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This collaboration between National Geographic and the White House Historical Association (WHHA) provides more than a passing glimpse into an American icon. Using an impressive array of color images, stories, and archival records, Grove (former staff writer, National Geographic magazine; National Geographic Atlas of World History), with WHHA research experts William B. Bushong and Joel D. Treese, presents the White House thematically, covering the building's history, architecture, and political functions, its first ladies (there is a brief foreword by former First Lady Laura Bush), its many daily professional functions, its existence as a home, the entertaining and holiday celebrations hosted there, the grounds and gardens, innovations and technological upgrades applied to the residence, its diplomatic and cultural functions, and how it has operated during "Transition and Crisis." Readers will come away with a new understanding of the White House's complexity. The images are a pleasant mix of official photos and candid shots, such as ones depicting Amy Carter playing in her tree house, President Theodore Roosevelt's one-legged pet rooster, and President Taft's pet cow. The real heart of the book is its stories of the White House as a home and about the personalities who have entered its doors. VERDICT Presidential history buffs and lay readers, including students newer to the subject, will very much appreciate this handsome book.—Lisa Ennis, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib.