A New York Times Bestseller
An Entertainment Weekly “Must Read” of Brainy & Brilliant Beach Books
A remarkable history with elements of In the President’s Secret Service and The Butler, The Residence offers an intimate account of the service staff of the White House, from the Kennedys to the Obamas.
America’s first families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the president and the first family.
These dedicated professionals maintain the six-floor mansion’s 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, 3 elevators, and 8 staircases, and prepare everything from hors d’oeuvres for intimate gatherings to meals served at elaborate state dinners. Over the course of the day, they gather in the lower level’s basement kitchen to share stories, trade secrets, forge lifelong friendships, and sometimes even fall in love.
Combining incredible first-person anecdotes from extensive interviews with scores of White House staff members—many speaking for the first time—with archival research, Kate Andersen Brower tells their story. She reveals the intimacy between the first family and the people who serve them, as well as tension that has shaken the staff over the decades. From the housekeeper and engineer who fell in love while serving President Reagan to Jackie Kennedy’s private moment of grief with a beloved staffer after her husband’s assassination to the tumultuous days surrounding President Nixon’s resignation and President Clinton’s impeachment battle, The Residence is full of surprising and moving details that illuminate day-to-day life at the White House.
“Both elegant portraiture and highly readable, important White House history…Highly recommended!”
Douglas Brinkley, New York Times bestselling author
“Prepare to encounter the motherlode: Kate Brower’s The Residence.”
“As engrossing as Downton Abbey, Brower’s book takes us into the captivating secret world.”
“The tell-all The Residence, featuring intimate anecdotes collected from past and current White House staff members, is absolutely delicious.”
“A juicy new book…[and] a touching story.”
“Although most of the interviewees keep their memories close to the vest, some share anecdotes that truly humanize their employers…from the mundane (Lyndon B. Johnson’s shower specifications) to the dramatic (Hillary Rodham Clinton’s response to her husband’s cheating scandal)…Fascinating…[with] all the intriguing vignettes.”
“Anecdotes both touching and hilarious about living and working in the White House, ‘the country’s most potent and enduring symbol of the presidency’…A work of great historical interest that is also quite entertaining.”
“This intimate portrait of what it’s like to take care of the first family is a compelling read…[and] adds unique context to understanding our presidents as human beings.”
Chuck Todd, moderator, Meet the Press
“Superbly reported…A fascinating backstage account of the world’s most famous residence.”
Judy Woodruff, anchor, PBS NewsHour
1 out of 1 (100%) recommend this productWrite a review
A fascinating look inside the White House from the staff's viewpointMay 30, 2015This book is about the people who work at the White House. It is of course fascinating to read about what the Presidents and their families were like, but also about what it is like to work in that environment. It can be very high stress and very long hours, and for the most part, the salaries are really not that great. When working there, the employees do not talk in public about what goes on there. However, Ms. Brower got a lot of former employees to open up (not all of them would). She spoke with butlers, housekeepers, chefs, and florists, among many others. However, most of them still tend to be circumspect after many years. She also spoke to former residents, including Barbara Bush, Laura Bush, Rosalynn Carter, and many of the children of first families. The focus is from the Kennedy administration to the Obama administration. There are also some comments about first families going back to the 1920's. There are often generations of family members who have worked there. People tend to stay there across many administrations. There are sections discussing what it was like to work there during crises such as the Kennedy assassination, Watergate and Nixon’s resignation, and 9/11. The most-loved President and First Lady were George H.W. and Barbara Bush. They were very down-to-earth and caring and the staff felt like family. The two worst to work for by far were Lyndon B. Johnson and Nancy Reagan. The Obamas are friendly and polite, but definitely keep it businesslike. Ronald Reagan was so friendly and talkative, that staff would sometimes hide when they saw him coming, because he would talk to them for so long that they would get behind in their work. This is a thoroughly entertaining book, written in a conversational style. Karen White provides excellent narration.
Karen White is a classically trained actress who has been recording audiobooks since 1999. An Audie Award finalist, she has earned numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her reading of The Hemingses of Monticello by Annette Gordon-Reed was named one of AudioFile’s Best Audiobooks of 2009.
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- Publisher: HarperCollins
- Genre: Nonfiction/History
- ISBN-13: 9780062373892