“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.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Fraternity|
|Release Date: 09-28-2004|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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Here is what they said-some of it.
"I don't allow my feelings to be hurt," Richard Nixon said. "I learned very early on that you must not allow it to get to you. And as the years have gone on-and this used to infuriate my critics during the White House years-I made the decision not to respond, no matter how rough the attacks were."
I asked him about those two famous catchphrases-"Tricky Dick," and "Would you buy a used car from this man?" They had been thrown off so glibly, so routinely, for so many years by so many people who may have assumed that there was not really anyone on the receiving end, at least anyone who was listening. I wondered about the person who was, indeed, on the receiving end-Nixon himself. Had he ever heard the lines-the "Tricky Dick" and "used-car" lines?
"Oh, my, yes," Nixon said. "Yeah."
Were his feelings ever hurt?
"If I had feelings," Nixon said, "I probably wouldn't have even survived."
Here, along the journey, is what they said-some of it:
"I went to visit a middle school," Jimmy Carter said. "One of the bright young girls asked me why there's an old person who loses Social Security payments. I told her that couldn't happen-once you start drawing Social Security you don't lose it unless your income goes up.
"She said, 'No, my granddaddy doesn't make anything, and he lost his Social Security.' And I said, 'Sweetheart, you must be mistaken.' She said to me, 'Mr. Carter, you are mistaken.' She said, 'My granddaddy lives on the bridge over by the