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Fraternity: A Journey in Search of Five Presidents
Synopses & Reviews
“What if you set off on a vacation trip in search of history—and your destination was the men who had been president?”
Asking himself that tantalizing question, bestselling author and award-winning journalist Bob Greene embarked on a long journey across the breadth of the nation, hoping to spend time with Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George Bush and Ronald Reagan. The result of his odyssey is Fraternity.
Rich with the sounds of the presidents’ own voices, Fraternity is dramatic, surprising, funny, revealing, inspiring, tragic, touching and unforgettable: a story destined to be read and enjoyed not just now, but far into the future as Americans think about who we are as a people.
Here is Nixon, in an unmarked office high above Manhattan, explaining the reason for his solitary walks through New York streets at 5:30 every morning. Here is Carter, riding in a Secret Service van, recalling the sting of his family’s being mocked for their rural Southern heritage, even after he had won the White House. Here is Ford, beside a golf course fairway, laughing at his startled discovery that of all his presidential papers, the one worth the most on the open market was a letter from a woman who tried to kill him. Here is Bush, on the road with his son, remembering his despair and anger at encountering a swastika carved into the sand behind an elegant resort on American soil. And here is Nancy Reagan, in a Beverly Hills hotel, on the haunting first night she must stand in for her husband after the announcement of his illness.
A travelogue of the national spirit that chronicles a quest stretching over fifteen years and starring the biggest names in the modern American saga, this is living history of the most human kind, and Bob Greene at his very best.
"With his warm, affable syndicated columnist's voice, bestselling author Greene (Once Upon a Town, etc.) searches out the coterie of U.S. ex-presidents, that 'smallest and most exclusive fraternity in the world.' Starting with a rare 1983 tte--tte with Nixon, Greene interviews Carter, Bush Sr. and Ford. (Reagan's absence is due to his illness; the obvious omission of Clinton is never explained.) Avoiding talk of policy and politics, Greene delves into the safe minutiae of presidential lives: he peppers the fraternity with inane queries about exercise routines ('Is the Secret Service around when you do your sit-ups?'), wardrobe, favorite songs and movies (Ford's is Mrs. Doubtfire), the novelty of sleeping in the White House and wounded feelings over partisan name-calling. Above all, he goggles at their unfathomable fall from exalted supercelebrity to approachable semicelebrity. 'Can you just go into a clothing store?' Greene demands of Ford. 'What about that whole thing of going into the changing room?' Greene's few wrestlings with the meaning of the office ('It's like you're president of every town,' he blurts to a preternaturally patient Bush) can verge on the inchoate. Carter, with a more substantial postpresidential public life than the others, receives the most substantial profile as a serious, tight-lipped micro-manager. Agent, Eric Simonoff at Janklow & Nesbit. (On sale Sept. 28) Forecast: While Greene's approach can make the exes look like feckless retirees,he has an undeniable knack for picking and softballilng subjects of great general interest; expect vigorous sales. Election fatigue will also send readers into their past president's presents." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Shedding new light on the personalities of five former presidents, "Fraternity" is the story of a once-in-a-lifetime trip as award-winning columnist Greene sets out to spend time with Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan.
"Fraternity" tells the story of a once-in-a-lifetime trip by award-winning columnist Bob Greene, who set out to spend time with former presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan.
About the Author
BOB GREENE is a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning journalist whose books include Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen; Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War; Hang Time: Days and Dreams with Michael Jordan; Be True to Your School; the novel All Summer Long; and, with his sister, D. G. Fulford, To Our Children’s Children: Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come. As a magazine writer, he has been lead columnist for Life and Esquire; as a broadcast journalist he has served as contributing correspondent for ABC News Nightline. For thirty-one years he wrote a syndicated newspaper column based in Chicago, first for the Sun-Times and later for the Tribune.
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Biography » Political