The Residence

The Residence

Inside the Private World of the White House

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
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America's First Families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the President and First Family. These dedicated professionals maintain the six-floor mansion's 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, three elevators, and eight staircases, and prepare everything from hors d'oeuvres for intimate gatherings to meals served at elaborate state dinners. Over the course of the day, they gather in the lower level's basement kitchen to share stories, trade secrets, forge lifelong friendships, and sometimes even fall in love. Combining first-person anecdotes from extensive interviews with scores of White House staff members with archival research, Kate Andersen Brower tells their story. She reveals the intimacy between the First Family and the people who serve them, as well as tension that has shaken the staff over the decades. From the housekeeper and engineer who fell in love while serving President Reagan to Jackie Kennedy's private moment of grief with a beloved staffer after her husband's assassination to the tumultuous days surrounding President Nixon's resignation and President Clinton's impeachment battle, The Residence is full of surprising and moving details that illuminate day-to-day life at the White House.
Publisher: New York :, Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, [2015]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062305190
0062305190
9780062305206
Characteristics: x, 309 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm

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b
bookbabe13
Feb 10, 2017

Terrific book. Great insight into a hidden world.

AL_HANNAH Jan 05, 2017

Such an amazing piece of history, that we don't really know much about.

An enlightening and entertaining glimpse into the daily workings of the White House. Firsthand accounts from many existing long time staff as well as retired staff offer unique insights into the presidential families that have resided in the White House over the past five decades.

JCLMaryanaK Nov 03, 2016

Brower's "The Residence" reveals the inner workings of the White House residence quarters told through the stories of the service staff. The narratives are informative of the many details and challenges facing both the staff and first families, many of which are surprising. Although I enjoyed a glimpse at the personalities and quirks of various presidents and first families, I would agree with other reviewers about the author's writing style being not very engaging. Still worth a read.

AL_KATI Oct 21, 2016

Who doesn't want to read about what goes on behind the doors of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave? I do!

m
mstenby
Oct 09, 2016

Some very interesting stories, but it's thrown together in no logical order. The ridiculously long 28-page introduction is boring and unnecessary.

s
singasong70
Aug 16, 2016

Interesting, hard to follow at times; kept checking author's bio because, as others have noted, writing style not particularly engaging.

c
cat_22
Jul 17, 2016

I don't really care for this author's writing style. It is very chopping and non-engaging to the reader. She jumps back and forth constantly between Presidents whereas I think the book would have flowed better had she discussed each one in chronological order.

k
krae21
Jul 12, 2016

Listened to this on a car trip. Seemed a bit repetitive, but it was fascinating to get a glimpse at the lives of the people who support our first families.

b
BlueHippo
Jan 31, 2016

Not particularly well-written. Not well organized. The author tries to organize the book along subject areas, but it makes for kind of a chaotic piece. Would have been better done historically, by administration. The writing is pretty clumsy. Hard to believe this woman was a high-level journalist (ah, maybe she isn't one any more - and the way this book is written will tell you why!). That said, there are some fascinating details of like in the White House. Like how much of the stuff the First Family must pay for themselves! WOW! And if you think America does not have "Royalty", just read this book. The demands that some of the Presidents and First Ladies have put on this staff make some of the English and European Kings and Queens look like nothing! It was actually kind of embarrassing to read how shamefully some of these Presidents and First ladies treated the staff. Clearly some of these Presidents and First Ladies need a lesson in priorities and what's really important in life-having your little porcelain eggs put back in exactly the same spot (to the inch) every time the table is dusted is indicative of a self-centered person who needs to get a life. As is treating these people on the staff as though they have no other family or any life outside that house. Pretty disgusting for the First Family of a country that calls itself a democracy. Some of the info on the Regan years is interesting - Ronnie was pretty henpecked!

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