In this New York Times bestseller, the White House chief usher for nearly three decades offers a behind-the-scenes look at America’s first families. J. B. West, chief usher of the White House, directed the operations and maintenance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—and coordinated its daily life—at the request of the president and his family. He directed state functions; planned parties, weddings and funerals, gardens and playgrounds, and extensive renovations; and, with a large staff, supervised every activity in the presidential home. For twenty-eight years, first as assistant to the chief usher, then as chief usher, he witnessed national crises and triumphs, and interacted daily with six consecutive presidents and first ladies, as well as their parents, children and grandchildren, and houseguests—including friends, relatives, and heads of state. J. B. West, whom Jackie Kennedy called “one of the most extraordinary men I have ever met,” provides an absorbing, one-of-a-kind history of life among the first ladies. Alive with anecdotes ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt’s fascinating political strategies to Jackie Kennedy’s tragic loss and the personal struggles of Pat Nixon, Upstairs at the White House is a rich account of a slice of American history that usually remains behind closed doors.
upstairs at the white house
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PLEASE NOTE: This is a summary and analysis of the book and NOT the original book. Upstairs at the White House by J. B. West - A 15-minute Summary & AnalysisInside this Instaread: • Summary of entire book • Introduction to the important people in the book • Analysis of the themes, important people and author style Preview of this Instaread:Summary: J.B. West chronicles his career at the White House and gives an inside look at the six first ladies he served, first as an assistant and then as the chief usher, or general manager, of the dozens of housekeepers, maids, cooks, butlers, gardeners, plumbers, handymen and other staff it takes to keep the White House running. The chief usher manages the household budget, sees to the housing and comfort of guests, supervises the mail operation and oversees maintenance and remodeling. The job title is a leftover from a time when the chief usher actually did usher in visitors to the White House. West never expected to work at the White House. He worked at the veterans administration when he was loaned to President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt when they needed extra help because they had so many guests and hosted so many events. West ended up staying until he…
Now including an excerpt from THE DEVIL'S MERCEDES: The Bizarre and Disturbing Adventures of Hitler's Limousine in America by Robert Klara. Coming March 2017. Critically acclaimed author Robert Klara leads readers through an unmatched tale of political ambition and technical skill: the Truman administration's controversial rebuilding of the White House. In 1948, President Harry Truman, enjoying a bath on the White House's second floor, almost plunged through the ceiling of the Blue Room into a tea party for the Daughters of the American Revolution. A handpicked team of the country's top architects conducted a secret inspection of the troubled mansion and, after discovering it was in imminent danger of collapse, insisted that the First Family be evicted immediately. What followed would be the most historically significant and politically complex home-improvement job in American history. While the Trumans camped across the street at Blair House, Congress debated whether to bulldoze the White House completely, and the Soviets exploded their first atomic bomb, starting the Cold War. Indefatigable researcher Robert Klara reveals what has, until now, been little understood about this episode: America's most famous historic home was basically demolished, giving birth to today's White House. Leaving only the mansion's facade untouched, workmen gutted everything within, replacing it with a steel frame and a complex labyrinth deep below ground that soon came to include a top-secret nuclear fallout shelter, The story of Truman's rebuilding of the White House is a snapshot of postwar America and its first Cold War leader, undertaking a job that changed the centerpiece of the country's national heritage. The job was by no means perfect, but it was remarkable—and, until now, all but forgotten.
White House Secrets is a dizzying account of the goofs and antics of a political appointee's wife, galloping through social and political scenes. Though an embarrassment to her husband, she is an unsung hero for stopping an assassin's bullet, tackling a terrorist, and saving the homeless.
Curtis Roosevelt knew what it was like to live with a president. His grandfather was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. From the time Curtis, with his sister, Eleanor, and recently divorced mother, Anna Roosevelt Dall, moved into his grandparents' new home--the White House--Curtis played, learned, slept, ate, and lived in one of the most famous buildings in the world with one of its most famous residents. Curtis Roosevelt offers anecdotes and revelations about the lives of the president and First Lady and the many colorful personalities in this presidential family. From Eleanor's shocking role in the remarriage of Curtis's mother to visits from naughty cousins and trips to the "Home Farm," Upstairs at the Roosevelts' provides an intimate perspective on the dynamics of one of America's most famous families and those who visited, were friends, and sometimes even enemies.
Why is entertaining at the White House important to a presidency? How are guest lists and seating charts for state dinners determined? Is it difficult to throw a surprise party for the commander-in-chief? What role do children play during holidays at the White House? Former first lady Nancy Reagan answers these questions and more as she provides a personal look at life as a White House hostess in this stunning, richly illustrated book. Carrying on a tradition that dates back to 1801, Mrs. Reagan embraced this role with a unique energy and joie de vivre rare among her predecessors. During the course of President Reagan's two terms in office, the Reagans hosted fifty-five state dinners and hundreds of other events, both intimate and grand. "It was a vital part of our roles as president and first lady," recalls Mrs. Reagan. "And it was a duty that we enjoyed immensely." From her first private event as a White House hostess (President Reagan's surprise seventieth birthday party, which was mistakenly announced by Tom Brokaw on the Today show that very morning), to the state dinner with Mikhail Gorbachev that marked the unofficial end of the Cold War, to John Travolta's surprise dance with Diana, Princess of Wales, Mrs. Reagan has seen it all.
It was a sad generation that limped past 1865. Almost every family had been touched by death, and many had been torn apart as sons, brothers, and fathers chose different sides in the Civil War. Murder at Fords Theatre is a history of an assassination with the Civil War as its tragic backdrop and with characters to match this tragedy. There was Lewis Paine, the devoted follower and David Herold who wanted desperately to belong and lose his reputation as an untrustworthy loafer. There are tragic failures of Mary Surratt and Dr. Samuel Mudd, as well as Abraham Lincoln, unappreciated by the public until his martyrdom. Lincoln refused security and put himself in harms way. Harm came in the form of John Wilkes Booth, an acclaimed actor, who wanted to save his beloved South and believed there was only one way to accomplish his goal. Booth had grown up with his own demons--depression and odd behavior were part of his family background. His darker side was hate. When the war broke out, Booth took up the southern cause -- the rest of the family sided with the North. Lincoln was a perfect object for Booths hatred. He suspended Habeas Corpus, put many anti-war advocates in jail, continued the war with its grisly pile of human deaths, refused to negotiate a treaty, and wrote Emancipation Proclamation. Booth, who had spent the war in a noncombat position at the behest of his mother, received news of the end of the war with increased anger. Soon it would be too late to become a hero. His hasty and disorganized plan to assassinate Lincoln went awry. Booth did shoot Lincoln, but during his escape he broke his ankle, an injury that slowed him and led to his capture and death. Only the Bible has been written about more than the Civil War, and the assassination of Lincoln is a part of that story. This is that story.
From Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball and NBC's The Chris Matthews Show, and New York Times bestselling author of Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think, comes a definitive work on the lifeblood of America -- its enduring spirit. People have often wondered what makes America truly great. With a citizenry of vastly different races, religions, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds, what intangible bond unites and defines us as "Americans"? In his own inimitable style, Chris Matthews offers a portrait of a country born of contradictions. We are a people reluctant to fight, who become ferocious when threatened or attacked. We are a deeply practical nation, yet we stand as the world's great optimists. Inherently suspicious of governmental power, we still embrace our flag in times of danger. Fiercely independent, in love with freedom, and eager to face the future, we are like no other people on earth. Matthews asserts that our greatest strength is a set of distinct notions that comprise our national character. The self-made man. The reluctant warrior. The lone hero. We celebrate them in our popular culture and throughout our history, from 1776 to 9/11. In American, Matthews explores the best America stands for and portrays our country as a beacon for the modern world -- unafraid of challenges, moving ever forward, and ready and willing to prevail.