THE WHITE HOUSE: Cornerstone of a Nation by Judith St. George

THE WHITE HOUSE: Cornerstone of a Nation

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Fresh, creatively organized information on the building's architectural history and how it was shaped by events, society, and the personalities of its occupants. St. George uses chronology as a framework for a topical approach: e.g., Lincoln's tenure prompts a chapter on ""The White House in Mourning,"" with a look back at earlier funerals, a survey of Vice Presidents who succeeded deceased Presidents, and an account of Lincoln's ceremonial rites and funeral train to Illinois. Kennedy's death is deferred to the last chapter ("". . .on Camera""), which focusses on how TV has familiarized the public with the White House and discusses press coverage throughout its history. Rich in entertaining as well as instructive particulars, this book is more complete than Fisher's shorter The White House (1989) in detailing structural changes and renovation; it also does a better job of making connections and leading readers to consider the larger context. Unfortunately, though, as was not the case in this fine author's earlier work, careless editing mars the text: awkward sentences abound, while omitting ""that"" after ""so"" repeatedly jars ("". . .the old wood was so dry, most of it cracked. . .""). Meanwhile, the well-captioned photos here serve their purpose, but are less outstanding than those in Fisher's more open, expansive format, which is also pictorially superior in representing the White House itself (St. George includes more people). Both are good sources, then, their strengths complementary. Lengthy bibliography of sources; index.

Pub Date: May 17th, 1990
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Putnam