The best White House books from a White House insider’s perspective

Christopher Beauregard Emery Author Of White House Usher: Stories from the Inside
By Christopher Beauregard Emery

Who am I?

During my twenty-nine nears in the federal government, I maintained a Top Secret clearance while being a CIO, Chief Architect, & Director of various things with the White House, US Congress, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice, where I served in a senior management role for the National Security Division, the agency responsible for serving as the liaison between the Attorney General and the Intelligence Community. Today, my passion is writing about my White House experiences, in both fiction and non-fiction.


I wrote...

White House Usher: Stories from the Inside

By Christopher Beauregard Emery,

Book cover of White House Usher: Stories from the Inside

What is my book about?

White House Usher: Stories from the Inside was published in October 2017, with a Second Edition released December 2020. The book is a memoir detailing the authors time managing the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. 

Foreword written by former First Lady Barbara Bush.

The books I picked & why

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The President's House

By William Seale,

Book cover of The President's House

Why this book?

The President’s House is marvelous two-volume work that is the most comprehensive history ever written about the White House. The book starts with the laying of the cornerstone, all the way through the Truman Renovation. The author writes the detailed history in the style of a page-turning novel! I had the honor of meeting the author, Dr. William Seale, during my first week working in the White House Usher's Office in 1986, a great guy!

The President's House

By William Seale,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The President's House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This compelling book in two rich volumes chronicles the unique continuum of the White House through American history and its human story as a home to the presidents and their families. The reader experiences the many facets of life in the seat of presidential power, the etiquette, politics, architecture and decor, landscaping, cuisine, and all that make up the setting of the presidency.


Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies

By J. B. West, Mary Lynn Kotz,

Book cover of Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies

Why this book?

J.B. West was a White House Usher from 1941 to 1969. His book details many of his experiences in performing this rare and unique job in the White House, where he personally worked for Presidents (and First Ladies): Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. There have only been three books written by White House Ushers: Ike Hoover, who served from 1904 -1933; J.B. West, 1941-1969; and me, Chris Emery, 1986-1994.

Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladies

By J. B. West, Mary Lynn Kotz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Upstairs at the White House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this New York Times bestseller, the White House chief usher for nearly three decades offers a behind-the-scenes look at America's first families.
J. B. West, chief usher of the White House, directed the operations and maintenance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue-and coordinated its daily life-at the request of the president and his family. He directed state functions; planned parties, weddings and funerals, gardens and playgrounds, and extensive renovations; and, with a large staff, supervised every activity in the presidential home. For twenty-eight years, first as assistant to the chief usher, then as chief usher, he witnessed national crises and triumphs,…


The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House

By Kate Andersen Brower,

Book cover of The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House

Why this book?

This is a New York Times bestseller that details the inner workings of the White House. Superbly written with wonderful anecdotes and authentic stories about the White House staff and historical events. I was very pleased to be interviewed for this book. The author, Kate Anderson Brower, has written several books about the White House, and I would rate all of them highly.

The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House

By Kate Andersen Brower,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Residence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A remarkable history with elements of both In the President's Secret Service and The Butler, The Residence offers an intimate account of the service staff of the White House, from the Kennedys to the Obamas. America's First Families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers,…


White House Family Cookbook

By Henry Haller,

Book cover of White House Family Cookbook

Why this book?

This book is written by, IMO, the best chef ever to have served at the White House. I was fortunate to have been Chef Haller’s boss during my time at the White House. Henry retired after 21 years of flawless service and worked in the Johnston, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan White Houses. An incredible talent with a positive, pleasant temperament, everyone loved Chef Haller.

White House Family Cookbook

By Henry Haller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White House Family Cookbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than 250 First Family recipes; a historic treasury of American cooking. Chef Haller entertains with tidbits of presidential lore and his memories of life upstairs and down. 8 pages of color photos.


20 Years in the Secret Service: My Life with Five Presidents

By Rufus W. Youngblood,

Book cover of 20 Years in the Secret Service: My Life with Five Presidents

Why this book?

This is an excellent memoir of a Secret Service Agent that served under five presidents, from Truman to Nixon. Youngblood provides great stories about working with President Johnson; he also spends a lot of time on the assassination of President Kennedy. I worked closely for over eight years with the Secret Service, and Rufus Youngblood had an outstanding reputation and was held in the highest esteem.

20 Years in the Secret Service: My Life with Five Presidents

By Rufus W. Youngblood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 20 Years in the Secret Service as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When shots rang out in Dallas on November 22, 1963, U.S. Secret Service Agent Rufus W. Youngblood immediately lunged over the seat of the vice president's car and bravely used his body to shield Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson. Faced with the unknown, Youngblood maintained this protective position as they sped toward Parkland Hospital. Throughout that fateful day, he vigilantly remained by LBJ's side to ensure his safety.

This candid memoir includes Youngblood's first-hand account of the Kennedy assassination and its aftermath, as well as highlights from his twenty-year career in the Secret Service during which he protected Presidents Truman,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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