Under This Roof: The White House and the Presidency–21 Presidents, 21 Rooms, 21 Inside Stories – Paul Brandus

(Reviewed by Ishita RC)

“I pray to heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it… May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this room.”

These words were carved into a mantle in the State Dining Room on orders of President  Franklin D. Roosevelt. This quote describes everything that Under This Roof: The White House and the Presidency–21 Presidents, 21 Rooms, 21 Inside Stories is about.

The book comes with a description detailing the history of the White House with respect to the presidents who have taken up their seat. Author Paul Brandus shows his insight into the life and history of the White House and the Presidents through his close association. He is an award-winning, independent member of the White House press corps, and the founder of “West Wing Reports” and independent White House based news service.

I have never seen myself getting involved in a book that is based on politics. But this book has proven me wrong. Every country is represented by its unique history. I have often been told that my interest in history in the form of ancient relics and lost artifacts is misguided because history has a far greater depth beyond the mere existence of civilization. What makes history more fascinating is the game of politics that humans play. I never imagined this day would come, but I loved this book.

There is no plot line that you can actually count on other than the main symbol of US history – The White House. Like any other monument, it didn’t come into shape just like that; there is a far greater story behind each brick and mortar of this building. Brandus  has brilliantly played that out in this book. Each President has played a role in the making of The White House. There may have been forty three presidents who have been sworn in so far, but there are only twenty one who actually made a greater impact in the pages of history as well as bringing splendor to the White House. What I loved the most about this book is how the author related the personalities of all the twenty one presidents with the symbol of power that the White House currently speaks about.

The language used is definitely pleasing to read and understand, but as a reader I found it difficult to imagine all the technical details that was explained regarding the architecture of the White House, if one hasn’t actually seen it . Pictorial representation of these details would make it more approachable. However, being an uncorrected e-proof, the publisher makes a remark of it and I hope the finished product will take this into consideration.

Under This Roof: The White House and the Presidency is a definite a must-read for all, irrespective of whether history and politics is your favored genre.

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