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Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies | [J. B. West]

Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies

J. B. West, chief usher of the White House, directed the operations and maintenance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - and coordinated its daily life - at the request of the president and his family. He directed state functions; planned parties, weddings, funerals, gardens, playgrounds, and extensive renovations; and with a large staff, supervised every activity in the presidential home.
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Publisher's Summary

A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at life on Pennsylvania Avenue with America's first families, by the man who spent nearly three decades in their midst.

J. B. West, chief usher of the White House, directed the operations and maintenance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - and coordinated its daily life - at the request of the president and his family. He directed state functions; planned parties, weddings, funerals, gardens, playgrounds, and extensive renovations; and with a large staff, supervised every activity in the presidential home. For 28 years, first as assistant to the chief usher, then as chief usher, he witnessed national crises and triumphs, and interacted daily with six consecutive presidents and first ladies, their parents, children and grandchildren, and houseguests - including friends, relatives, and heads of state.

In Upstairs at the White House, West offers an absorbing and novel glimpse at America's first families, from the Roosevelts to the Kennedys and the Nixons. Alive with anecdotes ranging from the quotidian (Lyndon B. Johnson's showerheads) to the tragic (the aftermath of John F. Kennedy's assassination), West's audiobook is an enlightening and rich account of the American history that took place just behind the Palladian doors of the North Portico.

©1973 J. B. West (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What Members Say

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4.4 (43 )
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  •  
    A. Romero Western Springs, Illinois, USA 08-08-14
    A. Romero Western Springs, Illinois, USA 08-08-14 Member Since 2014

    Book Lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just Enough Information"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Upstairs at the White House to be better than the print version?

    Yes. The narrator did a very good job of painting a picture.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Upstairs at the White House?

    Each women had one story that was memorable.


    Which character – as performed by Eric Martin – was your favorite?

    Mamie Eisenhower - what a spirit.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    How each First Lady needs to make this home their own


    Any additional comments?

    This gives just enough information on the First Ladies from Roosevelt to Nixon. The author doesn't dish dirt, but gives a very clear picture of these women and their personalities Very historical.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maya A. 08-05-14
    Maya A. 08-05-14 Member Since 2013
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    "A more feminine way to learn about past presidents"

    Through West's personal story, you get to learn some very interesting slices of American history, and appreciate how important First Ladies have been to American history, although at the time they were looked upon more for the gowns they wore than their intellect. A really fun way to learn history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brenda Liberty Township, OH, United States 07-09-14
    Brenda Liberty Township, OH, United States 07-09-14 Member Since 2012

    I am a mother of two adult children and married to a wonderful man. I am a full time Realtor who enjoys historical fiction.

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    "Step Inside The White House in Years Past!"
    If you could sum up Upstairs at the White House in three words, what would they be?

    This book really had me feeling like I was at the White House and knowing what these earlier first ladies were like. Beautiful story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The Head Usher, pride of work.


    What about Eric Martin’s performance did you like?

    He took the character on and made it his own.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josie 04-28-14
    Josie 04-28-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Even better in Audio"
    If you could sum up Upstairs at the White House in three words, what would they be?

    History, personal version


    Have you listened to any of Eric Martin’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


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

    No, I love spreading it out, listening to it with my husband in the car as he's a history buff.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved reading this in paper decades ago. It is only better as an audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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