Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump
By: Kate Andersen Brower
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
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 Carters, Donald Trump, and the top 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.”
This is not the first book I’ve read about the Presidents Club; it’s a fascinating piece of American politics and the fabric of the nation, of wht role former Presidents serve after they leave office. This book caught my attention as I was interested to read how much has changed–or stayed the same–with Trump becoming president, and his interaction with the Presidents Club. This is also not my first Kate Andersen Brower book, having read her book on the First Wives (review).