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First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Best Friends Hardcover – January 8, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1st edition (January 8, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565121430
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565121430
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,260,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

From Washington's foxhound to Clinton's Labrador--and every imaginable breed in between--the presidential pooches have faithfully stood by their masters through good times and bad, successfully endearing themselves to millions of people along the way. In First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Best Friends, Roy Rowan (correspondent for Life, Time, and Fortune) and photojournalist Brooke Janis take an entertaining look at presidential history from a dog's point of view. Highlighting the "four-footed goodwill ambassadors" who have, over the years, not only humanized their distinguished masters, but also played political roles--both in gaining votes and boosting their bosses' popularity--this "lighthearted romp through American history" introduces such memorable characters as FDR's Scottie, Fala, who attended the signing of the Atlantic Charter aboard the cruiser Augusta; Millie, Bush's springer spaniel, who dictated her own bestselling memoir; and Lincoln's mongrel, Fido, who sadly suffered the same fate as his master.

Charming historic and contemporary photographs as well as numerous line drawings accompany the engaging anecdotes, making this a perfect choice for both dog and history lovers alike. Guaranteed to be more fun than you can shake a stick at! --Stefanie Hargreaves

From Booklist

The Clintons don't have one, which makes them one of the few presidential families not to have canine companions in the White House. Readers will be amazed at how dog crazy most of our chief executives have been. "Since the first days of the Union, our presidents have been measured in part by the canine company they keep," insist the authors of this string of heartwarming anecdotes about first dogs. Of all the engaging stories told here, perhaps the most poignant is the one about the time FDR's Scottie, named Fala, attempted to accompany his master to the third inaugural ceremonies; banished by the Secret Service, Fala sulked for a few days and then ran away (but he was found and brought back). Some White House dogs could never fit into the manners of official life, but others, such as Harding's Airedale, Laddie Boy, became out-and-out White House celebrities. Not an essential library purchase, but an enjoyable one for dog lovers. Smithsonian will run an excerpt in its June issue. Brad Hooper

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By happy reader VINE VOICE on December 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My whole family has enjoyed this book. My grandchildren pick it up every time they're here. I leave it on the coffee table so that friends who stop by can see it. It makes a hit with everyone. It's even more fun right now while our new president and his little girls are (as this is written)trying to decide on a dog to move into the White House ....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brandy on August 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Calling all dog lovers--you know who you are!! Find your favorite easy chair and have your best friend fetch your slippers, then sit back and enjoy a wonderful read. Great fun for all ages with a little bit of history thrown in. Highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
Everything's up to date in White House dogdom now that Roy Rowan and Brooke Janis have updated their celebrated history of American presidents' canine pets. Prime examples of four-legged fealty to chief executives (most of the time), beginning with George Washington's hunting hounds, have been supplemented by George W. Bush's Scottish terrier Barney, whom the 43rd president called "the son I never had," and the Obamas' Bo. The incumbent presidential dog was the subject of an unprecedented search. "At first," the authors wrote, the president "seemed to favor an underdog. He mentioned the possibility of canvassing canine shelters for a mixed breed or, as he put it, for a 'mutt like me.'"
Because of daughter Malia's allergies the Obamas narrowed the field to non-shredders, a Labradoodle (part Labrador retriever, part poodle) and a Portuguese water dog. "This has been tougher than finding a commerce secretary," Obama said. If such humor seemed questionable to some, the authors did not agree. "Let's face it, all the speculation provided a little doggone fun at a somber period when it was badly needed." After the Obamas decided on a Portuguese water dog--a strong, smart and loyal breed that the American Kennel Club says can "swim all day"--Senator Ted and Victoria Kennedy purchased a six-month-old brother of their own"Portie" for Malia and her sister, Sasha. Originally named Amigo's New Hope, the dog was sensibly rechristened Bo by the girls.
"Remember what Cal Coolidge said," the authors concluded: 'Any man who does not like dogs,' and then he specifically added, 'and want them about, First Dogs American Presidents and Their Best Friendsdoes not deserve to be in the White House.'" Norm Ritter
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By TxLdy on July 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good read. Not rocket science but it was entertaining and gave some insight into the lives of their masters.
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By Mark O. Kelly on June 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Get a little history of the dogs of the white house. This book is a fun and funny to read!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My cousin loved it. The quality of the book which was a "used" book was in excellent shape. It's a keeper!
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