The most famous house in the United States serves as both private home and public domain. Every year brings an assortment of international dignitaries, down-home performers, local civic events, and family meals. Encompassing both rich historic tradition and modern lifestyles, the White House is a national symbol of pride in our distinct culture. An Invitation to the White House
brings together detailed history and recent events with style. Each page is covered with lush photographs; some are public displays of formal greetings and gift exchanges, while others are obviously personal family snapshots from the Clintons' collection. From Chelsea showing her young cousin the family Christmas tree to Bill and Hillary listening raptly to a speech by Stephen Hawking, you'll find shots showing every facet of life at the White House. Many photos are devoted to showing the house "behind the scenes," and they present us with details like flower arrangements, plate garnishings, and delicate calligraphy for the place cards at formal dinners.
The accompanying text by Hillary Rodham Clinton is written with a pleasing mixture of fine detail--"Mrs. Barak and I did not stay awake as late as our husbands did"--and general sociopolitical commentary such as "The unified stance solidified that weekend was yet another reminder of the importance of NATO's alliance." Food is an important part of this book, and many sample menus have been included in full. The last chapter is filled with delightful recipes from the White House chefs, and includes such treats as new potatoes with lobster and bacon, hot pumpkin soup, and mocha cake. Whether you're a history buff, a die-hard Democrat, or just a fan of vivid coffee-table books, An Invitation to the White House is the next best thing to an actual visit. --Jill Lightner
Here's a Rorschach test for your library's patrons: a gorgeously illustrated celebration of the White House's 200th anniversary, a celebration chock-full of pictures of that Arkansas couple some of us love to love and others love to hate. Like Jackie Kennedy's TV tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Clinton's book describes recent refurbishment projects. The volume supplies behind-the-scenes photos of the First Family and the White House staff. It also includes pictures of the wide range of events--state visits by foreign dignitaries, art exhibitions and musical performances, award ceremonies, substantive conferences, and public events such as the annual Easter Egg Roll, holiday celebrations, and millennium ceremonies--that take place there. The final 90 pages record "Recipes from the White House Kitchen," from herbed tomato frittata to a powerful eggnog. There's plenty of useful information here, including a detailed description of a state visit by Czech Republic president Vaclav Havel, which runs from planning through arrival and meetings to dinner and dancing. Modestly priced for its size, the volume includes a brief introduction by historian Carl Sferrazza Anthony and a foreword by J. Carter Brown, treasurer of the White House Historical Association (which will receive all author proceeds; the publisher will donate a portion of its profits to the National Park Foundation). Appropriate for all libraries, but likely to be vandalized where particularly rabid "Foes of Bill" dominate. Mary CarrollCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved