The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House

Harper. Apr. 2015. 320p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780062305190. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062305213. HIST
America's first families have long been a source of fascination for the people of the United States, yet we rarely get a chance to glimpse anything but their professional and often stoic personalities. Journalist Brower, who spent four years covering the White House for Bloomberg News, explores the personal lives of American presidential families using stories from people who connect with them on a regular basis—the White House domestic staff. Her book provides a day-to-day look at the lives of maids, butlers, maitre d's, ushers, and chefs, as well as at their interactions with the presidents, first ladies, and first children they served. Although most of the interviewees keep their memories close to the vest, some share anecdotes that truly humanize their employers. Brower discusses everything that happens behind closed doors in the White House, from the mundane (Lyndon B. Johnson's shower specifications) to the dramatic (Hillary Rodham Clinton's response to her husband's cheating scandal).
VERDICT Fans of Downton Abbey will find this look into the secret world of the White House fascinating. History buffs who would like to learn more about the personal lives of the presidents and their families will definitely enjoy all the intriguing vignettes.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing