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The White House in Miniature Hardcover – October 17, 1994
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What does it take to spend more than three decades on a model of the White House? For the Zweifel family along with hundreds of volunteers, the expenditure of a half million hours was more than a patriotic mission. This book also tells the story of the maneuvering and perseverance necessary to obtain the permissions and money necessary to reproduce the inside and outside of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue with absolute precision and fidelity. Color photographs of more than 30 well-known White House rooms, from the Oval Office to Lincoln's bedroom, capture the details of craftsmanship. The text explains not only the historical background of each room, but also the feats and talent required to build miniatures. Barbara Jacobs
From Kirkus Reviews
No doubt about it--this book, which presents (with infinite care) the miniature White House constructed by John and Jan Zweifel (with more than infinite care), is astonishing. The miniature White House, built on a one-foot-to-one-inch scale, is beyond astonishing, replicating each room of the real White House down to floral arrangements, dining services, and, when possible, hand carvings on table legs. Kathleen Culbert-Aguilar's photographs (accompanied by Cooper Union professor Buckland's text) seem designed to accomplish two things: first, to allow us access to places, like the Reagans' bedroom, not included in the normal White House tour; second, to make us wonder at the craftsmanship of the replica. This she does by means of clever interventions like putting a real poker hand (a full house) in the model Green Room. The persistence of the Zweifels, who first got the Kennedy administration interested in the project but weren't allowed into the White House to take the necessary measurements and pictures until the Ford administration (Gerald Ford and his wife contribute the foreword), is boggling. But isn't this fetishistic reverence for executive wallpaper also a bit perverse? What does it mean that we want to banish the presidency to Lilliput? And how come there aren't any toilets? -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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This is a great book to use as a conversation piece on a table or, just to have as a guide for ideas in creating your own miniature creation. If this model ever goes on a display tour again, it would be worth a trip to see.