Under This Roof

The White House and the Presidency - 21 Presidents, 21 Rooms, 21 Inside Stories
Narrated by: Tom Zingarelli
Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (142 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In Under This Roof, award-winning White House journalist Paul Brandus 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 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.
  • 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, and TV changed the presidency - and the nation itself.

Through triumph and tragedy, boom and bust, secrets and scandals, Brandus brings history to life in this riveting, highly entertaining inside look at the presidency and White House.

©2015 Paul Brandus (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[A] fast-moving and well-written history of the presidency." (Del Quentin Wilber, author of Rawhide Down)

What listeners say about Under This Roof

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting but Glaring Omission

Learned some great things but extremely disappointed to not have Lyndon Johnson. If you think his administration had nothing to do with White House preservation and restoration you need to recheck your facts and start over.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good stuff for presidential buffs

Good book. Well researched. Definitely kept my interest. This book is best when it focuses on the White House itself, not on the history of the various administrations. Reading it made me want to visit the White House again.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Could be better

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes and no. The narrator was not very good at all. The story had potential that wasnt followed up on.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Kind of anticlimactic. It is about past presidents so not much to add,

What didn’t you like about Tom Zingarelli’s performance?

Flat and boring.

Was Under This Roof worth the listening time?

Yes.

Any additional comments?

The book is about the White House but got the impression the author is a Reagan fan. That is so boring! He went on and on about Reagan which had nothing to do with the White House itself. Carter got short shrift among others. There is no need to talk about policies and politics - the house itself and the stories contained in the walls so to speak - the personal side. No mention about the staff quarters and other details.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Narration

This is a very good read. Well written. The narrator was easy to follow. I recommend this book.



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Enjoyable Read

I liked this very much. I am not too political, but this book give much info about each president and their families plus very interesting information about the development of the White House, additions, decorations etc. Very enjoyable but informative book

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great

From the narrator to the subject matter, this book keeps you listening. If you love history the descriptions are so vivid you can almost smell the White House as it slowly crumbled over the years. The dedication of the First Families to repair and endure there are a testament to what it means to be a true civil servant. If those walls could talk it would make a great movie. The book moved along quickly and as always I learned something new about a few of our presidents. I recommend as an educational tool or just an easy listen to a sad and funny and all of the other emotions we humans have rolled into one book about Our White House.

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Interesting but a bit tedious at times

The book was full of interesting facts about the White House and the presidents who call it home/. But you may be off put by the dozens of Presidents you've never heard of and goings on nobody cares about. The author doesn't do a good job of putting his selections into context and telling the reader why he selected the people he did. That said if you're the kind of person who likes history for it's own sake you can't go wrong with this. Performance is top notch

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Love this!

I love this book! So much history is in this book. I learned about presidents whose names I didn't know before. I'm even more enchanted with the White House! The narrator did a wonderful job and was easy to understand and follow along with.

1 person found this helpful

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Great!

Fantastic listen. Full of amazing little known details about the White House that are entertaining and inspiring.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Bad editing error towards the very end.

I hope they catch it and fix it. Otherwise, this is my kind of geeky history. The White House's history is so incredibly interesting. It so perfectly embodies the strength, resiliance, and many imperfections of the country itself. But it has also gotten better over time.