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America's First Families: An Inside View of 200 Years of Private Life in the White House (Lisa Drew Books) First Edition Edition

10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0684864426
ISBN-10: 0684864428
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America's First Families: An Inside View of 200 Years of Private Life in the White House (Lisa Drew Books) + All the Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America's First Families
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Anthony, a veteran historian of presidential wives (Florence Harding, etc.), has penned this delightful volume of the lives of those first families who have occupied the White House to coincide with the residence's 200th anniversary. Since John Adams, his wife, Abigail, and their extended family arrived at their new home in November 1800, 40 other presidential families have endeavored, with varying success, to maintain some degree of privacy while they lived in the White House fishbowl. Drawing on extensive research, the author provides a wealth of entertaining anecdotes and trivia that illuminates the ups and downs of their lives, both public and private. Anthony covers topics such as family members , religion, recreation, hospitality, holidays and working at home. While many storiesDfor example, Richard Nixon's penchant for lighting a fire while the air conditioning was onDhave been cited elsewhere, Anthony recounts many lesser-known ones. He relates, for instance, that John and Jackie Kennedy often locked themselves in a bedroom together for an intimate hour after lunch (his many affairs notwithstanding). We learn, too, that Harry Truman's mother-in-law was an unrepentant anti-Semite who wouldn't allow his Jewish friends to enter her home, and that visits from Lyndon Johnson's grandson provided emotional therapy for the president during the embattled end of his term. Illustrated with more than 300 photos and packed with loads of tidbits about first families, this intimate miscellany is great for browsing; those who like their history light and easy will want this for their coffee table. Author tour to presidential libraries and museums across the country.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

From John and Abigail Adams in 1800 to Bill and Hillary Clinton, Americans have been fascinated with the private lives of the inhabitants of the White House. Anthony's book records the behind-the-scene lives of American presidents and their families with photographs, drawings, and letters from newspapers, library archives, and private collections. The book is organized to record the first days of First Families from inauguration to early life in the White House, relationships within First Families, and the White House as home office and family home. Anthony recalls the celebrations, tragedies, and public scrutiny of the families. He notes the traditions set by succeeding families: Dwight Eisenhower, the first president to kiss his wife at inauguration; Lady Bird Johnson, the first wife to hold the Bible as her husband took the oath of office. Anthony includes listings of family christenings, marriages, deaths, religious affiliations, favorite family games, and leisure activities. The publication of this book coincides with the bicentennial of the White House. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Lisa Drew Books
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; First Edition edition (November 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684864428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684864426
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,308,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 85 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book yesterday and I can't put it down. It is filled with great pictures and stories of the forty-one famlies who lived in the White House. This is a great source of presidential trivia and provides a human element to the most famous family in America. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in American history and the lives of the presidents.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By David E. Levine on April 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book gives an insight into the private lives of the first families. We learn about their extended families, hobbies, illnesses, preparations for leaving the White House when their terms are completed, etc. The pictures are what really makes this book great. We see Lyndon Johnson in bed with his wife watching tv and we see the older George Bush in bed too (can you imagine Nixon or Clinton letting down his guard like this?). We see Gerald Ford in his bathrobe. If you always wanted to see such a sight, there is a photo of Eleanor Roosevelt in a bathing suit and a rare photo of Franklin in shorts with his polio ravaged legs exposed to the camera. We see painful personal moments such as the famous photo of Nixon hugging his daughter Julie when he made the decision to resign. In short this is, at times, a very rare personal and intimate glimpse into the lives of the first families. I enjoyed it and recommend it highly.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Otis E. Vanhorne on January 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating book. It is a wonderful compendium of trivia, probably not available in any other volume. It contains a wonderful assortment of pictures of First Families, some of which have never before been published. The book is well organized into chapters detailing various aspects of the Presidential families' lives and activities. for me, one of its prime attractions is that it does not include the politics or issues of the President's era.

At times, it is a little confusing, because the author skips from one family to another rather abruptly, so it requires a little getting used to in order to follow the narrative.

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in the social and "human" aspects of the White House families.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Book Worm on February 21, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Short snapshots of the fist families and how time has changed the way the White House is perceived. Not too wordy and some great photo's. Alth ough not the size of a coffe table book, It is a book I will have out for others to pick up and read a chapter or two. Because of it's format you can easily jump around and read what intersts you at the moment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Natuzzi on September 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enjoyed reading this book, learning some interesting tidbits about our previous Presidents.
However, it is set up by subjects rather than names so it's a little hard to keep straight
the information about a given person or family. Still liked it, tho.
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