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
, 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
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