Wednesday, January 7, 2015

An Invitation to the White House - Hillary Rodham Clinton

An Invitation to the White House:
At Home with History
I am a big old White House nerd. We all know this. Which makes it surprising that I had not read Hillary Clinton's An Invitation to the White House before now. 

As I mentioned when I read Living History last year, I know the Clintons are polarizing figures for many people. So, if you are not a fan of them, put that aside for a moment and let's talk about this very apolitical book about a historical building. In you are a fan, then you're going to enjoy this a little extra.

The book, which really would be better categorized as a coffee table volume, takes a look at what life is like in the White House. Clinton talks about Christmas decorations, special events, and how hard the staff works. There is even a section of recipes in the back that have been adapted from actual dishes served at State Dinners and other important events. 

This book is absolutely nothing like Clinton's others. This is a fun, interesting look into a house with a very interesting history. The White House is as close to we get as a palace over here, besides celebrity homes, and there are plenty of people who, like me, are fascinated by its inner workings. That's what this book is. It's a look behind the scenes with tons of full color pictures and not a lot of real content. 

If you're looking for a political expose or a look into workings of the West Wing, skip this one and pick up Living History. This book is strictly the glitz and glamour of the place. It's all about the concerts and award ceremonies and extravagant dinners. Of course, Clinton does slip in a word here or there about visiting dignitaries or people she was particularly thrilled to meet. Still, the book does not stray from its light purpose. 

I'm not foolish enough to think Clinton wrote most of the book herself. Certainly, she did some of it,  but I have no doubt a good chunk of the outlining, picture selecting, recipe sharing, etc. was done by a ghost writer or staff members. I have no problem with that. Clinton's name be the one on the cover, but the book is very obviously a labor of love by the whole staff. After all, without them, there would be nothing to write about in the first place.

After reading much about the policy side of things in Living History, it was fun to take a look at the Clinton administration from a different perspective. If you are interested in White House history or how the house runs, this is definitely worth picking up. It's big and colorful and a great way to learn a bit more about what exactly goes on day in and day out in the most famous American house. 

Pages: 288
Date Completed: December 10, 2014

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