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
Branch Call Number: 975.3 B87716r 2015
Characteristics: x, 309 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm

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Indoorcamping
Oct 30, 2017

Even if you think you're not all that interested in politics or presidents, it's fascinating to hear the stories of those who get things done in the most important place in the nation. The narration is amazing, meandering through history and presidents and First Ladies through the eyes of the "help" and by that I mean the people who are there to not see anything but do everything.

This is the perfect path to understanding how the first families lived and how our country's leaders view us regular people. Every president's family seems to respond to the racial/class division in a completely different way. Some seem families seem kind of like all rich, entitled people (Nancy Reagan, I'm looking at you). Other families seem like people you'd do anything for, and would love to have in your life. All the people who tell these stories are the real heroes: they are the ones who have made our country truly great.

The most humble, selfless of us are the ones whose stories we rarely hear, yet those are the best and most honest, real, memorable stories of all.

Beautifully written. Picked it up every chance I got while watching distracted toddlers. Couldn't stop, even with play-doh all over everywhere.

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.

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