Friday, October 11, 2013
Upstairs At the White House
My Life With The First Ladies
By J.B. West
Published by Open Road Media, October 1st, 2013
Living across The Pond, the White House and its occupants hold as much fascination for me as the Royal Family and their residences do to many of my American friends. I was keen to read this and it did not disappoint.
This is an extraordinary book; Mr West worked at the White House for twenty eight years and held the post of Chief Usher for many of these, being responsible for the day to day administration and running of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He witnessed the public lives of the First Families and a great deal of their private lives too, working very closely with each First Lady from Mrs Roosevelt to Mrs Nixon before his retirement.
A lesser man might have written a prurient, sensationalised media-driven book about these remarkable years, but Mr West has authored a truly insightful, very honest yet tactful memoir in which he displays the families the same respect as he showed them in person. The building itself has been greatly renovated, restored, decorated and changed over the years and there is an extensive photographic section. A pleasure indeed to read, and a book of great interest.