First Friends by: Gary Ginsberg In the bestselling tradition of The Presidents Club and Presidential Courage, White House history as told through the stories of the best friends and closest confidants of American presidents.


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FIRST FRIENDS captures the riveting histories of myriad presidential friendships, among them:

  • Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed: They shared a bed for four years during which Speed saved his friend from a crippling depression. Two decades later the friends worked together to save the Union.
  • Harry Truman and Eddie Jacobson: When Truman wavered on whether to recognize the state of Israel in 1948, his lifelong friend and former business partner intervened at just the right moment with just the right words to steer the president’s decision.
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Daisy Suckley: Unassuming and overlooked during her lifetime, Daisy Suckley was in reality FDR’s most trusted, constant confidant, the respite for a lonely and overworked President navigating the Great Depression and World War II
  • John Kennedy and David Ormsby-Gore: They met as young men in pre-war London and began a conversation over the meaning of leadership. A generation later the Cuban Missile Crisis would put their ideas to test as Ormsby-Gore became the president’s unofficial, but most valued foreign policy advisor.

These and other friendships—including Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Franklin Pierce and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Bill Clinton and Vernon Jordan—populate this fresh and provocative exploration of a series of seminal presidential friendships.

Publishing history teems with books by and about Presidents, First Ladies, First Pets, and even First Chefs. Now former Clinton aide Gary Ginsberg breaks new literary ground on Pennsylvania Avenue and provides fresh insights into the lives of the men who held the most powerful political office in the world by looking at the friends on whom they relied.

FIRST FRIENDS is an engaging, serendipitous look into the lives of Commanders-in-Chief and how their presidencies were shaped by those they held most dear.

Gary Ginsberg

gary ginsbergGary Ginsberg grew up in Buffalo New York, home to two US presidents. A lawyer by training, he has spent his professional career at the intersection of media, politics, and law. He worked for the Clinton administration, was a senior editor and counsel at the political magazine George, and then spent the next two decades in executive positions in media and technology at News Corporation, Time Warner and SoftBank. He has published pieces in the the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and was an on-air political contributor in the early days of MSNBC. He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons. First Friends is his first book.

Contact Us

Gary Ginsberg is available for select speaking engagements. To inquire, please contact Jayme Boucher, Hachette Speakers Bureau at [email protected] or 212-364-1286.


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