The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House by Kate Andersen Brower
(Harper, 2015, 309 pages)
The Residence is a New York Times bestseller written by Kate Andersen Brower. This nonfiction book reveals a look at the various staff who worked in the White House during the Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama administrations. The staff are the only constant in the White House. Administrations come and go, but some White House staff serve 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years. The jobs are not advertised. Positions are normally filled by family and friends of the current or former staff.
There are many interesting stories in this book. There is the story of the day that Kennedy was shot. Jacqueline Kennedy returned home from Dallas early the next morning still in her pink outfit covered in President’s Kennedy’s blood. Mrs. Kennedy said that she didn’t want to change until she got home because she wanted the world to see what had happened to her husband. There is also a story about the 9/11 attacks. The White House staff were evacuated because it looked like the White House could be a target.
While the book is repetitious, I did enjoy reading it. Brower did hundreds of interviews to tell this story. The staff members of the “Residence” are portrayed as dedicated employees who can do their jobs and keep the secrets of the families who live in the White House.