The Hidden White House

The Hidden White House

Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence

Book - 2013
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"Critically acclaimed author Klara leads readers through an unmatched tale of political ambition and technical skill: the refurbishment of the White House during the Truman administration In 1948, Harry Truman, President of the United States, almost fell through the ceiling of the Blue Room in a bathtub into a meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution. A team of the nation's top architects was hastily assembled to inspect the White House, and upon seeing the state the old mansion was in, insisted the First Family be evicted immediately. What followed was the biggest home-improvement job the nation had ever seen. The Trumans moved across the street to the Blair House, the Congress argued about how much the job would cost, and then, in the midst of it all, the Soviets exploded an atomic bomb. Indefatigable researcher Rob Klara reveals what has, until now, been little understood about this episode: America's most famous historic home was basically demolished, giving birth to today's White House. The facade was left intact, but the entire structure was taken apart, removed, and replaced with a steel structure with a complex series of steel-reinforced subbasements and bomb shelters. The story of Truman's rebuilding of the White House is a snapshot of postwar America and its first Cold War leader, undertaking a job that changed a piece of America's national heritage. The job was by no means perfect, but it was remarkable--and history has nearly forgotten about it"--
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books, 2013
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781250000279
Branch Call Number: F204.W5 K55 2013
Characteristics: viii, 371 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Jun 23, 2016

Non-fiction: not what you might expect, based on the title alone. I found this account of the White House renovation undertaken during the Truman administration fascinating. The politics, the Cold War, the history of loss of priceless WH furnishings in previous renovations....and history repeats itself when less than 10 of the >300 rooms are restored to their original condition with carefully stored material, due to time constraints. Villains and heroes abound. Anyone can enjoy this history, but engineers, architects and designers will be in 7th heaven (or hell, given loss of original materials) reading this book.


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