A figure in the Bill Clinton administration profiles the confidantes of U.S. presidents, including Abraham Lincoln's pal Joshua Speed, Harry Truman's buddy Eddie Jacobson, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's distant cousin Daisy Suckley, among others.
... [an] entertaining and enlightening romp through interpersonal presidential relationships ... Unfortunately, the book is organized chronologically, so the first pairing is Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, founding friends whose relationship manages to be the least interesting of the lot. The author, being a journalist, should have known better than to lead with such a relatively dull duo. For compelling peculiarity, skip to Richard Nixon and Charles 'Bebe' Rebozo.
Some presidents have...had very striking friendships ... Out of these liaisons and more, Ginsberg has crafted an insightful series of biographies, showing just how these friendships thrived and survived and were consequential for the nation’s history.
A Clinton administration insider delivers a fruitful survey of the roles that close friends have played throughout presidential history ... Ginsberg does nothing to improve Nixon’s reputation as he recounts how the president eventually brought the straight-arrow Rebozo into the criminal conspiracy that ended his tenure in the White House—with Rebozo urging Nixon not to resign until the very end. There’s no real thesis in Ginsberg’s capably spun story, but there are plentiful insights. A fresh, well-written take on the lives of our presidents.