Under This Roof: The White House and the Presidency--21 Presidents, 21 Rooms, 21 Inside Stories
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
“Like taking a tour of the White House with a gifted storyteller at your side!”
- Why, in the minutes before John F. Kennedy was murdered, was a blood-red carpet installed in the Oval Office?
- If Abraham Lincoln never slept in the Lincoln Bedroom, where did he sleep?
- Why was one president nearly killed in the White House on inauguration day—and another secretly sworn in?
- What really happened in the Situation Room on September 11, 2001?
History leaps off the page in this “riveting,” “fast-moving” and “highly entertaining” book on the presidency and White House in Under This Roof, from award-winning White House-based journalist Paul Brandus. Reporting from the West Wing briefing room since 2008, Brandus—the most followed White House journalist on Twitter (@WestWingReport)—weaves together stories of the presidents, their families, the events of their time—and an oft-ignored major character, the White House itself.
From George Washington—who selected the winning design for the White House—to the current occupant, Barack Obama—the story of the White House is the story of America itself, Brandus writes. You’ll:
- Walk with John Adams through the still-unfinished mansion, and watch Thomas Jefferson plot to buy the Louisiana Territory
- Feel the fear and panic as British invaders approach the mansion in 1814—and Dolley Madison frantically saves a painting of Washington
- Gaze out the window with Abraham Lincoln as Confederate flags flutter in the breeze on the other side of the Potomac
- Be in the room as one president is secretly sworn in, and another gambles away the White House china in a card game
- Stand by the presidential bed as one First Lady—covering up her husband’s illness from the nation—secretly makes decisions on his behalf
- Learn how telephones, movies, radio, TV changed the presidency—and the nation itself
Through triumph and tragedy, boom and bust, secrets and scandals, Brandus takes you to the presidential bedroom, movie theater, Situation Room, Oval Office and more. Under This Roof is a “sensuous account of the history of both the home of the President, and the men and women who designed, inhabited, and decorated it. Paul Brandus captivates with surprising, gloriously raw observations.”
to be president, and would see his own dream fulfilled in 1856. Aside from the Second World War a century later, no war helped propel more men into the presidency than the short-lived US war against Mexico. Polk’s most prominent commander, Taylor, became a national hero for his battlefield exploits and would succeed Polk in the White House in 1849, though he would die in office just a year and a half later, probably of cholera.55 Franklin Pierce certainly benefitted. When the war began, he was a
years, 25 percent of Americans would be killed, the equivalent of 7.6 million Americans perishing today. Like them, he would also make the ultimate sacrifice, falling to an assassin’s bullet less than a week after the guns of the war fell silent. But this last and most prominent casualty of America’s bloodiest conflict died knowing that he had seen the nation through its darkest hour. For this, Abraham Lincoln is, and will almost certainly always be, regarded as our greatest president. His
During the design competition for it a decade earlier, Jefferson—then George Washington’s secretary of state—had even submitted an anonymous entry, one of at least six known submissions before Thomas Hoban’s winning entry was selected.4 5 But in 1801, with Adams preparing to leave the mansion after a mere four months, Jefferson realized he would be the first president of the United States to live in the mansion for an extended period. He also knew that the home, with its vast interior spaces and
scurrying back and forth between his home and an outdoor commode. One of his first acts as president, therefore, was to have two proper water closets installed on the upper floor of the mansion where he would live, one on the western end of the house, the other on the eastern end. An order went to a “Mr. Dorsey” on Third Street in Philadelphia for “Water closets . . . of superior construction, which are prepared so as to be cleansed constantly by a Pipe throwing Water through them at command from
and went out and found a buyer for it. He has been helpful and supportive every step of the way, and to him I owe my heartfelt and humble thanks. My editor, Jon Sternfeld, who brought his own love of history to the table, was wonderful in making the copy flow smoothly, suggesting better words and phrases, and shaping the overall contours of each chapter. He is truly gifted, and I am deeply appreciative. And saving the best for last, I am particularly grateful to Kathryn, my wife, for her love,