Guest of Honor by Deborah Davis

81%

16 Critic Reviews

A well-researched, highly readable treatment of an important era in racial relations, encapsulated in the meeting of two of the era’s most significant men.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

In this revealing social history, one remarkable White House dinner becomes a lens through which to examine race, politics, and the lives and legacies of two of America’s most iconic figures.

In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to have dinner at the executive mansion with the First Family. The next morning, news that the president had dined with a black man—and former slave—sent shock waves through the nation. Although African Americans had helped build the White House and had worked for most of the presidents, not a single one had ever been invited to dine there. Fueled by inflammatory newspaper articles, political cartoons, and even vulgar songs, the scandal escalated and threatened to topple two of America’s greatest men.

In this smart, accessible narrative, one seemingly ordinary dinner becomes a window onto post–Civil War American history and politics, and onto the lives of two dynamic men whose experiences and philosophies connect in unexpected ways. Deborah Davis also introduces dozens of other fascinating figures who have previously occupied the margins and footnotes of history, creating a lively and vastly entertaining book that reconfirms her place as one of our most talented popular historians.
 

About Deborah Davis

See more books from this Author
Deborah Davis is the author of Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X; Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball; Gilded: How Newport Became America's Richest Resort; and The Oprah Winfrey Show: Reflections on an American Legacy. She formerly worked as an executive, story editor, and story analyst for several major film companies.
 
Published May 8, 2012 by Atria Books. 322 pages
Genres: History, Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Guest of Honor
All: 16 | Positive: 14 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Excellent
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Mar 15 2012

A well-researched, highly readable treatment of an important era in racial relations, encapsulated in the meeting of two of the era’s most significant men.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Scott Waxman on May 01 2012

In fluid prose and with clear respect for her subject matter, Davis paints a vivid picture of race relations at the turn of the 20th century.

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The Washington Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Marcia Davis on Aug 17 2012

What Davis does well is provide a panoramic view of America at the turn of the 20th century.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Eugen Meyer on Jul 01 2012

It is also worth noting, as Davis does not, that politicians representing some of the same sections of white America that invoked the doctrine of states’ rights — first to defend slavery . . . have fought relentlessly to block or undo virtually every initiative of the first African-American president.

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North Jersey

Excellent
Reviewed by TD Shoudy on Aug 09 2012

Research was so extensive that she learned far more than she had ever before known.

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Star News

Excellent
Reviewed by Ben Steelman on Jul 22 2012

Deborah Davis puts this remarkable moment in U.S. history in perspective in a lively account.

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Black Books and Reviews

Excellent
Reviewed by Gary Rawlins on Jun 05 2012

Davis fittingly concludes the book with what obituaries of the two men were saying about the historic dinner.

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New Jersey Monthly

Excellent
Reviewed by Tammy La Gorce on Aug 13 2012

Davis’s intrigue leads from one well-researched revelation to another.

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Luxury Reading

Good
Reviewed by Vera on Jul 31 2012

While the dinner is the focus of the book, it does not overtake it and it was very interesting to read and learn all about these two important men in America’s history.

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Broken Teepee

Good
Reviewed by Patty Woodland on Jun 12 2012

This is one of the best non-fiction books I have ever read.

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Rick Librarian

Good
Reviewed by Rick on Jul 01 2012

It is a good example of focused biography that is informative, entertaining, and quick to read.

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Man of la Book

Good
Reviewed by Zohar on May 21 2012

This is well writ­ten, well researched and easy to read his­tory.

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Rooftop Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Robert Williams on Jun 05 2012

This is a highly entertaining, and informative book, which brings history to life for the reader.

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Pastor Nancy's Book Blog

Below average
Reviewed by Nancy on Jun 12 2012

It’s almost as if she didn’t have enough to write about so she goes off on tangents as fillers.

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Mari Reads

Good
Reviewed by Mari on May 17 2012

Davis' research is very thorough and it is very evident that she enjoyed learning and writing about these two very interesting men.

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Newshoggers

Good
Reviewed by Ron Beasley on May 08 2012

This is a very readable book covering the history of the US 30+ years after the civil war.

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Reader Rating for Guest of Honor
89%

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Ben 13 Sep 2013

Rated the book as 3.5 out of 5

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El Viajero 5 Sep 2013

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