The President's House by Margaret Truman
A First Daughter Shares the History and Secrets of the World's Most Famous Home

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Synopsis

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.
 

About Margaret Truman

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MARGARET TRUMAN won faithful readers with her works of biography and fiction, particularly her Capital Crimes mysteries. Her novels let readers into the corridors of power and privilege, and poverty and pageantry, in the nation's capital. She was the author of many nonfiction books, including The President's House, in which she shared some of the secrets and history of the White House, where she once resided. She lived in Manhattan.
 
Published December 18, 2007 by Ballantine Books. 292 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography, Professional & Technical, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Business & Economics. Non-fiction

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Truman also details changes in staffing over the years, including the addition of gourmet chefs and office help for the First Lady, increased numbers of security personnel (more than 250 mentally disturbed visitors try to gain access each year), and the evolution of chief of staff into a powerful...

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Publishers Weekly

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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

Aug 04 2003 | Read Full Review of The President's House: A Firs...

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