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

August 7, 2019 - Comment

In this New York Times bestseller, the White House chief usher for nearly three decades offers a behind-the-scenes look at America’s first families.  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

In this New York Times bestseller, the White House chief usher for nearly three decades offers a behind-the-scenes look at America’s first families.
 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 and funerals, gardens and playgrounds, and extensive renovations; and, with a large staff, supervised every activity in the presidential home. For twenty-eight 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, as well as their parents, children and grandchildren, and houseguests—including friends, relatives, and heads of state.
 
J. B. West, whom Jackie Kennedy called “one of the most extraordinary men I have ever met,” provides an absorbing, one-of-a-kind history of life among the first ladies. Alive with anecdotes ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt’s fascinating political strategies to Jackie Kennedy’s tragic loss and the personal struggles of Pat Nixon, Upstairs at the White House is a rich account of a slice of American history that usually remains behind closed doors.
 

Comments

Anonymous says:

I really enjoyed this book! I’m usually not a big fan of non-fiction books, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one! The author has a very personable way of writing that made me feel like I was having a nice, informal dinner with him and his wife. I also appreciated the fact that this wasn’t a tell-all type of book that tried to show the reader the ugly side of the occupants of the White House. Instead, it struck me as being extremely truthful and down to earth. It was written with great warmth and respect. As a result Mr. West…

Anonymous says:

Interesting book about the families that occupied in the White … Interesting book about the families that occupied in the White House from Presidents Roosevelt to Nixon. JB West, the head usher, gives an insider’s look at the First Ladies and the way they made the house their own. Fascinating on many levels, it’s a unique microcosm of our changing society. The shift in social status and the way things are done, as the Roosevelt’s upper crust lifestyle exits, compared to the bread and butter of Harry Truman’s middle America. Mami Eisenhower’s velvet gloves…

Anonymous says:

Compare to the movie “The Butler” “The secret was loyalty to the White House and to the Presidency, rather than to whoever happens to be occupying the office for four years, or eight.” J.B. West, Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First LadiesThis was published in 1973 by J.B. West, who began work at the White House as assistant to the chief usher in 1941, later became the chief usher and ‘retired’ in 1969. I believe he was the person in the movie “The Butler” who denied the workers of…

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