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The President's House

1800 to the Present The Secrets and History of the World's Most Famous Home

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


As Margaret Truman knows from firsthand experience, living in the White House can be exhilarating and maddening, alarming and exhausting–but it is certainly never dull. Part private residence, part goldfish bowl, and part national shrine, the White House is both the most important address in America and the most intensely scrutinized. In this splendid blend of the personal and historic, Margaret Truman offers an unforgettable tour of “the president’s house” across the span of two centuries.

Opened (though not finished) in 1800 and originally dubbed a “palace,” the White House has been fascinating from day one. In Thomas Jefferson’s day, it was a reeking construction site where congressmen complained of the hazards of open rubbish pits. Andrew Jackson’s supporters, descending twenty thousand strong from the backwoods of Kentucky and Tennessee, nearly destroyed the place during his first inaugural. Teddy Roosevelt expanded it, Jackie Kennedy and Pat Nixon redecorated it. Through all the vicissitudes of its history, the White House has transformed the characters, and often the fates, of its powerful occupants.

In The President’s House, Margaret Truman takes us behind the scenes, into the deepest recesses and onto the airiest balconies, as she reveals what it feels like to live in the White House. Here are hilarious stories of Teddy Roosevelt’s rambunctious children tossing spitballs at presidential portraits–as well as a heartbreaking account of the tragedy that befell President Coolidge’s young son, Calvin, Jr. Here, too, is the real story of the Lincoln Bedroom and the thrilling narrative of how first lady Dolley Madison rescued a priceless portrait of George Washington and a copy of the Declaration of Independence before British soldiers torched the White House in 1814.

Today the 132-room White House operates as an exotic combination of first-class hotel and fortress, with 1,600 dedicated workers, an annual budget over $1 billion, and a kitchen that can handle anything from an intimate dinner for four to a reception for 2,400. But ghosts of the past still walk its august corridors–including a phantom whose visit President Harry S Truman described to his daughter in eerie detail.

From the basement swarming with reporters to the Situation Room crammed with sophisticated technology to the Oval Office where the president receives the world’s leaders, the White House is a beehive of relentless activity, deal-making, intrigue, gossip, and of course history in the making. In this evocative and insightful book, Margaret Truman combines high-stakes drama with the unique perspective of an insider. The ultimate guided tour of the nation’s most famous dwelling, The President’s House is truly a national treasure.

From the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 04, 2003 – Bestselling novelist and first daughter Truman brings readers inside the White House, taking them on a notably reverential tour of its storied history, its well-known architecture and its intricate behind-the-scenes workings. There's a lighthearted jaunt through the White House kitchen, where one strong-willed housemaid kept serving President Truman brussels sprouts, though he hated them. The tour then goes to the White House garden, where Lincoln's gardener offered the first lady tips on hiding her excessive shopping expenses. Much of Truman's narrative is history lite aimed at the Martha Stewart set. Yet it contains just enough interesting anecdotes and stirring pageantry to be of interest to the general reader who's curious about how the White House functions. Truman dishes the gossip, especially about the White House as a social setting. For example, she describes Madame Chiang Kai-shek (wife of the Chinese general) as one of the most insufferable houseguests ever. Truman devotes separate chapters to the household staff, the political staff, the press corps, the security staff, White House weddings, first ladies, first children and even first pets: after the Clinton-era rivalry between Socks the cat and Buddy the dog, Socks ended up with a staffer while Buddy stayed with the Clintons. Despite the breeziness of this account, Truman does a fine job of evoking America's most famous residence as a place with "a unique combination of history, tragedy, comedy, melodrama and the ups and downs of ordinary living." 75 color and b&w photos.
The President's House
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: Jan 25, 2005
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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