From Publishers Weekly
correspondent Angelo (First Mothers: The Women Who Shaped the Presidents
) makes the lives of those who either loved or loathed their sojourns in the White House as irresistible as a gossip column. Although some of her stories are well known—such as Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt's distant relationship and Nancy Reagan's devotion to her husband—Angelo has gleaned fresh nuggets from history as well as her personal contacts from a long journalistic career. Andrew Jackson, for example, gave an eight-year-old slave as a christening gift to a relative named after his deceased, beloved wife. President Taft was so fat he got stuck in the presidential bathtub. Lemonade Lucy Hayes banned alcohol at state dinners, but she was undermined by rum punch hidden in platters of oranges. Angelo is particularly skilled at describing the difficulties White House children, including Lyndon Johnson's daughters and Amy Carter, had adjusting to life in a fish bowl. Angelo does, however, ramble, with loosely organized subjects rather than a chronological narrative, and doesn't anchor less familiar figures, like the families of presidents Polk and Pierce, in historical context. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The acclaimed author of First Mothers
(2000) returns to the White House to provide an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of extended presidential families. Focusing on how 43 diverse family units managed to transform a national monument into a family home, Time
correspondent and former White House reporter Angelo opts for a subject arrangement rather than a chronological one. Various chapters center on entering and exiting the White House, growing up in the public eye, dealing with the media, entertaining on a grand scale, conducting a courtship or a love affair in a fishbowl, enduring family trials and tragedies, and suffering the slings and arrows of public and private contempt. Stretching back and forth through time, she covers more than 200 years of American history, popular culture, and presidential trivia. Relying heavily on the recollections and memoirs of presidential family members, White House staff, and D.C. journalists, this chatty slice of Americana is chock-full of fun First Family facts. Margaret FlanaganCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved