First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Best Friends

First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Best Friends

5.0 1
by Roy Rowan, Brooke Janis
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

"If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog," Harry Truman once said. Perhaps that's why, for much of our Republic's history, there have been two top dogs at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—one with two legs, one with four. First Dogs, by distinguished journalist Roy Rowan and researcher Brooke Janis, tells the whole doggone story, from the days before

Overview

"If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog," Harry Truman once said. Perhaps that's why, for much of our Republic's history, there have been two top dogs at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—one with two legs, one with four. First Dogs, by distinguished journalist Roy Rowan and researcher Brooke Janis, tells the whole doggone story, from the days before there was a White House to Barack Obama’s newly adopted presidential pup, Bo.

Here's a lighthearted romp through American history, packed with drawings and paintings from early America, plus photographs, starting with Abraham Lincoln's Fido. Not only did these four-footed goodwill ambassadors humanize their distinguished masters, they offered them a little unconditional love in a loveless town.

First Dogs gives dog lovers and history lovers a new angle on presidential history and is more fun than you can shake a stick (or rubber bone) at.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Succeeds in keeping the tail of trivia wagging the dog of American history. This one is fur keeps." —People

"Rowan intertwines anecdotes and dozens of photographs with hard-to-stop-reading stories that track the canine legacy on America’s democracy." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

USA Today
"It's the charming photos that make First Dogs so appealing." —USA Today
People Magazine
"Succeeds in keeping the tail of trivia wagging the dog of American history. This one is fur keeps." —People
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"It's the charming photos that make First Dogs so appealing." —USA Today
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rowan, a Time-Life correspondent, and Janis, a photo researcher, take a promising premiseshowing the history of the presidency in terms of presidents' dogsbut come up empty. While they diligently excavate facts and pictures related to presidents and their pets, they string together their research without benefit of analysis or imagination. At times their presentation is dunderheaded ("On April 14, 1865, with the Civil War won, Lincoln was shot by actor John Wilkes Booth; he died the next day"); more often coyness substitutes for wit ("The circumstances surrounding [the death of then governor Bill Clinton's dog] are unclear, and so far the Whitewater Special Counsel has not investigated them"). The authors miss obvious opportunities for exploring the political ramifications of dog ownership. For example, they recycle the canard about FDR spending $15,000 of taxpayer revenues to fetch his famous dog, Fala, from the Aleutian Islands; and put a fig leaf over the embarrassment Ronald Reagan suffered on account of his unruly Bouvier with the statement, ridiculous to anyone who has ever trained a dog, that "size, not behavior, was the problem." Readers with an interest in dogs or history deserve better. Photos. First serial to Smithsonian magazine. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
George Washington had one. Ulysses S. Grant had one. Warren G. Harding had one. And, of course, Richard Nixon had one—not just the sadly exploited Checkers, but the more regal King Timahoe, the Irish settter of his presidential days. Time-Life correspondent Rowan and photo researcher Janis have assembled a barrage of trivia and photographs of presidents and their pooches: James Garfield named his dog Veto in order to keep Congress in line; Lincoln's Fido—the first presidential dog to be officially photographed—was intimidated by the hullaballoo of Washington and was sent back home to Springfield to be looked after by the barber. And Harding's Laddie Boy had his own hand-carved chair for cabinet meetings and was on the White House welcoming committee. It's too easy to get corny and cute on this subject, and Rowan succumbs—only people with terminal canineophilia will want to read this all the way through.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565129368
Publisher:
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Publication date:
06/15/2009
Edition description:
Expanded
Pages:
163
Sales rank:
1,182,408
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.60(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"A doggone delight that will leave you sitting up and begging for more. I give it four paws up." —Dan Rather, CBS News

Meet the Author

Brooke Janis is a longtime television producer who has worked for CBS news and other national media. She lives in New York City.

Roy Rowan has been a correspondent and editor for Life, Time, and Fortune and has contributed to other major magazines. He is the author of numerous books and articles on business, foreign affairs, and politics, including The Intuitive Manager, The Four Days of Mayaguez, and Powerful People. He lives in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

First Dogs: American Presidents and Their Best Friends 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My husband is still reading it and I know he's really enjoying it. He keeps on stopping to tell me something interesting that neither of us ever knew about the relationship between the First Dogs and their families. This is a very enjoyable book.