- Hardcover: 280 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (February 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594518335
- ISBN-13: 978-1594518331
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,546,986 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Family of Freedom: Presidents and African Americans in the White House 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
The election of Barack Obama has been viewed by many as a definitive statement on America's tumultuous history with race relations. From its beginning, America has had a complex, some would say schizophrenic, relationship to race—a fledgling democracy espousing equality that also placed a fractional value on black people and based a good deal of its agricultural industry on slave labor. Walsh (From Mount Vernon to Crawford) draws on his extensive experience covering the White House as a journalist to examine the history of the presidency through the lens of the African-American experience—from slavery through civil rights. He explores the difference between the race rhetoric and policy accomplishments of presidents Washington, Wilson, Truman, the Roosevelts, Obama and others. In the case of contemporary presidents (the Bushes, Reagan, Clinton, Obama) he discusses how their private interactions with White House staff compare to policy. The result is a narrowly focused, compelling history of race relations in American politics. Readers interested in the history of the presidency, White House, and civil rights will find much of interest in Walsh's well-researched study. (Feb.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A keen sense of presidential history combined with meticulous reporting have been hallmarks of Ken Walsh's work. This book brings to life intimate and meaningful moments shared between American presidents and the African Americans who have worked closely with them. He sheds a first light on countless remarkable moments and contributions. Those privileged to work in and around the White House have benefited immeasurably from the dedication of the people featured in this volume and have stood on their shoulders. How these stories were pried loose may be a tale in itself.”
―Thurgood Marshall Jr., former senior White House advisor to President Bill Clinton and principal of Bingham Consulting Group
"Walsh draws on his extensive experience covering the White House as a journalist to examine the history of the presidency through the lens of the African American experience―from slavery through civil rights. The result is a compelling history of race relations in American politics. Readers interested in the history of the presidency, White House, and civil rights will find much of interest in Walsh's well-researched study."
“Walsh draws on the telling memoirs and recollections of the domestic staff as a window onto the personal behavior of presidents and first ladies . . . underscor[ing] the cumulative consequences of more than two centuries of slavery and racial segregation as evident in fractured politics, distorted historical memories, and persistent racial divisions and inequities.”
―The Washington Post
“A solid summary of black history as it relates to the executive mansion.”
“Ken Walsh knows the White House better than most of the reporters who cover it, and here he gives us a rich history about that place that factors in the uniquely American subject of race. Our history is so affected by race but little do people know about folks who are black who made such an impact on a house called White. Ken’s work will give them fresh insights at a time when we are all stirred by a White House newly and profoundly integrated for the first time in our history.”
―Mike McCurry, former White House Press Secretary for Bill Clinton and principal of Public Strategies Washington
“Kenneth Walsh has established himself as a leading American presidential historian on such subjects as the press and family homes. Family of Freedom takes on the controversial topic of presidential attitudes and policies toward race. Its anecdotes are fascinating, but there will be critics. So read it carefully and check your blood pressure from time to time.”
―Marlin Fitzwater, former White House Press Secretary under presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush
"Ken Walsh has conducted us into a unique and fascinating corner of American history, the long and continuous connection between African Americans and the White House. The very obvious presence of the presidential mansion's current resident is only a small part of the story, although Walsh's interviews with President Obama are rich and revealing. Bringing to this book an instinct that comes from having long covered the White House along with a keen appreciation of history, Ken Walsh tells us a stirring and often touching American story.”
―Ross K. Baker, Rutgers University
"What a fascinating read. Ken Walsh's Family of Freedom is a deeply illuminating look at how African Americans have interacted with the White House since the dark days of slavery to Barack Obama's ascendancy as our 44th president. Walsh does a marvelous job of tracing the currents of every era. An essential book for everybody's library."
―Douglas Brinkley, Rice University
Top customer reviews
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Concluding with a telling and in-depth interview of the President himself, Walsh covers every aspect of this country's controversial and troubling relationship with deep racial bias and bigotry in a direct, heartful and personal writing style. This book should be required reading for younger generations of Americans, who now may have a chance to experience what it means to be the citizen of a country where people are able to live up to an ideal that even the founding fathers, themselves, could never fully grasp, let alone experience. I found Mr. Walsh's "Family of Freedom" to be a superlative resource on the racial history of the White House.
not only worked in the White House from its
very beginning, but also helped to build it.
He then recounts how black Americans contributed
to the expansion of the nation's spiritual and
philosophical horizons to the point where it
could elect a black American president.