“THE RESIDENCE,” BY KATE ANDERSEN BROWER

Kate Andersen Brower weaves an almost seamless, intimate narrative that takes the reader through a tour of First Families living in the White House over the last 80 years, as told through the eyes of the domestic staff (Butlers, Maids, Doormen, Painters, Chefs, electricians, florists etc., that work at the White House).

The domestic staff, unlike the President and his political aides and family, do not leave their jobs at the White House when a new President moves in… Much of the domestic staff has worked at the White House, and for as many as six First Families, as long as 30 to 40 years until they retire and most of the staff is comprised of African Americans. They have been witness to countless Presidents and their families, as one might say, with their make-up off and cameras out of view.

They live by a code, almost Mafia like, “Of see, but never tell” while working in the world’s most famous house. The interviews that were given, that make up most of this wonderful book, were given almost entirely by retired staff, relatives of retired staff that have passed away, and the First families themselves. The staff were witness to First Families during difficult, personal times like President Clinton’s affair with a 22 year old and through tragic times like the assassination of President Kennedy. They were often the consolers and therapist to Mrs. Kennedy, and First Lady Hillary Clinton.

They adored President George Herbert Bush and his wife Barbara, and to little lesser extent President George W. Bush and his family. President Kennedy and his family were a joy, especially with their two young children, and Nancy Reagan could be difficult, President Johnson quite disgusting, and President Reagan quite friendly and always telling stories.

“The Residence” by a less capable author could easily have turned into a piece of tabloid journalism, but in the hands of Mrs. Brower,51y9U4G-+GL._AC_UY218_ML3_ it turns into a powerful and beautiful piece of history that sheds light on many unsung heroes. Strongly recommend.

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