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The Butler: A Witness to History | [Wil Haygood]

The Butler: A Witness to History

When acclaimed Washington Post writer Wil Haygood had an early hunch that Obama would win the 2008 election, he thought he'd highlight the singular moment by exploring the life of someone who had come of age when segregation was so embedded in the culture as to make the very thought of a black president inconceivable. He struck gold when he tracked down Eugene Allen, a butler who had served eight presidents, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. Forest Whitaker narrates the story of this remarkable man who, while serving tea and supervising buffets, was also a witness to history.
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Publisher's Summary

The story that inspired the major motion picture...read by its stars David Oyelowo, Forest Whitaker, and Oprah Winfrey

When acclaimed Washington Post writer Wil Haygood had an early hunch that Obama would win the 2008 election, he thought he'd highlight the singular moment by exploring the life of someone who had come of age when segregation was so embedded in the culture as to make the very thought of a black president inconceivable. He struck gold when he tracked down Eugene Allen, a butler who had served eight presidents, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan.

Forest Whitaker narrates the story of this remarkable man who, while serving tea and supervising buffets, was also a witness to history as decisions about America's most momentous events were being made.

With a foreword by the Academy Award-nominated director Lee Daniels, The Butler also includes Wil Haygood's essay exploring the history of black images on celluloid and in Hollywood, read here by David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey.

©2013 Wil Haygood (P)2013 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.2 (203 )
5 star
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3.2 (176 )
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Story
3.5 (175 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Judy 09-24-13
    Judy 09-24-13

    OLD enough to remember listening to radio shows in the bedroom and in Dad's car. Poised on the edge of the bed with my older brother eagerly awaiting the amazing stories on the radio or sitting quietly in the back seat of the car listening to dad figure out the Minute Mysteries on the radio. I remember all to well the sounds on the air ways.

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    "Nothing like the movie"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not really. I tell them to see the movie.


    What could Wil Haygood have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    detals historical details explain his life as it should have been told


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Definately see the movie, a picture of history


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Radhiya 09-17-13
    Radhiya 09-17-13 Member Since 2011

    Enjoying every listen.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Butler"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes I would. Insight into those who were employed at the White House


    What did you like best about this story?

    The historical content. Professionalism of the Butler. Getting a view on how things worked behind the scenes, concerning people who might not otherwise be known.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Giving personal insight to the Butler's life. Tone and diction.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, I did.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marybelle Green Brook, NJ, United States 09-16-13
    Marybelle Green Brook, NJ, United States 09-16-13 Member Since 2011
    ratings
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    7
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "awful, no story line"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    simply a lecture with an intro about the article it is based on


    Would you ever listen to anything by Wil Haygood again?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    save your money

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 09-14-13
    Susan 09-14-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not about the butler!"

    This book title is misleading in that it is merely a description of the author's researching and interviewing, and not about the butler himself. I am very disappointed and feel cheated out of a credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Newark, NJ, United States 09-14-13
    Anna Newark, NJ, United States 09-14-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Bland.....Heartwrenchingly disappointing"
    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    It really isn't about the story. I watched the movie and I thought it was sensational!!! So I thought, I could really do justice to this title by getting the book and as is customary there would be those little things in the book that weren't on the screen. Was I wrong!!!!


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrator could have sounded a lot more interested in the content he was delivering. Ten minutes into a 2hr plus set of content I was still wondering if I was listening to the introduction....Nope! It was the actual 'book'...smh


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    DISAPPOINTED. I'm glad I had downloaded another book with it


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Parrish, FL, United States 09-12-13
    William Parrish, FL, United States 09-12-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just an advertisement for the movie"
    Any additional comments?

    I thought this was going to be a story about Eugene Allen. But it is just a poorly written advertisement for the movie with very little about Mr Allen specifically. This was probably due to the fact the Mr Allen was very discrete about what he saw during his years in the White House and chose not to dish out the dirt as so many are prone to do these days. I can't believe they actually charge for this book!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gene SANDY HOOK, CT, United States 09-09-13
    Gene SANDY HOOK, CT, United States 09-09-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "save your money - see the movie"

    This book is a waste of time - nothing like the movie which is infinatly better

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    karen Aspen, CO, United States 09-03-13
    karen Aspen, CO, United States 09-03-13 Member Since 2009
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "The book is better than the film"
    What did you love best about The Butler?

    The honest aging characters...
    The man who loved his work ...
    His wife's love and support was well noted ...
    The dedication of son Charles...
    The addition of history of Black actors in film.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was a true story


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Emotions


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Recommend it to high school students of American History and all who saw the movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cindy Phoenix, AZ, United States 08-30-13
    cindy Phoenix, AZ, United States 08-30-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    2
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    Story
    "WASTE OF MONEY! This book isn't the butler's story"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This is not the story of the butler, it is the story about making the movie and black history, etc. I didn't think I was buying a book about this, I wanted to hear first-hand the butler's story. VERY DECEIVING AND WASTE OF MONEY.


    What could Wil Haygood have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Actually let the butler tell the story!


    Any additional comments?

    Stupidest thing I ever bought!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise J. Moore Texas 08-19-13
    Denise J. Moore Texas 08-19-13 Member Since 2013

    Denise M

    ratings
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    Story
    "I Agree with the Others.....Very Deceptive!"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I kept looking when I downloaded this thinking it must just be a sample. I had already seen the movie, and wanted to get more information on Eugene Allen's life....not less information. Like someone said, this was basically a summary of the movie and a marketing ploy.

    In order to make this a 4 or 5-star experience....an actual book!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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