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'The Presidents' Club': 10 stories about relationships between American presidents

It's one of the most exclusive clubs in the world, usually boasting only six or fewer members. This club has only one requirement for membership: having served as president of the United States. In Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy's new book, 'The Presidents Club,' the authors explore how the relationships between former chief executives of often very different ideologies and politics have shaped history.

By Molly Driscoll, Monitor contributor

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Former presidents Harry Truman (l.) and Herbert Hoover (r.)

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1. Truman and Hoover

When Harry Truman came to office in 1945, he was deeply concerned about the millions of European refugees who lacked food and realized that the man best prepared to deal with the problem would be Herbert Hoover, the former president who helped to feed Europe after World War I. Despite political differences, the current and former president worked on the project together, an effort that included sending Hoover to Argentina to ask just-elected president Juan PerĂ³n to increase food exports. Later collaborations between the two presidents included Truman's push to restructure the job of president, a change Hoover helped him carry out by expressing his support to such people as Congressman George Bender and later by serving as chairman for the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government. During the process to restructure the presidency, Truman called Hoover "the best man that I know of." In a letter, Hoover thanked Truman for asking for his help, especially after former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt had reportedly avoided association with Hoover because of the latter's unpopularity. "You undid some disgraceful action that had been taken in the prior years," Hoover wrote to Truman. "For all of this and your friendship, I am deeply grateful."

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