Read The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House by Nancy Gibbs Michael Duffy Online


No one man or woman has ever been in a position to see the presidents, and the presidency, so intimately, over so many years. They called him in for photo opportunities. They called for comfort. They asked about death and salvation; about sin and forgiveness. At a time when the nation is increasingly split over the place of religion in public life, THE PREACHER AND THE PRENo one man or woman has ever been in a position to see the presidents, and the presidency, so intimately, over so many years. They called him in for photo opportunities. They called for comfort. They asked about death and salvation; about sin and forgiveness. At a time when the nation is increasingly split over the place of religion in public life, THE PREACHER AND THE PRESIDENTS reveals how the world's most powerful men and world's most famous evangelist, Billy Graham, knit faith and politics together....

Title : The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House
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ISBN : 9781599957340
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
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The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House Reviews

  • Ray
    2019-03-05 11:36

    found this book as interesting as "Just As I Am" was tedious. The insights are countless: * Harry Truman hated Graham * Eisenhower's bland civil religion policies may have obscured some real spiritaul awakening during his presidency. * LBJ considered Graham one of his best friends. He would phone Graham in the middle of the night to come to the White House bedroom to kneel and pray with him. Long after LBJ left office and was demonized by both Republicans and Democrats, Graham regularly visited him on his ranch. Graham was truly a pastor to him. * Nixon used and manipulated Graham, but also cared about him. The "Two Nixon" portrait rings true. * JFK was thoroughly secular and was amused but fairly disinterested in Graham. JFK once asked him why Protestants believed in a 2nd Coming while his own Catholics did not. Graham gently reminded JFK that the 2nd Coming was a part of the Apostles' Creed and Catholic dogma. * Carter despised Graham. Not surprising, given that Carter's theology is not remotely evangelical and that Carter liked very, very few people in general. I ended up respectinga nd liking Graham more AND less as a result of this book. Most horrifying was to learn more of his almost complete lack of ecclesiology. To him the Church seems to have value only as an instrument to bring people into a personal relationship with Christ. There is no sense of the centrality of community, or how the Church is not the means but the end. So when Graham sees Nixon criticized for starting Sunday worship inisde the White House, Graham's response is "Mr. President, the critics are pastors who fear peopel worshipping outside church." Graham also was often too quick to allow his political favorites to be known even if he technically avoided all out endorsements. And yet, it is also clear that Graham's pastoral heart and care for the presidents as men was sincere. The book partly clears up what appeared to be a major inconsistency in Graham's approach to various presidents. Graham has been eager to support presidents currently in office regardless of whether they are Right or Left, Dem or Rep. The authors show that this is probably less about pandering to power and more about a deeply held theological conviction that God has ordained our rulers and we must help them whether or not we voted for them. The authors are very knowledgable in both politics and contemporary church life and thought. The writing style is clear. They are thorough without being slow or ponderous. A truly wonderful book.

  • Tim Chavel
    2019-03-14 10:28

    An excellent book that not only gives you an inside view of Billy Graham but also of several presidents and some of their family members. If you are interested in Billy Graham and/or American Presidents this is a book you will enjoy! I trust you will enjoy the quotes below:The Preacher and the PresidentsNancy Gibbs and Michael DuffyWe are all sinners, he said, in search of grace. – Billy GrahamThe presidents called for comfort; they asked the simplest questions: How do I know if I’ll go to heaven? Eisenhower wanted to know. Do you believe in the Second Coming? Kennedy wondered. Will I see my parents when I die? Johnson asked. They asked about how the world would end, which was not an abstract conversation for the first generation of presidents who had the power to make that happen.By 1969, Graham was so important--and so well positioned—with both political parties that he could seamlessly spend the last weekend of Johnson’s presidency in the White House and stay over to spend the first night with Nixon as well. The week before Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon, he tracked Graham down to talk it through; that conversation, Ford said later was crucial. Nancy Reagan called him to the hospital the day her husband was shot, twenty-three years later he was the first person outside the family she called when he died. When Hillary Clinton felt no one in the world understood how she could forgive her husband, Graham pointedly praised her for it.p. xiv – “If I had not been a friend of the presidents,” he argued, “in most of these places, they wouldn’t have invited me to see them. The reason Yeltsin invited me was because he knew that I knew the president…. And so it was a way of the Lord using presidents for me to reach other people for Christ.”His meetings with Reagan—the president with who he says he was closest of all—were almost entirely private, under the radar.I didn’t have any other motives throughout my life but to proclaim the gospel. I’m amazed myself that I was able to see all those men become president. –Graham on his callingI know that I didn’t have any fear—and I should have, because I asked him about his personal faith. He said he believed in the Sermon on the Mount, tried to live by the Golden Rule. And I told him, “I don’t think that’s enough! – Graham on his first meeting with Harry TrumanTo which Graham replied [to an old friend] in a way he often would to critics he respected. “I want and need your suggestions, counsel, advice,” he wrote back. “And any time you feel like jacking me up and kicking me in the pants, please do. I have enough people patting me on the back…. I need some real friends from time to time who will talk turkey to me.” Eisenhower would soon become the first president to be baptized in office, and the second, after Calvin Coolidge, to join a church after being elected.What followed was a burst of official religious promotion such as America had not seen in years. Eisenhower announced that cabinet meetings would begin with a moment of silence. (This took some getting used to; appointments secretary Tom Stephens recalled the time the president emerged from the cabinet room when he suddenly realized, “Jesus Christ, we forgot the prayer!”) The first National Prayer Breakfast was held in 1953, with Eisenhower and Graham both in attendance.In 1954 the phrase “Under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance. A newly formed Foundation for Religious Action in the Social and Civil Order brought together all the pillars of Eisenhower’s civil faith; its board included Graham, Norman Vincent Peale, Henry Luce, Henry Ford Jr., Herbert Hoover, and Charles Wilson of General Electric. In 1955 Congress opened a prayer room in the Capitol, and ruled that all coins and bills had to have the phrase “In God We Trust” on them. The following year that became the national motto, an improvement, lawmakers felt, on “E Pluribus Unum.”When it was all over, Graham was heading to Scotland for a holiday to recover, but on the morning of May 25 he got a surprise call. Could he come have a visit with Prime Minister Churchill?Churchill struck him as being in one of his dark moods. They talked about the state of the world: “I am a man without hope,” Churchill said. “Do you have any real hope?” Whether he was talking about the world or himself was not clear, so Graham acted a pastor.“Are you without hope for your own soul’s salvation?”“Frankly, I think about that a great deal,” Churchill said. And so Graham pulled out his New Testament and did what he always did, explaining the possibilities of grace and God’s plan.And then, Graham said, he prayed for the prime minister, and as he was leaving they shook hands. “Our conversations are private, aren’t they?”“Yes sir,” Graham said, having learned his lesson.Graham’s historic journey through Asia – Graham’s reception was astonishing in its own way, in a country of 380 million with perhaps 5 million Protestant church members. The crowds were immense, curious, captivated: a hundred thousand people came to hear him in Kottayam—a town of forty thousand. William Stoneman, head of the foreign service of the Chicago Daily News, noted that the “objective observers” had concluded that “no American in this postwar period has made so many friends for America and gone so far toward offsetting the widespread conviction that material rather than spiritual matters are America’s sole significant concern as Billy Graham during his amazing tour of Asia.Graham was on his way to Vietnam when he stopped to see the dying President Eisenhower. So Graham told him one more time, and they prayed together. He told him his whole past had been forgiven and he had nothing to worry about. “I’m ready,” Eisenhower said. “And before I left the room,” Graham said, “he gave his big smile, big wave, and he said ‘You tell those fellows over there that there’s an old doughboy here, thinking about ‘em and praying for them.’”It was in West Virginia that Kennedy found his lines and his strategy: make the issue not religion, but tolerance; voters who were undecided between the candidates could at least enjoy the satisfaction of showing they were not bigots by voting for Kennedy. Sorenson had quietly drafted a letter to be signed by prominent Protestant clergy, urging their colleagues to fight religious prejudice; he made it clear to the ministers he approached that the statement would not come from Kennedy’s office or have Sorensen’s fingerprints: it was just a nonpartisan appeal for tolerance.“We regarded Graham as a conservative who was at least implicitly if not explicitly backing Nixon,” Sorenson recalled. Kennedy’s team was more successful with other ministers, like the Very Reverend Francis Sayre, the dean of Washington’s Episcopal Cathedral and grandson of Woodrow Wilson. The ministers’ letter won 144 signatures from clerics testifying, “We are convinced that each of the candidates has presented himself before the American people with honesty and independence, and we would think it unjust to discount any of them because of his chosen faith.”And now Johnson had one more favor to ask. Would Billy preach at his funeral? And make sure the message got through, because the world listens when a president dies. “Don’t use any notes,” he said, because the wind will just blow them away. And no fancy eulogizing either. “I want you to look in those cameras and just tell ‘em what Christianity is all about. Tell ‘em how they can be sure they can go to heaven. I want you to preach the gospel.” And he paused. “But somewhere in there, you tell ‘em a few things I did for this country.”Graham wrote to Johnson when he got home, saying he was honored that Johnson would even think of him. “I love you and your family so much that it would be one of the most difficult tasks I have ever performed,” he wrote. “Yet in another sense, it will be a triumph: for I know that not only in your head but in your heart you have put your trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. We are not saved because of our own accomplishments or good works; we are saved totally and completely because of what Christ did on the cross for us….I am not going to Heaven because I have preached to great crowds or read the Bible many times—I’m going to Heaven just like the thief on the cross who said in that last moment: ‘Lord, remember me.’”After Nixon was elected, he asked me to come and see him. He said, “Billy, what job do you want? I’ll appoint you to any ambassadorship if you want it.” I said, “Mr. President, I don’t want anything.” I said, “God called me to preach and I’m never gonna do anything but that.” That’s what I told him. – Graham on political temptationThe first service was held on Nixon’s first Sunday in office, with Graham as the preacher. Nixon’s aides Dwight Chapin and John Ehrlichman picked Graham’s brain for how the service should work: Nixon would preside like a master of ceremonies, welcome the congregation, introduce the preacher, and praise the visiting choir. So which preachers should they invite, should there be a denominational quota? Graham sent them a list that included Norman Vincent Peale, Graham’s brother-in-law and surrogate Leighton Ford, his father-in-law L. Nelson Bell, National Council of Churches head Dr. R.H. Edwin Espy, Christianity Today editor Harold Lindsell, several prominent black preachers, and prominent Christian sports figures like Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry.If God is, then what God says must be absolute—man must have moral boundaries. He cannot devise his own morals to fit his own situation. ~Billy Graham“To be President is a great and thrilling attainment,” he [Graham] wrote. “However, there is one thing far greater than being President—and that is being a committed child of God. There is a thrill, a joy, an adventure, an excitement, a satisfaction awaiting you in that direction, no matter what the circumstances around you, that is indescribable.”Ford began each day in the White House by quietly repeating the same verses from Proverbs that his mother taught him years earlier or help in times of trouble: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.” It was the same verses he had thought of as he clung to the side of an aircraft carrier in a December 1944 typhoon in the Pacific. And it was the passage he and Betty cited in their prayers the night before he became president.Graham’s worries about Nixon did not abate. That fall, after Nixon was admitted to a hospital with phlebitis, Ruth Graham appealed to a friend to hire a private plane and troll back and forth about the hospital, pulling a banner that read, “Nixon—God Loves You and So Do We.” Nixon saw it from his hospital window, but did not know its source until later. “We would like to think it was an encouragement,” Graham said.For the most part, Graham watched the Ford presidency from a distance. In May 1975, Billy and Ruth went to hear him speak in Charlotte, sitting in a special section at the front of the crowd. When a shirtless and barefoot demonstrator moved adjacent to Ruth in the aisle, holding up a sign that read, “Eat the Rich,” and apparently blocked her view, Ruth grabbed the sign and placed it under her feet. When he asked for it back, she refused. Later, when he sued her, she vowed to go to jail rather than pay a fine. (The case was dismissed after a forty-five minute hearing, but Ruth caught up with her accuser afterward and presented him with a Bible.)For the lead epigraph of (Jimmy Carter’s book, Carter chose Niebuhr’s observation that the “sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world. Graham gathered twelve fellow preachers at a Dallas hotel to talk and pray about the future of the country. Graham didn’t merely attend the early October session; he organized it and composed the guest list, according to Dallas evangelist James Robison. Attending were many of the nation’s regional, if not national, evangelical powerhouses. Among them, Robison, televangelist Rex Humbard, and Adrian Rogers, who had just led a conservative theological takeover of the Sothern Baptist Convention that was to alter the character and direction of the SBC. Joining them were Charles Stanley and Jimmy Draper, who had played key roles in Roger’s SBC election, as well as Clayton Bell, Graham’s brother-in-law. The men took over the entire floor of a hotel near the Dallas airport. These men were not part of the new breed of preachers who had one foot in the pulpit and another in the Republican National Committee. They were older and, at least in public, far less partisan. None was buying, as Falwell’s Moral Majority soon would, millions of dollars in radio spots across the South to defeat Carter. But each was a conservative Christian, who had by 1979 given up on the notion that Carter was a partner worth keeping.Robison added, “We did not see Carter as the necessary strong leader in the face of a grave threat.” And he said, “No one was talking about Jimmy Carter’s faith. It was his ability to lead.As president, Reagan would often, before an important speech or meeting, tell his chief of staff, James Baker, “I need a minute.” Baker would turn and see Reagan saying a silent prayer in preparation. “Faith was part of him and always was,” said Deputy Chief of Staff Michael Deaver, who began working for Reagan in 1966. “Whenever there was a disappointment or a setback, his response was always, ‘There’s a reason for this and we’ll find out someday what it is. But it’s all a part of God’s plan.’ He wasn’t sappy about it. He as almost matter-of-fact.”“You don’t face a problem but what God can help you solve it.” – Billy Graham writing to Ronald ReaganReagan wrote both Graham and his wife a letter of thanks for all their help over the previous eight years. “Thank you for your prayers, I know they have been answered, and to steal Lincoln’s words, I have had help from One Who is stronger and wiser than all others.”Graham sent Reagan off into private life with a letter… the bulk of the letter is devoted to Graham’s dissection of Reagan’s success in office. “You had a philosophy of government and life that did not change, no matter what the circumstances. You believed America could be great…. Secondly, your strong faith in God and your willingness to talk about it publicly, no matter what the critics might say…. Thirdly, you have a compassion for people. God gave you a marvelous charisma that did not come just from your Hollywood days as some would like to assert. It came from something God gave you. No matter how bad the circumstances or how harsh the questions from the reporters were, you always had a smile, you had a way of saying the right thing. I doubt if America will ever see another Ronald Reagan.“When we come before the Lord in humble prayer, that’s the most we can do.” Billy Graham writing to Nancy Reagan as she cared for her sick husbandBoth Reagans asked Graham to preach at the president’s funeral, but when the time came, Graham was too frail from a pelvis injury to make the trip.When Reagan passed away, the first call that Nancy placed outside the family was to her husband’s old friend in the hills above Montreat.Her [Hillary Clinton] faith was one place where she touched the ground. It was in the first six months that she joined a bipartisan prayer group; a circle of friends took turns praying for her that spring and throughout her time in the White House. When she traveled out of town, she carried a handmade scrapbook of sayings and scriptures that raised her spirits when they needed a boost.

  • Steve Miyamoto
    2019-03-17 13:31

    It was remarkable to me how Graham was able to become a trusted advisor to some of the most powerful people on the planet over the last 50 years. Graham is shown to be a man who used whatever tools were at his disposal including his name and reputation to build the Kingdom of God and spread the message of the gospel. I thought this was a politically well balanced book. It presents the failings of the Presidents on both sides of the aisle fairly and often very critically. It also portrays the Presidents as flawed and as human as anyone else on the planet and just as in need of grace. One of the best stories was how, during the dedication of the George Bush library, Hillary Clinton pulled Graham aside privately and told him that Bill had cheated on her and asked for prayer and guidance. While I can disagree with her politics, this was a personal and private story of a woman who when faced with one of the most crushing moments of her life turned to a man who embodied grace.Graham was often criticized for befriending and advising Nixon and other Presidents, without judgement or condemnation. Yet that is what makes his demonstration of grace, and his very personal witness of God's grace even more powerful. Long after Nixon was disgraced, he turned to Graham to perform his mother's funeral. At the end of the day, Graham was there for Nixon, who collapsed weeping in Graham's arms. That's what grace is all about.----------------------------------------------My initial comments:Just read the excerpt from the August 20 issue of Time Magazine. I have always admired Billy Graham's ability to build relationships with some of the most powerful people in the world. He doesn't get too theological, he just preaches the hope in Christ.From President even scripted his own exit. One day [Lyndon] Johnson took Graham on a walk around his Texas ranch, to a clearing in the trees near where his parents were buried. Johnson wanted to know if he would see them again in heaven. And then another question: Would Billy preach at his funeral? Johnson knew the world listens when a President dies. "Don't use any notes," he said, and no fancy eulogizing either. "I want you to look in those cameras and just tell 'em what Christianity is all about. Tell 'em how they can be sure they can go to heaven. I want you to preach the Gospel." And just one more thing. "Somewhere in there, you tell 'em a few things I did for this country."When he got home, Graham wrote to Johnson, expressing his love and reassurance, in case Johnson still had any doubts. "We are not saved because of our own accomplishments," Graham reminded the President. "I am not going to Heaven because I have preached to great crowds or read the Bible many times. I'm going to Heaven just like the thief on the cross who said in that last moment: 'Lord, remember me.'"

  • Robert Clay
    2019-03-21 10:34

    Well, I don't give out five stars flippantly. I debated whether this should get four or five; it's not the best book I've ever read, but I really enjoyed it. Very informative. The book moves quickly (over half a century in 350 pages), but does a good job of providing enough details to intrigue without getting bogged down in too much policy and jargon. I loved the insights into the Presidents as men with doubts and needs much like any other man, and yet also unlike anyone else; the office of President is certainly a great burden. Without further ado, I'll let a few passages speak for themselves."During Graham's final visit, Eisenhower asked the doctors and nurses to leave ... 'Billy,' he said 'I want you to explain once again what you did in Gettysburg, about how you can know you're going to heaven.' So Graham told him one more time, and they prayed together. 'I'm ready.' Eisenhower said.""And now Johnson had one more favor to ask. Would Billy preach at his funeral? And make sure the message got through, because the world listens when a president dies. 'Don't use any notes,' he said, because the wind will just blow them away. And no fancy eulogizing either. 'I want you to look in those cameras and just tell 'em what Christianity is all about. Tell 'em how they can be sure they can go to heaven. I want you to preach the gospel.' And he paused. 'But somewhere in there, tell 'em a few things I did for this country.'""In January 1973, Johnson talked about the odds that history would remember him kindly - or at all. 'I'd have been better off looking for immortality through my wife and children and their children in turn instead of seeking all that love and affection from the American people. They're just too fickle.'""I did misjudge (Nixon). It was a side to him I never knew, yet I'd been with him so many times. He was just like a whole new person. I talked to Julie about that and she felt that about her own father. I almost felt as if a demon had come into the White House, and had entered his presidency, because it seemed to be sort of supernatural, I mean it was so ugly and so terrible, especially the cover-up and the language and all that. It was just something I never knew." (Graham)"But sometimes even that (personal faith) is not enough. No matter how deep one's faith is, sometimes you need the guidance and comfort of a living, breathing human being. For me, and for so many other Oval Office occupants, that person was Billy Graham." (George H. W. Bush)

  • Samantha
    2019-03-17 10:51

    I was really disappointed in this book. It made out like Billy Graham was the preacher to 11 presidents...however he wasn't. Some didn't even like him enough to send him cards. The presidents that he wasn't friends with they don't spend much time on. You don't even get into too much about what Rev. Graham is doing. However, when you get to LBJ and Nixon then you get almost too much. There are numerous quotes and letters that are talked about ad naseum. Then you get into Carter who didn't want to give Rev. Graham the time of day. This book just moved so slow. It was like slogging through mud especially if you know your history already. Not sure about recommending this book to anyone. If you do read then make sure it's a library book.

  • Jeff Berger
    2019-03-22 11:33

    Rev. Billy Graham, now 99 years old, has been out of the public eye for over a decade (his last crusade was in 2005, in New York). Today’s young adults, if they have heard of him at all, would likely be shocked to know that a Christian evangelist once was consistently listed in opinion polls as one of the most admired people in the world; that he had a weekly column that ran in newspapers across the nation; that he regularly appeared on late-night talk shows, and that his periodic TV specials were among the highest-rated programs. But most of all, they would be surprised to learn how much time this preacher spent in the White House; how close he was to nine presidents, from Harry Truman to George W Bush, and how often the most powerful men on earth relied on his guidance and comfort. That’s the subject of this book by Gibbs and Duffy, former writers for TIME. The book was written in 2007, and was based on a series of interviews with Graham at his home in North Carolina, as well as interviews with people close to those presidents, assorted biographies, and most interesting of all, presidential papers including letters of correspondence between Graham and the presidents. It all makes for a great read for anyone who is interested in presidential history, Graham’s life, or both. It presents the great evangelist as a man of sincere faith and impeccable character, a man worthy of his widespread admiration. According to these authors, Billy Graham isn’t just a great man, he’s also a genuinely good man. My favorite quote from the book, in fact, comes from Chuck Colson: “One of the greatest miracles of the twentieth century is that Billy Graham stayed humble.” But it also shows Graham’s flaws and missteps: He flubbed his first meeting with a president so badly he was banned from the White House, and his closeness to another president turned out to be the biggest public mistake of his life. The story begins with Graham, a young evangelist just entering the national consciousness, having wrangled an invitation to visit Harry Truman’s White House. The Graham team arrived in flashy suits and white dress shoes, providing a contrast to Truman’s plain, buttoned-down appearance. Truman was raised a Baptist and held strong biblical beliefs, and he entertained the flamboyant preacher boys politely. Afterward, Graham met with reporters on the White House lawn who asked him about his meeting with President. Naively, Graham told them everything he and the President had said to one another, including his conversations about Truman’s personal faith. He and his team even knelt on the lawn so the reporters could take pictures of them re-enacting the prayer he had prayed over the President. When Truman read the papers the next day, he was furious. He ordered his aides to ignore Graham’s correspondence from then on. When the Graham crusade came to Washington not long after, many celebrities and politicians attended, but not the nation’s leader. Years later, Truman still held a grudge; he told an interviewer that Billy Graham was a phony who just wanted to be in the news. Much later, Graham visited Truman at his home in Independence, Missouri, and the two men mended things. Graham learned from his mistakes with Truman. When Dwight Eisenhower was still weighing whether to step down as chairman of NATO to run for President, Graham wrote to him, telling him that the country needed him at this critical hour. The two men became close friends. They shared a love for golf, but also Eisenhower, never a religious man before, was convinced religion was a key in America’s struggle against atheistic communism. He needed Graham to help him with his own faith, and with his hopes to turn the country in a more spiritual direction. Graham was thrilled to do what he could. During the Eisenhower years, Graham became very close with the Vice President, Richard Nixon. During the 1960 Presidential campaign, he publicly made little secret of his hope Nixon would win, and privately advised his friend on how to win over evangelical voters. For this reason, it’s not surprising that John Kennedy, when he became the next president, didn’t confide in Graham the way Eisenhower had. But the two did play golf together once, and Kennedy asked the preacher pointed questions about Scripture, including his beliefs about the End Times. Graham was much closer to Kennedy’s Vice President, Lyndon Johnson, in a relationship that went back to Johnson’s days in the Senate. Johnson was a very different man, with none of Kennedy’s easy charm or well-bred manners. He was a brilliant politician and had a compassionate heart for the less fortunate, but he could also be profane, moody, even abusive. But family members and staff alike agreed that he was a completely different person when Graham was around. The preacher brought him peace, counseled him about the salvation of his soul, which Johnson was constantly insecure about. Both Ruth and Billy Graham spent a lot of time at the White House and the Johnson ranch in the Hill Country during those years. Ruth and Lady Bird Johnson became good friends. When LBJ gave up the presidency to Nixon, the Grahams stayed with the Johnsons for their last weekend in the White House, and stayed the first night with the Nixons. When Johnson died just a few years later, Graham officiated his funeral under an oak on the Pedernales. It was the era of the Civil Rights movement, and Billy Graham had a part to play in that great drama, too. Early on, Graham insisted that all of his crusades be fully integrated. Sometimes local organizers would protest that this would lead to violence, but Graham stood firm: If it’s not integrated, I’m not coming. He and Martin Luther King had met before King became a household name, and found they agreed on many things. They even talked for a while of doing a crusade together. But as the sixties went on, King grew impatient with Graham. With all his access to the president, King wondered, why doesn’t Graham push him to move faster on civil rights? At the same time, Graham was facing criticism from many for not speaking out against the Vietnam War, not convincing LBJ to pull out the troops. Through it all, Graham maintained a policy of not criticizing the man in office. This was seen by his critics as opportunism; if he spoke out, he would lose his access to the seat of power. But Gibbs and Duffy believe that Graham was led by better motivations: He knew these men, and saw what kind of daily pressure they were under. He cared about their souls, and knew he would lose any ability to witness to them if he squandered their trust. That earnest faith in the men he befriended would come back to haunt him in the Nixon years. Graham and Nixon had been friends for years, and Graham spent more time in the Nixon White House than with any other president. Graham loved his friend, and wanted to draw out of him the strong Christian faith he knew must be there. After all, Nixon was raised by a devout Quaker mother, and spoke often of the lessons he had learned from her. Nixon, for his part, often tried to protect Graham from being seen as politically partisan, although he would use his friendship with America’s pastor on a couple of occasions. Graham was a constant defender of the president; even during Watergate, he insisted Nixon was too moral and ethical to be involved in such a mess. Then he heard the tapes, and heard a side of his friend that he had never known was there. Years later, Graham was still puzzled over whether a demon had entered the White House and highjacked his friend’s presidency, or whether he had simply built up Nixon into more than he actually was. As much as those years brought Graham criticism and person pain, it was decades later that the biggest damage came to light. Audio was released in 2002 of Nixon and his men talking about Jewish domination of the media in terribly anti-Semitic terms, and there was the voice of Billy Graham in that meeting, agreeing with them. Graham, who had always had a respectful relationship with the Jewish community, was horrified to hear conversations he had forgotten. The book details Graham’s apologies and the fallout that occurred. Ironically, although the next two presidents were much more outspoken about their faith, especially Jimmy Carter, Graham did not have a close relationship with either one. Gerald Ford already had a minister who he corresponded with, who sent him weekly devotional thoughts and prayed with him. Carter, the president who has had the most in common with Graham theologically, simply didn’t seem to need a White House chaplain; he was spiritually self-fed, and an intensely private man as well. Graham kept in touch with both men and supported them in his public statements, but was not a frequent guest of the Oval Office as before. But Ronald Reagan and George Bush were different. The Grahams and Reagans had been friends for years. During the 1950s, there was even talk of Reagan starring in a film based on Graham’s life. The Grahams had often vacationed with the Bushes at their home in Kennebunkport. Once again, America’s preacher found himself invited often to the White House, and was even sent by the Reagan administration to do diplomatic work in places like the Soviet Union and North Korea, sending private messages from the President to leaders of these enemy countries. But Graham was older and wiser by now, and no longer made public statements on political issues. During this era, the Religious Right was rising; men like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson were making headlines for trying to sway elections. Meanwhile, Graham was headed in the opposite direction, avoiding saying anything that would distract from the Gospel. One of the surprising sections of the book details how close Graham was to Bill and Hillary Clinton. Bill had attended a Graham crusade as a teenager, and often donated to the ministry out of his allowance. As governor of Arkansas, he had sponsored a crusade in Little Rock. When the President’s sexual failings came to light, Graham supported Hillary both publicly and privately as she forgave her husband. In interviews for the book, he spoke of his deep love for both of them. George W Bush also had a long-standing admiration for Graham. As a young man, he had asked the preacher penetrating questions about Scripture and faith during their times together at Kennebunkport. Later, a spiritually searching lost soul struggling with alcoholism, he had shared a walk along the beach with Graham. He would later point to that as the moment when he solidified his desire to follow Jesus, and turned his life around. The Preacher and the Presidents is a great look at the spiritual lives of our leaders. They ranged from the very devout to the barely religious, but they were all drawn in some sense to Billy Graham, the man who had spoken to more people than anyone else in history. Some wanted to use him for political gain; others just needed a pastor. It’s also a cautionary tale about the dangers of getting too close to power. Even the best of us, even someone with the purest of intentions, can be tempted to compromise our principles to maintain that relationship. It’s a history of the spiritual life of America in the second half of the Twentieth Century as well. It is hard to imagine a Christian preacher having the kind of national influence and access in Washington today that Graham had in those decades. There will never be another Billy Graham. But my favorite aspect of the book is what it taught me about Graham himself, a man I have deeply admired my entire life. I attended a Graham crusade in the Astrodome when I was a child, my little country church having chartered a Greyhound bus to take the entire congregation. Two decades later, when I was pastor of that same church, we drove to San Antonio for another crusade. His standards of integrity (never be alone with a woman who is not your wife, let someone else handle all the money) have helped me build moral fences in my own life. And his passion for the Gospel, his graciousness toward people who disagreed with him, and his deep humility have challenged me in my own walk with Christ. I enjoyed reading about his own personal growth, from a brash young preacher who shared his opinions on anything with the press, to an older, wiser man who stuck to what he knew was true…what mattered eternally. It was also interesting to see how much criticism this man took: From mainline Christians who mocked his simple preaching, to fundamentalists who condemned him for working with Catholics; from segregationists who were angered that he would preach to integrated audiences, to liberals who condemned him for not urging Johnson and Nixon to pull out of Vietnam sooner, to conservatives who railed against him for publicly forgiving Clinton; from Democrats and Republicans, who accused him of kissing the ring of the President so he wouldn’t lose his access. Graham always weathered the criticism graciously, sometimes even agreeing with his critics and promising to do better. But to the last charge, that he had impure motives for his relationships with the Presidents, he defended himself on two grounds: 1) His closeness to these men gave him credibility when he traveled to foreign countries. He might never have been able to preach the Gospel in places like the Soviet Union and South Africa without it. 2) He knew the loneliness these men and their families felt. He had a deep yearning to care for their souls. To him, these two motives outweighed any desire to make public statements disagreeing with their policies. In the end, I think Gibbs and Duffy believe those were worthy motives, and so do I.

  • Gary Miller
    2019-03-20 13:50

    The book examines how religion, especially Billy Graham, has played into the political world. Graham used individual presidents to give him more prestige especially in the beginning of his career, but the presidents also used him. They saw the huge crowds he was able to attract and so they realized it would be good to be on the good side of Graham. They used each other.Graham has endorsed candidates (though he prefers to indicate neutrality), informed candidates which states to focus on during the election and how best to use advertising dollars. Graham came from a Democratic home, but leans towards Republican candidates, but who has supported Democrats. Graham quoted some survey that said 72% of the membership of places of worship didn’t agree that clergy should become social activists. (What did they think Christianity was all about?) Graham, “they want nurture for their spiritual welfare not guidance as to what political or social posture they ought to assume”. (That may be, but should clergy be leaders and explain Christianity is about being involved in social issues)Graham on the Bible. He doesn’t believe in evolution because that is not what the Bible says. Graham said, “I don’t have the time or the intellect to examine all sides of each theological dispute, or I’ve decided one and for all, to stop questioning and to accept the Bible as God’s Word”.Graham on sex. “We have had so much sex in this country, people are getting tired of it”. Frankly, I don’t think we will ever tire of it.Graham on war. Though Graham “preached the Gospel”, he never spoke against capital punishment or war (“sometimes it becomes necessary to fight the strong in order to protect the weak”), but Graham did come out for weapon controls. “We live on the brink of starvation each year, while the nations of the world spend $550 billion on weapons”.During the Bush II administration and the war in Iraq, he said, “I don’t want to take sides…I’m getting a little depressed about Iraq….Think what it is doing to Bush”. No mention of the people who died or people in Iraq, his only concern was what the war was doing to Bush.In spite of all the efforts by Graham to have people “accept Jesus”, he obviously believed that some wars were worth fighting. In spite of the fact he was “preaching the Gospel”, he didn’t want to be drawn into the moral implications of Vietnam. (From my understanding of the teachings of Jesus, we, as Christians would have no choice to be involved). It was obvious, Graham was able to set aside whether to take a position on controversial issues so as not to alienate people who might have an opposite point of view.Graham and Truman. Truman told Graham that he tried to follow the Sermon on the Mount and the Golden Rule. Graham’s response was that is not enough. Graham visited Truman once in the White House. Truman was so turned off by the way the visit played in the press, he never invited Graham back. Truman was very sensitive (perhaps overly so) to the issue of separating church and state.Graham and Eisenhower. Graham was one of the leaders of the draft Eisenhower movement. Eisenhower’s religious background was interesting. Parts of his family was involved in a Mennonite group, but his parents where Jehovah Witnesses. (It would be interesting to read how Eisenhower came from such a family that not only did not vote---which probably explains why Eisenhower did not vote until he ran for president----and a pacifist family to become a general in the military and president of the US). Eisenhower’s vice president, Richard Nixon, came from a pastoral programmed Friends Church. Nixon’s mother once said, “I am sure other Quakers understand my son….Quakers are gentle and tolerant people. But they are also stubborn in defending their opinions and high minded in pursuing their ideals”. I am sure there are some Quakers who understood Nixon, but there were plenty who didn’t.Eisenhower had considered dropping Nixon from the ticket in 1956 because Eisenhower did not think Nixon was that smart and therefore might hurt the chances of re-election. Nixon stayed on the ticket and Eisenhower decided to wage a war on communism. He felt it was important that religious people succeed over an atheist government, because “religion ordinarily tries to find a peaceful solution to problems”. (Which is not necessarily true).Eisenhower was the first president to appoint a black person to be a special assistant to the presidential staff. Graham felt we should go slowly on civil rights. “If only the Supreme Court would go slow and the extremists will quiet down, we can have a peaceful social readjustment over the next ten year period.” Credit must be given to Graham for his refusal to hold segregated crusades. He often told organizers, he would pull out unless they were intergraded. Graham praised Martin Luther King as “an example of Christian love”. Graham had concerns about civil disobedience. “No matter what the law may be---it may be an unjust law—I believe we have a Christian responsibility to obey it. Otherwise you have anarchy.” Students at Bob Jones University were instructed not to pray for success for Graham crusades because of this issue. Jones University administrators denounced Graham as a “false teacher” who ‘is doing more harm to the cause of Jesus Christ than any living man”. Graham and Kennedy. Graham was one of the founders of Christianity Today. One of their editorials declared that it was “perfectly normal” for Protestants to oppose election of a Catholic for president.Nixon was pleased with the support of Norman Vincent Peale and Billy Graham in his presidential race in 1960 against Jack Kennedy.Martin Luther King’s father had come out also in favor of Nixon, based primarily on religious grounds. It was about this time when Martin Luther King had been arrested. John and Robert Kennedy intervened and were able to get King released. This involvement by the Kennedy turned into a massive strong vote by the black community (including King’s father) towards the Democratic nominee.Graham and Johnson. According to the author of the book, Kennedy described Johnson as “a very insecure, sensitive man with a huge ego” and “mean, bitter, vicious--an animal in many ways”. Kennedy had put Johnson on the ticket to primarily shore up the Southern Democratic vote.When Kennedy was killed, Johnson began to gear up for the 1964 election. Johnson was nervous about appointing Humphrey as his VP. Johnson felt Humphrey “talked to much” and was concerned about Humphrey’s strong record in the area of civil rights. Johnson had a concern about whether Humphrey had the ability to become president. Johnson would have had more respect for Humphrey if “he showed he had some balls”. There was a movement to try to draft Graham for president in 1964. His wife informed Billy of her thought about his running, “If you run, I don’t think the country will elect a divorced president.Graham and Nixon. Graham told an audience that Richard Nixon was the American he admired most and that it would be good to have someone like Nixon, who could provide a religious example, to lead the country.When Nixon became president, Nixon thought about attending unprogrammed Quaker services where Herbert Hoover attended, but they were strongly anti-war and he was afraid of what might be said during worship had he attended.Once when Graham had received notice from the IRS that he was going to be audited, Nixon went to his behalf. He wanted to know why the IRS wasn’t looking into the major Democratic donors. Nixon, on the other hand, listed his largest donation on his tax return as the Billy Graham Evangelical Association to the tune of $4500. His total charitable giving was about $10,000 based on an income of $3 million.As Watergate began to unravel, Graham continued his support as long as he could “I’m sticking with Nixon, one hundred percent”. He understood Eisenhower was a lapsed Christian and Johnson was no angel, but he never questioned Nixon’s piety and strong religious belief. Graham was shocked to find out that his good friend, Nixon, was trying to cover up a crime. Graham lobbied hard asking Ford for a pardon for NixonEven though Graham tended to lean towards Republicans, he saw himself as the pastor for the presidents. He came to really like the Clintons. Referring to Bill, Graham said, “He’s the easiest guy to get to know….has a brilliant wife who can be of help to him”. Graham introduced the Clinton’s by saying they were, “wonderful friends for many years”.So who does this preacher, who has known every president since Truman and who usually supports Republican candidates, who will he be supporting in the 2008 race? It is anyone’s guess, except he did say, “I think a lot of Hillary”.When I was a teen growing up in the Methodist Church, I wanted to grow up and become a minister. One day my mother announced to the entire family, “Gary wants to become a preacher just like Billy Graham”. I was horrified and embarrassed. Even then his religion was not mine. So I piped up and said, “Not so much Billy Graham and Martin Luther King”. At which point, my family was horrified and embarrassed. I still feel the same way. I don’t understand this kind of Christianity, but the book was interesting none the less.

  • Brook
    2019-03-23 10:49

    A fascinating journey through the years with my hero in the faith, Billy Graham. As a pastor, I find the intersection of faith and politics compelling. And what made this even more interesting is to learn where his political involvement worked against him. A terrific read.

  • Elizabeth T
    2019-03-24 07:30

    Utterly fascinating

  • Jeri
    2019-02-26 11:40

    A look at the relationship of Billy Graham with the Presidents of the United States from Truman to George W. Bush. Written by two reporters for the New York Times, the reader not only learns of the personal relationships between Graham and a particular lad president, but a lot of history as well. It also examines the fine line between the political and moral obligations of those with the most powerful job in the world. A must read for those of faith seeking political office and those who wish to understand the complexities of faith and politics.

  • Sue
    2019-03-06 09:34

    My interest in this book stems from a curiosity about how religion and politics intersect, and especially about the role of evangelicals in the national conversation and at the polls. I did not arrive with any particular opinion about Graham. In retrospect, I realize that this history was a huge undertaking. Billy Graham’s career had a long arc, and this book cannot cover it. And there are countless dramatic stories behind the eleven US presidents he knew, from the late 1940s into the 21st century, and this book does not cover those either. What it does do is show the points of intersection, and the result is all too often anecdote upon anecdote. Graham and Truman. Graham and Eisenhower. Graham and Kennedy…The reader needs background going in. I cannot imagine how one would appreciate the import of these anecdotes without a good prior awareness of the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Watergate break-in, the taking of hostages in Iran, the Clinton impeachment trials, and on and on. It’s also helpful at the same time to know something of the international success and adulation experienced by Graham – far from the Oval Office – in his long career. This much is clear from the book: Some presidents, in their isolation, found this man to bring comfort as a friend or as a pastor. It is to his credit. And Graham liked the proximity to power, hoping to influence policy and to make its power centers more Christian. His attraction to power is not so much to his credit. Some Presidents appeared to use Graham for their own purposes. They may well have genuinely counted him as a friend, but they certainly also knew the value of a chummy photo with America's most prominent evangelical leader. This was particularly true of Richard Nixon. Much was made of the fact that Jimmy Carter was not so connected to Graham – but his presidency was hard on the heels of Graham’s overt support of Richard Nixon, and Carter may have been wary. At another point Graham found himself used and manipulated by the Soviet Union when he went there to preach. This would not have happened in the same way if he had not been known by the Soviets to have access to the Oval Office. Ronald Reagan asked him to take readings among the evangelicals about his proposed appointment of a US ambassador to the Vatican. Most of this made me squirm.It turns out that Graham frequently counseled on policy, but he was not so tied to the political activity of evangelicals. He was much more independent, and much more accepting of the differences among the men he knew as presidents. And although he is generally associated with Republicans, he also maintained close relationships with Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton, as well as with both their wives. This was probably less about an obsession for power and more about a deeply held conviction that God has ordained our leaders and we must help them whether or not we voted for them.But since I was curious about the growing political involvement of evangelicals, I was particularly intrigued by the glimpse the book provided into the careful pre-nomination coaching that George H.W. Bush received – so that his answers about his own faith would satisfy evangelical voters. I have a pretty jaundiced view of presidential faith statements, knowing how calculated they are, and I’m even more cynical now.This book is not particularly well written, and it ultimately could only skim over a Billy Graham story that lasted for decades.

  • Rob Masse
    2019-03-14 14:27

    Billy Graham spent the balance of his live bringing the world of Jesus Christ and the Gospel to the world. He didn't care if he talked in a room of 5 or a stadium of 100,000. His goal was always to tell the people he came into contact with the Word and how it will help them in their lives. During his six decade crusade his travels spanned the globe but none he felt more important than the trips he made to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. From the mid 1940's through the early part of the new millennium Billy Graham made himself available for personal consult to the President of the United States. If you're keeping score that is every President from Harry Truman through George W. Bush. Some, like Truman, Kennedy and Carter, did not call on Graham very often or even at all. But others including LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, Bush 41 & 43, and Clinton called upon the Reverend in some of their most tumultuous and trying times both personally and as leader of the free world.Billy Graham was vilified by the left and the right for not taking stands against a particular president or not fighting harder for a specific policy. He was called a traitor to his faith, a snake oil salesmen and a fraud by his critics. His friends and fans called him the most influential preachers of the 20th century. Many of those who are members of the 1600 Penn club called him friend. Billy Graham was one of the largest figures in American history though he would tell you he is a simple preacher from North Carolina spreading the good Word. The Preacher and the President gives insight into American history from the eyes of Graham and those close to the various Presidents. Billy Graham, while not the personal pastor for any, was a friend and religious council for all. You get a different perspective not only into the events that shaped both American history and American policy but the men that shaped it.

  • Roger Smitter
    2019-02-23 15:41

    This is a unique take on the biography genre. It probes the life of a person by the affiliations he has with others. In this case, of course, the others are US presidents. And the person at the core of the bio is the most admired man in the world, Billy Graham. We see a growth curve for Graham in sophistication about politics and about fame. As a very young evangelist, he meets once Truman with enthusiasm. Truman never meets with him again. Graham becomes Ike’s spiritual mentor, especially about the after-life. The narrative becomes complex as Graham grows close to Nixon. In 1960, the evangelicals expect Graham to speak against voting for the Catholic, John Kennedy. Graham comes close to making an endorsement but does not, much to the dismay of evangelical Protestants (including my parents). While Kennedy was in the White House, Graham develops a limited pastoral role with the President. The bio spends less time on Kennedy and Ford, in part because their terms in the White House were short. Graham somehow is drawn to Johnson despite that President’s bristly personality and foul language. With the election of Nixon in 1968, Graham, along with many Americans, slowly discovers Nixon’s dual personalities. While Graham certainly believes in forgiveness and salvation for all sinners, his relationship with Nixon challenges his faith and his public role in many ways. Surprisingly, Graham has very close relationships with Bush senior and junior. The wealthy and sophisticated Bush’s are drawn to the down home demeanor of Graham and to his simple faith. Early in the bio, it’s clear that Graham has become a celebrity, a role that the public did not understand in the context of evangelism. Graham grows to understand that role, charting a public life that maintains a moral stand and personal faith while dealing with the self-centered world of presidents.

  • Deb
    2019-03-13 15:22

    I enjoyed this audio book very much. As a young kid growing up in the 1960s & 1970s, I use to hate having my favorite programs interrupted by Mr. Graham's TV appearances. But as I got older, I became somewhat intrigued by this man of God and how he could be a touchstone for so many. I found this biography/memoir very insightful and was a bit surprised at some of the information I learned about a few of our past leaders. It caused me to reflect and re-examine some of these powerful men who had the troubles of the world on their shoulders. I guess I knew that Billy Graham offered guidance and spiritual support to various US Presidents but I never knew to what extent. The Preacher and the Presidents was a nice history refresher as well. To get a small glimpse of behind the scenes of the Oval Office and into the personal lives and spiritual/political struggles of both "The Preacher" Billy Graham and 11 Presidents (Truman through George W. Bush) was interesting. Note: This was a book that I received from a member of

  • Chris Comis
    2019-02-27 10:39

    BG was one of the most influential Christian leaders of the 20th c., as this book shows in great detail. He was the personal spiritual advisor for 10 of the last 11 presidents (I believe Truman was the only one Graham never really got very close to). BG was more of a counselor than a prophet though. He knew how to give great advice when it came to personal salvation (kinda), but he was not very effective in giving politial advice as the book makes very clear. Graham's committment to political pluralism comes out in this book very clearly, although he was opposed to communism at every stage of his career. Overall, a great book for pastors and lay folk who want a glimpse into what it takes to be the personal spiritual advisor to the most powerful man in the world. But if you're looking for a glimpse into what it takes to be the kind of OT prophetic voice that changes cultures and civilizations, then you need to look elsewhere.

  • John
    2019-03-10 09:35

    Billy Graham covered much of this ground in his autobiography, "Just As I Am." But I learned more about this extraordinary man from this engagingly written and carefully reported book.And I learned more about the 11 presidents -- from Harry S Truman to George W. Bush -- Graham has known along the way, several as close friends.It was news to me, for instance, that President Eisenhower was the first man who was baptized during the time that he was president.Graham's ability to reach beyond politics perhaps is best reflected in the fact that he spent the last weekend of the Johnson presidency and the first night of the Nixon presidency as a guest at the White House.For me, this book provided an interesting perspective from which to view the major events that have occurred during (and slightly beyond) my lifetime.

  • Pat
    2019-03-21 09:23

    It took me 90+ days to read this work of non fiction, and it was a struggle. I only give it 3 stars because I am not a non fiction lover, and I'm sure those who are would appreciate this better than I. It is one of my book club's selections, and we meet tomorrow so I plugged through it, and, as always, I know that our discussion will raise my level of appreciation for it - anyway, I hope it will! Billy Graham, as you know, was a counselor to presidents from Truman to Bushes helping them whenever he could. He tries to stay apolitical but, in my mind, fails and was more political than he liked to admit. The book is a review of US presidential history, but, to me, it was dry and boring????? Can't wait to hear what my book club members have to say mañana!

  • Michelle
    2019-02-28 07:29

    I am intrigued by the lives of presidents, and this was a fascinating look at how one man, Evangelist Billy Graham, interacted with 11 of the last men in office-- beginning with Truman and ending with George W. Bush (though unfortunately there is not much on that final relationship during the presidential years, much to my disappointment, probably since W. was still in office while the book was being written).I enjoyed the way the writers put the information together to tell the story. This would be great for anyone interested in American politics in the 20th Century and how it intersected with religion.

  • Hank Pharis
    2019-02-27 11:39

    Enjoyed this one more than the last read about Graham. But a huge part of it was the reader.I'd never realized how much difference the person reading the book can make.Anyway lots of interesting details here about Graham's relationships with the Presidents.The plus side is that he has been very encouraging and supportive of all of themand was loved by most of them. The downside is that he seldom ever spokeprophetically to any of them. He did not consider this his role but when you considerthe things Nixon and Clinton for example did its remarkable how little he confrontedeither one of them.

  • Vaughn
    2019-03-12 07:47

    This was a very intriguing book that gave an amazing insight to how religion is one of the singular things that is very similar to each president. While I don't agree with Graham's feelings about religion I was immediately drawn to how the different political backgrounds regardless Reagan, Carter, Nixon, Bush Sr., Clinton and W. all found peace of mind with this one man. A great and informative read.

  • Kw
    2019-02-22 11:22

    Very interesting and informative, and I think the authors' research and objectivity are remarkable. I enjoyed seeing in detail some of the things I lived through but was unaware of - both in politics and in the spirituality of Americans throughout Billy Graham's ministry. This book is honest and not overly critical of either politicians or others, but neither are they whitewashed. I'm sure much information had to be omitted to keep this on point. Quite an impressive work.

  • Mari
    2019-02-27 14:42

    I finally finished reading this book. It was interesting but not what I was expecting. I wanted more of Billy Graham's actual thoughts but the writing was based mostly on research the authors had done rather than being based on interviews with Graham and the presidents who are still living. Overall, it was a good book and I learned much about how involved Billy Graham actually became in the political side rather than just the spiritual side of the presidents' lives.

  • Jeff
    2019-02-24 08:28

    Very interesting and very fair book about Billy Graham's relationships with US presidents. Though the authors are from the secular media rather than the Christian media, they did a very even-handed job, exploring both the spiritual and political aspects of Graham's relationships with the most powerful men in the world. They also did a good job tying in the story with the context of historical events happening in the US and the world over the past 50 years.

  • Margot Friedman
    2019-02-21 13:47

    The Preacher and the Presidents is a wonderful way to review 20th century history through the particular lense of Rev. Billy Graham's relationship with each president. It also provides an instructive outline of how the religious right gained power in America in the latter half of the 20th century. It is beautifully written and very clear.

  • Clint
    2019-03-23 11:52

    Material on presidents was excellent as it was in their book "The Presidents Club," but the authors mistakenly judged Graham by the words of columnists and other politicians instead of the general populace which has always revered him. Also, the book CD reader attempted Graham's accent, which was a horrible mistake and sounded awful.

  • Catherine
    2019-03-05 11:36

    Such a fascinating angle to learn about as influential a person as Billy Graham. To discover the depth of his relationships with various presidents (since Truman which really dates him) is to discover the ebb and flow of his identity as a Christian first, behind-the-scenes politician second. Worth reading even if just to learn more American history.

  • Nicole Marble
    2019-03-06 11:23

    How close was Billy Graham to the presidents? Billy's first encounter was with Harry Truman who thought Billy was a phoney. Then Ike found him useful. Then Nixon, who used Billy repeatedly. And Billy was astonished, he says, when he learned Nixon was a bigot and racist.This book is a fascinating look at one of the most influential Americans of the 20th century.

  • Kaye
    2019-03-14 15:49

    This book presented an amazing overview through history, highlighting Billy Graham's importance in politics and religion, while offering religious details on presidents Truman through Bush. It was well written and researched, and gave the reader the good and the bad of Graham, and how he grew as a person and a preacher.

  • Judy
    2019-03-06 10:46

    A fascinating study of the relationships between Billy Graham and all of the American presidents from Truman to George W. Who would have guessed that the only two who didn't have close relationships with him were Truman and Carter? I was particularly fascinated by the stories from the Eisenhow administration when Graham was hitting his stride and the relationship of the Bush family with Graham.

  • Bethany
    2019-03-13 15:44

    A fascinating frame for a biography of Billy Graham. Well-written and definitely worth a read for anyone interested in Graham's life and work, or in how faith has affected the recent Presidents of the United States.