Inside the White House: The Hidden Lives of the Modern Presidents and the Secrets of the World's Most Powerful Institution

Overview

Ronald Kessler focuses on the most myth-laden and clandestine institution of them all: the modern White House. From the hidden lives of the Presidents and first families to the intricate inner workings of this all-powerful institution, Kessler peels away the White House facade to reveal the fascinating and often scandalous reality behind the stately illusion. Kessler gained unprecedented access to Secret Service agents, domestic servants, Air force One stewards, military aides, chefs, and ushers. And the ...
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Overview

Ronald Kessler focuses on the most myth-laden and clandestine institution of them all: the modern White House. From the hidden lives of the Presidents and first families to the intricate inner workings of this all-powerful institution, Kessler peels away the White House facade to reveal the fascinating and often scandalous reality behind the stately illusion. Kessler gained unprecedented access to Secret Service agents, domestic servants, Air force One stewards, military aides, chefs, and ushers. And the revelations are sensational. Kessler also reports on the outrageous costs of running the White House; the petty and wasteful turf wars among civil servants; the scandals involving White House chefs, barbers, and Secret Service agents; the spoiled excesses of presidential children; and much more.

Award-winning journalist Ronald Kessler's The FBI was selected one of the New York Times Book Review's Notable Books of 1993--establishing Kessler as a preeminent examiner of secret U.S. government organizations. Now, Kessler goes behind the scenes at the White House to reveal the fascinating and often scandalous secrets of this all-powerful institution.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this tabloid-sounding account, Kessler (The FBI) has aimed very low, armed with ``inside information'' provided by presidential aides, servants, staff members and Secret Service agents that has the ring of backstairs gossip. He shows Lyndon Johnson as a vulgar megalomaniac, Nixon as almost pathologically shut in, Carter as a petty nitpicker, Reagan as dominated by his icy wife, Bush as barely able to tolerate people en masse and Clinton as such a compulsive womanizer as to make Jack Kennedy seem celibate. From the chief executive on down, virtually everyone at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., he concludes, falls victim to ``presidentitis'' and abuses power. The only question left unanswered is, what's new here? (Feb.)
Library Journal
The secrets of the presidency disclosed by Kessler (The FBI, LJ 10/15/93) have been revealed before. "White House-itis" is the arrogance that comes from being surrounded by aides eager to please and from the trappings of power unique to the presidency. The White House provides the luxury of a "132-room four-star hotel." The presidential assistants, secret agents, maids, and butlers are the ones who really know what is going on, and these are the people that Kessler interviews. Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter are faulted for their meanness and contempt for their staffs; Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan are remembered for their kindness. President Clinton is skewered for his lack of character and discipline and the immaturity of his advisers. Kessler raises other important issues in this recommended expos, which will find a large audience in public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/94.]-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, Pa.
Gilbert Taylor
The delver into the federal city's loci of power (e.g., "Inside the FBI" ) will parcel out trivia and occasional substance about recent occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The first half of the text covers philandering, stealing, and drinking during the reigns from LBJ to Bush; the second half details the flaps that have discombobulated the present tenants. Kessler has filled a grab bag of gab from aides, maids, barbers, guards, Secret Service agents, and Air Force One stewards, but some of their revelations bear a serious hearing, such as the $1 "billion" annual cost of operating the White House. However, Kessler's sharpest criticism is not financial; he hits Clinton in familiar areas of vulnerability, i.e., his staff's juvenile arrogance and ineptitude, "travelgate," "troopergate," and an encore of the Gennifer Flowers allegations of assignations. (This book contains her third set of public statements, following a press conference and "Penthouse" spread, about her alleged trysts with Clinton.) Because this report seems accurate and few of Kessler's sources hide behind anonymity, it should garner high but ephemeral interest, boosted by a scheduled ABC "20/20" program in January that will "break" his stories.
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An expose of the hidden lives of modern presidents & the secrets of the world's most powerful institution, based on the author's unprecedented access to Secret Service agents, domestic servants, Air Force One stewards, & others privy to what really goes on.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830041206
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/1995
  • Pages: 302

Meet the Author

Ronald Kessler
Ronald Kessler
RONALD KESSLER is the New York Times bestselling author of The Terrorist Watch, The Bureau, Inside the White House, and The CIA at War. A former reporter for the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, he has won sixteen journalism awards. Kessler lives in Potomac, Maryland, with his wife, Pamela.

From the Hardcover edition.
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