The book takes readers on a virtual tour of 22 presidential homes, with quick looks at 15 more. The houses range from modest childhood homes to grand estates filled with the trappings of success.
The tour begins with George Washington’s Mount Vernon, one of the most famous presidential abodes, and ends with a less familiar home, the one-story Texas ranch house where George H.W. Bush raised another president, George W. Bush.
Author Hugh Howard uses the houses as a device to relate the stories of the presidents and the forces that shaped them. He includes anecdotes that humanize the homes’ powerful occupants, such as Benjamin Harrison donning a Santa suit to delight his grandchildren and Calvin Coolidge grieving over the death of his 16-year-old son.
Photos by Roger Straus III let us see how the presidents lived. He captures dining rooms, game rooms and other sites of happy gatherings, as well as slave cabins that remind us of the uglier realities of America’s past.
“Houses of the Presidents” is published by Little, Brown and Co. and sells for $40 in hardcover.
©2012 Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)
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