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Chief Executive Hideaways
on December 3, 2012
`Presidential Retreats' has good and bad points. It is an interesting book, but also a disappointing one. It has a map of the US with the retreats marked, most of them being in the eastern half of the country. It covers the presidents from Washington to Obama and has a chapter on Camp David.
The huge disappointment is not in having photographs of most of the buildings. There are 8 pages of black and white photos included; but even then - one shows the bed Washington died in, one has a picture of the statue of Lincoln and his horse that stands in front of his cottage at the Old Soldiers' Home - it doesn't even show the cottage in the background , but the Soldiers' Home, another has Truman getting off of a ship he used to travel on, and another has Reagan signing a bill - not exactly illuminating when one would like to see what these retreats looked like.
The write up on each president really has more on their administration and politics than their retreat. Information on the retreats and address, phone numbers are given of those open to the public and an explanation of those that do not exist anymore. The latest presidents usually have information on their presidential libraries, rather than the retreats.
The text is interesting, but there should have been a focus on the retreats and what happened there, rather than the president's politics. Some retreats were even left out, for example Rapidan, the retreat used by Franklin Roosevelt and Hoover, located in Shenandoah National Park and is one that is open to the public. The subject of the book had great promise, but the result leaves much to be desired.