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The President's House: 1800 to the Present The Secrets and History of the World's Most Famous Home

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  332 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
As Margaret Truman knows from firsthand experience, living in the White House can be exhilarating and maddening, alarming and exhausting–but it is certainly never dull. Part private residence, part goldfish bowl, and part national shrine, the White House is both the most important address in America and the most intensely scrutinized. In this splendid blend of the personal ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 25th 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published 2003)
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Mar 28, 2012 Readitnweep rated it liked it
An interesting read but not as interesting, in terms of finding out White House tidbits I didn't already know, as J.B. West's memoir was.

Much of what Ms. Truman writes has been published before, so if you're a history buff, don't look for much in the way of new ground. Nor was there a lot on her experiences as a president's daughter living in the White House. Mostly, she talks about how normal her life was. Perhaps this was because she was already a young adult when her father was elected. Still
Feb 09, 2012 Melanie rated it liked it
I realize that her father was the president and that Truman herself was a life-long Democrat (both big and small d, according to her), but this book couldn't be much more partisan if it tried. She has a hard time hiding her contempt for a lot of various historical characters (why does she hate the Tafts so much?) and is hopelessly in love with other ones.

Years ago, I read her book about the first ladies and this book seems to echo the sentiments expressed there, that certain presidents were bas
Jun 13, 2013 Betsy rated it liked it
I give 3 stars for content, but the anecdotes are choppy and there is no consistent timeline. So it can be a bit confusing. Ms. Truman obviously has her favorite residents of the White House (like her father), and those who are not favored(like the Clintons) may be insulted in a most personal manner, which I find boorish and unnecessary. Instead of just presenting facts and stories, she injects personal prejudices.
Oct 06, 2009 Brian rated it it was ok
Interesting but the style of writing was really unappealing. I felt MS. Truman's style was overly formal and high-brow. I felt like I was reading something written by a socialite a the turn of the century. Anecdotes were not very substantive and often betrayed the sheltered life the author has appeared to have lived. Hard to pinpoint but the whole book felt... aristocratic, if that makes any sense.
Jun 13, 2010 Carolyn rated it it was ok
Shelves: never-finished, audio
I listened to the first 2 disks and that was enough. I can't imagine 10. If you really want to learn about The White House, get the PBS miniseries they did last year about it. It's similar information but much better with the visuals. This book felt too much like a publisher convinced Truman to gather as many anecdotes and historical facts as she could to make a book, but he was really only interested because her name would help it sell.
Dec 19, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
This book provides lots of stories about the White House and the people that have lived there.

It is divided into topics and the topics might have several chapters. It is well written and very easy to read.

Lots of great stories!!
Dec 23, 2016 Theo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This not a great history. It is a great look at the different people both past and present that live and work in the White House. Kind of a folksy look.
Meghan Helzlsouer
Nov 10, 2016 Meghan Helzlsouer rated it really liked it
Such an interesting book filled with fun trivia about the White House and its occupants. I learned so much!
Ruth Sophia
Aug 12, 2015 Ruth Sophia rated it liked it
An odd mix of history, memoir, and political commentary

A unique, though jumbled, look at America's most famous house (claiming it is the world's most famous house is a little much for me, unless she's not counting castles, palaces, etc, as "houses").

Each chapter deals with a different aspect or topic of the White House (womanpower, pets, children, etc), but the timeline within each chapter is largely non-existent. She may start the chapter by talking about JFK, then jump back to Jefferson, then
Elijah Lucas
May 23, 2016 Elijah Lucas rated it really liked it
The book “President House” is an informal book that talk about secrets places and things you didn't know about the president's house. It rate this book and because it had my interest up but didn't help me or make myself a better person. Did you know that the president house has an tunnel underground that escorts the president during times of emergency. Margaret truman wrote this book. She is also the daughter of President S Truman. She knows the firsthand experience,living in the White House ca ...more
There is very little historical value to this book. To me this was pure "fluff" history. Too much of Margaret Truman and not enough facts. Because she lived in the White House Margaret Truman must think that makes her a credible source and therefore she did not need to cite one source, make any notes or even include a bibliography. There were direct quotes but no clue as to where they came from. Truman would also occasionally mention a book that someone else has written, even quote from it but n ...more
Jared Anderson
There were some good stories in here, but it seemed as if Margaret Truman focused on mainly a few presidents and their stays. There was a lot about Truman (obviously), FDR, and Coolidge. Sprinkled in there were Lincoln, Adams, Washington, Monroe, and Teddy Roosevelt. Very little was said about any presidencies from the last 40 years. I guess it just seemed a little outmoded. Also, Truman was biased towards her father. I understand that this may be expected, but sometimes it was just too much. Th ...more
Nov 07, 2013 Leigh rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book should have been called “Gossiping with Margaret Truman” or perhaps, “The White House: TMZ Edition.”

The word ‘history’ is used loosely in its title.

I can’t argue there are interesting little tidbits here and there, but most of what she talked about, I was familiar with. There wasn’t much new information presented. She spent far too long on the history of the press in D.C.- it barely pertained to the WH. The landscaping section droned on and on.

There was absolutely ZERO order to this b
Aug 19, 2014 Megan rated it liked it
If you like random American trivia, than this book is a must! Very interesting presentation of White House history. This book includes tidbits of everythig from the actual building and its few times it was almost demolished to the White House weddings and which presidential family members actually got married there. Interesting to note - Thomas Jefferson was adamantly against women doing anything than entertaining in the White House. (Maybe we would be better off as a country if we took some of ...more
Denise Dougherty
Apr 04, 2013 Denise Dougherty rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommended
Thank you Margaret Truman, for a most interesting book. I couldn't stop listening to it.

The book is separated into sections and not necessarily chronologically related to the residents of The White House. You'll hear/read about architects who built and remodeled the buildings and rooms, births, deaths, marriages, children and the devoted staff were also featured. Ms Truman has a charming conversational style that is perfect for this type of book (but I have enjoyed her mystery books too). The na
Nov 12, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I found this book insightful, intriguing, informative and fun to read. Not knowing much of the history of the White House it came to life through this book. There was a new found respect for those early "First Families", what they went through and how they tried to preserve the founding ideals.
Even though it is 396 pages it is a very quick read as the stories are short. Margaret Truman does a wonderful job bringing the White House to life. I don't remember many of the residents (okay I didn't pa
Nov 27, 2008 Jamie rated it it was amazing
I needed a break from novel reading and I stumbled across this in the library. I am so glad I did!! Margaret Truman did a wonderful job of describing the behind-the-scene stories and facts about the white house. It is written in a lot of little stories, so it's very easy to pick up and put down. She also categorizes the chapters in an awesome way- women in the household, servants, the west wing, etc. I love history, and this book really brought the history of the white house alive. Even if you a ...more
Jul 31, 2013 Donna rated it it was ok
I usually enjoy anecdotal stories. I was hoping for a bit of “insider” info. This one had “some” interesting tidbits. As with all celebrities, political and otherwise…their personal views will come thru. Margaret was no different. I found her opinions too strong, distracting and aggravating. What a pompous attitude! Guess she felt entitled. Almost stopped reading… thankfully the bits were brief, but unfortunately numerous. You knew who she liked and didn’t like.

I also felt the subjects jumped ar
Bart Breen
May 24, 2012 Bart Breen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very Informative and Entertaining

I listened to the Audio CD version of this book.

In terms of strong historical value, there is not a lot to this book. It really is pretty fluffy in its tone and approach. Margaret Truman is a credible source however and she does make it very entertaining to listen to.

The organization is interesting. The language is conversational. You'll come away with better knowledge of the White House, its residence and our Nations History.
Jan 03, 2008 Ellis rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, history
This book was really pretty good. It was based on a building, so for a guy like me it could only be just so good, but in conveying the history of the White House, Margaret Truman does inject interesting historical nuggets. What comes first to my head is the interesting relationship between Churchill and FDR. Also, Churchill liked to have lots of naked time in his room. Maybe that's why he was so smart. Free the body, Free the mind.....
Nov 14, 2011 Phillip rated it liked it
This is a great book about the history and experiences of the White House. I used the North Carolina Digital Library (NCDL) to check out this book on my Kindle app on my iPad. Ms. Truman not only includes her memories from the White House as a First Daughter, but she includes remembrances from many presidential families, White House staff, and other Americans who have lived in or around the People's House.
David R.
Jun 27, 2014 David R. rated it liked it
A mercilessly chatty story of many of the people who were part of the history of the White House. It doesn't run deep, but is often interesting. And despite the title, Truman does very little heavy lifting in research much before the Lincolns in the 1860s, and spreads it thickly where her family, the Kennedys, the Johnsons and the Clintons are concerned.
Jul 02, 2015 Noelle rated it liked it
A great insider's look at the history of and daily life in the White House. The frequent jabs at the Republican Party got a bit old, though. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but it was overdone.
Apr 25, 2013 Judy rated it liked it
An interesting book filled with information about the White House and its history and stories about the families and staff who have lived and worked there. The stories were interesting, funny, touching, and, too often, familiar.
Apr 30, 2009 Gwen rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Another great find! It's a great look at the history of our presidents--from some very unusual perspectives. Now, if any one can recommend a good read about Alice Roosevelt--let me know--this book has me intrigued about her life.
Oct 08, 2011 Lynette rated it really liked it
Tired of being one-upped the history trivia buff? Former first daughter Margaret Truman shares some of the White House's quirkier secrets. Turn a page and stump the competition. For my full review visit
Bill Gordon
May 08, 2015 Bill Gordon rated it it was amazing
This was a really entertaining read and I recommend it to anyone interested in either The White House or American history in general. Margaret Truman is never at a loss for amusing and interesting anecdotes about the workings of the White House and the people who lived there.
Jun 12, 2013 Mike rated it liked it
None of the stories here are ground breaking or new, but this book is a nice overview of White House life. Truman was a bit more sympathetic toward Democrats, but she did admit this in a tongue in cheek way several times throughout the book and it should have been somewhat expected.
Corinne Newell
The President's House: 1800 to the Present

Truman has written an interesting historical story that shares a variety of facts that I was not aware of. It Is good to know that the First Families are only human and face all the same problems that regular families do.
Sep 05, 2016 Darlis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
history LITE--full of anecdotes about White House weddings, pets, state dinners, redecorating/remodeling, etc. You could skip paragraphs or even whole chapters and not miss much. But, the little stories are rather interesting and would be great to read on a plane or vacation.
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Mary Margaret Truman-Daniel, widely known throughout her life as "Margaret Truman", (February 17, 1924 — January 29, 2008) was an American singer who later became a successful writer. She was the only child of Harry S. Truman (33rd President of the United States) and his wife Bess.

Born in Independence, Missouri, she was christened Mary Margaret Truman (for her aunt Mary Jane Truman and her materna
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