Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on February 16, 2020
At 3 stars (+ 1/2), I enjoyed this book. Written by the Chief Usher of the White House, J. B. West, it follows the lives of the Roosevelts, Trumans, Eisenhowers, Johnsons, Kennedys, and briefly the Nixons, during their time in the White House. Mr. West supervised a large staff and was responsible for every aspect of the first families’ lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, everything from state functions to major renovations when the White House was literally falling down. He and his staff were responsible for every special request of these families, and they had many. I was most impressed by the respect he showed for these families, especially the first ladies, while always being discreet without criticism or judgement. He simply wrote about what he witnessed and experienced. We got to know these women as they grew into their role and made the White House a home for their families. These were my favorite parts of the book. There was much detail regarding decorating schemes, table settings, fabric selections, engineering specifics about the renovations, to name just a few. At times I found it all fascinating; other times I skimmed. He could be quite witty at times, but in other places a little dry. I don’t think it’s a book for everyone, but my guess is it’s typical of the time it was written. It gives us pieces of history that are not always captured by historians.
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Product Details

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
4,713 customer ratings