Happy Election Day everyone!
We’re only eight days into November and I’ve already changed my November TBR. I know, I know. I walked into the bookstore ready to purchase only the books on my list and was SO pumped for some American history. Well, after about 30 minutes of searching, the book assistant brought out Rejected Princesses and to my shock, it was an illustrated children’s book. Granted it’s the size of an encyclopedia, but it’s a collection of children’s stories none the less.
Now I’m not against collections of stories, but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for in a book. Which is precisely why I picked up Kate Andersen Brower’s First Women : The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies. (Full review to come!)
Anyways, all that is relevant to today’s Election-Day themed post because I wanted to share one of my favorite books (also by Brower): The Residence .
Whether you’re “With Her” or trying to “Make America Great Again” we are all Americans and the White House is an institution that holds a revered place in America’s history. Not only is it the cornerstone location of presidential policy but it serves as “home” to the first family and the workplace for the White House staff.
In her book, Brower looks to pull back the curtains on America’s First Families and bring to light the little known moments of their daily lives. Told through the eyes of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen and engineers, The Residence truly gives America a glimpse of what life was like inside the historic walls for the first families of Jackie O. and JFK all the way through the Obama administration.
Like most non-fiction books, The Residence is chalk full of information. Brower has done an incredible job of combining first person anecdotes from staff members with extensive historical research in order to give the reader the most accurate, bipartisan information.
While some might consider the book as a whole to be somewhat dry, I’m incredibly nosey and loved every minute detail of the inner workings of the White House and how the atmosphere and dynamic shifted with each incoming president.
The Residence isn’t gossipy as one would assume and that was honestly one of my favorite parts. The whole book read like a conversation between friends and didn’t follow a linear path. I can see how that could be frustrating or confusing to those looking for a documentation and procession from one family to another, but it helped me bucket the ideas rather than just the facts.
Overall I’d give it 4/5 stars – It’s a quick, interesting read and will definitely take your mind off the long lines at the polls.
What’s your favorite First Family? Any other non-fiction American history books I should know about? Let me know!