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11 Things You Didn't Know About U.S. Presidents

Posted: 04/25/2012 12:22 pm

The Presidents Club may be unofficial, but it is not a metaphor or a figure of speech: the fraternity of presidents has a history, rules, taboos, resentments, partnerships, days of mourning and thanksgiving. At a time of deep political division, the club is a place where members from both parties come together to get work done, rewrite their own histories, sometimes compete and squabble and fight--but also remind us of what political life can be.

Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy are the authors of The Presidents Club [Simon & Schuster, $35.50]

Hoover and Truman
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Truman secretly mailed a handwritten letter to Herbert Hoover in the spring of 1945, asking for his help with the humanitarian crisis in Europe as the war ended. He broke the news to the White House staff the next morning: "The president said he was going to tell us of something he had done last night on his own--and we might all throw bricks at him," press aide Eben Ayers recalled. But Truman knew that Hoover, an engineer before he was a president, was a great solver of complex problems, and proceeded in the next 18 months to send him on a 50,000 mile round the world tour, meeting with heads of state to distribute food to nations that faced famine.
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