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Oh, and President Trump. The author writes about the presidents' experiences as they change from being in the spotlight to becoming a private citizen again. She talks about unwritten rules of the club, such as not badmouthing the current president, despite the temptations, and coming together in times of national tragedy such as 09/11. She also writes about the joys of unexpected friendships between George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton and that of Michelle Obama and George W. Bush. I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was interesting to see what happened when the Obamas left after the inauguration of President Trump, for example. She also writes about some of the other presidents, though very fleetingly such as Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon Johnson. It was intriguing to see how the presidents came together, despite party affiliation, to respond to some of Trump's actions such as the separation of immigrants from their children. Also it was thought-provoking to read how former presidents travel overseas to visit countries, not just because they want to, but because a sitting president has asked them to do some diplomacy work for them. I had no idea that was how it worked. Also there was a small tidbit tucked aside about President Obama and Vice President Biden near the end of the book that was probably meaningless before the 2020 election. The tidbit was about Russian intelligence and the 2016 election. Now going into the 202o election, that tidbit of information is suddenly very valuable stuff. Anyway, I won't spoil the book, but suffice it to say that this was really interesting and neither boring nor dull.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Scott Martin

    (Audiobook) This work takes a look at perhaps the most exclusive of clubs in the US, the former Presidents' Club. At present, there are only 4 living former Presidents. When Brower started this work, she had 5 to work with (the 41st President, George H. Bush, passed away in 2018). She primarily focuses on Carter, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama, taking a look at how they see life outside the Oval Office and how they view their unofficial roles as former Presidents. Using various sources, Brower is ab (Audiobook) This work takes a look at perhaps the most exclusive of clubs in the US, the former Presidents' Club. At present, there are only 4 living former Presidents. When Brower started this work, she had 5 to work with (the 41st President, George H. Bush, passed away in 2018). She primarily focuses on Carter, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama, taking a look at how they see life outside the Oval Office and how they view their unofficial roles as former Presidents. Using various sources, Brower is able to convey what their lives are like, what they think of each other and how they view their former office (especially when others sit in the chair). There is an elements of gossipy-ness with this group, and their opinions of each other can vary over time and actions. They respect one another, but they don't always like each other all the time. Didn't realize that Carter was seen as the pain-in-the-ass type, but he always had the mantle of the outsider, and he his is own man. It is arguable that he had the most successful post-presidency of his peers, due to time and how his tenure in office ended. It will be curious to see what happens with Obama in the years ahead. Of course, you can't discuss the presidency without mentioning the current occupant, Trump. For a man (Trump) who expends a great deal of energy trashing his predecessors, especially Obama, it is no surprise that he don't have much of a relationship with his predecessors. Consequently, his predecessors don't have a great opinion of the man. With the 2020 campaign ramping up, and with Obama being outspoken about Trump and campaigning for his former VP Biden, that relationship will continue to sour. When Trump is out of office, it will be interesting to see if Trump and the other former presidents interact beyond any perfunctory meetings at a funeral or some other major event. The reader does a good job with the material, but I think the rating is the same no matter what variant you use. Very engaging, and one for any who like to read about the Presidents, past and present.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Temple Dog

    Kate Brower’s Team of Five is a casual read. She takes a pedestrian path to convey the civilian lives of Carter, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama. It’s no Team of Rivals, either in its gravitas nor in its revelations. No spoilers, no scandals just the consistent refrain that the members of the President’s Club have the unwritten rule that there should be only one president at a time. This moral code prevents them from speaking out against any sitting president. Brower outlines how each Preside Kate Brower’s Team of Five is a casual read. She takes a pedestrian path to convey the civilian lives of Carter, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama. It’s no Team of Rivals, either in its gravitas nor in its revelations. No spoilers, no scandals just the consistent refrain that the members of the President’s Club have the unwritten rule that there should be only one president at a time. This moral code prevents them from speaking out against any sitting president. Brower outlines how each President has chartered their post presidency course to be prolific authors as in Carter’s case or rake in millions on the speaker circuit as in Clinton’s case. But, the most fascinating aspects of the book are the friendships that have developed between supposed rivals. Much has been said about the Bush 41 and Clinton friendship. But, the genuine respect and mutual admiration between Bush 41 and Obama was so tender and gave me hope for our future. Two men who had little in common, but who recognized that they had much to share. This is the value of the President’s Club. Team of Five is the perfect summer read. It’s not particularly challenging but will occasionally bring a smile to your face. TD is neutral.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Angela Pineda

    This was a really interesting listen (though the narrator wasn’t my favorite). I enjoyed hearing the stories of the former POTUS and FLOTUS in the White House, their friendships afterwards, and how life is different for them post presidency. The title is a little misleading in my opinion, because 95% of the book doesn’t focus on Trump - or how he won’t fit into the Presidents club when his presidency is over. There was a lot of history and factoids in this book, so it’s made me eager to read oth This was a really interesting listen (though the narrator wasn’t my favorite). I enjoyed hearing the stories of the former POTUS and FLOTUS in the White House, their friendships afterwards, and how life is different for them post presidency. The title is a little misleading in my opinion, because 95% of the book doesn’t focus on Trump - or how he won’t fit into the Presidents club when his presidency is over. There was a lot of history and factoids in this book, so it’s made me eager to read other bios, memoirs from history books about former occupants of the White House. I think the authors work is deeply researched, as she references various stories and facts that I remember reading recently (including stories Michelle Obama wrote in her memoir Becoming). If you like history, this would be a good listen/read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mitzi

    If you enjoy the human side of Presidential history, as opposed to the policy angle, this book is for you. This book hi-lights the post-Presidential relationships between Jimmy Carter, Georg H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.....with a bit of Nixon, Ford, and Reagan thrown in for good measure. Based on the text, the author was a huge fan of George Sr. as most of the anecdotes circle back to him. Very good read during this Election Year!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chhavi

    I read the first chapter and the words and sentences used by this author show an absolute and blatant and overt hatred for President Trump. She hated him even before she interviewed him. This is not an objective book, it is just a steaming pile of crap created to capitalize on the liberal left leaning media types who hate President Trump and are lauded by the others in the same worthless media who are STILL busy licking Emperor Obama's rectum and are now spewing the same excrement that came out I read the first chapter and the words and sentences used by this author show an absolute and blatant and overt hatred for President Trump. She hated him even before she interviewed him. This is not an objective book, it is just a steaming pile of crap created to capitalize on the liberal left leaning media types who hate President Trump and are lauded by the others in the same worthless media who are STILL busy licking Emperor Obama's rectum and are now spewing the same excrement that came out of his mouth for 8 years. I am not going to throw this book in the garbage where it belongs, but I'm going to keep it handy. If I run out of toilet paper, I will have the perfect use for the pages of this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I was really impressed with this book that focused on the lives of Presidents AFTER they leave office. I learned a lot about the relationships the former Presidents have with one another and how those relationships very often cross party lines. While the book had an underlying theme of how the Presidents Club has functioned with Donald Trump in the White House, I was glad that his Presidency wasn't the main focus of the book. I was really impressed with this book that focused on the lives of Presidents AFTER they leave office. I learned a lot about the relationships the former Presidents have with one another and how those relationships very often cross party lines. While the book had an underlying theme of how the Presidents Club has functioned with Donald Trump in the White House, I was glad that his Presidency wasn't the main focus of the book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Csparrenberger

    This book is a series of stories about the former presidents. Some are interesting, and some are not. The wild card here is: how will Donald Trump fit into this exclusive group? I felt that George H. W. Bush got a disproportionate amount of coverage from the author and could do no wrong in the author’s eyes.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Mcbroom

    Brower delves into the so called President Club and uncovers likeley and unlikely friendships between politicians.

  30. 4 out of 5

    LeAnne

    Excellent read.

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