“An utter delight…it opens windows into the history of this country by showing how some of this country’s makers and shapers lived.”—Wall Street Journal.
From Teddy Roosevelt’s estate, Sagamore Hill, on Long Island to Harry Truman’s humble home in Independence, Missouri, here are the homes—inside and out—of 15 American presidents through an artist’s eyes.
Adam Van Doren has a deep appreciation for architecture and the ways people shape their environments. About Mount Vernon, he writes: “Subtler touches, like the cupola, the faux rustication, and the red roof are all evidence of Washington’s refined sense of how to transform an ordinary farmhouse into a stately manor.” At Franklin Roosevelt’s Hyde Park home, Van Doren emphasizes its accommodations for F.D.R.’s wheelchair. From Monticello in Virginia to Wheatland, the Pennsylvania home of James Buchanan, to Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas – plus the White House, where all but the first president lived – Van Doren records each home’s style and heritage. All giving the reader a fresh look at America’s presidents and their lives and times.
The House Tells the Story if it does nothing else, proves that the art of letter writing is not, after all, dead. Every page of each letter contains one or more charming and evocative watercolor pictures of the houses, furniture, vistas, and historical incidents . . . [it] is an utter delight, as it opens windows into the history of this country by showing how some of this country’s makers and shapers lived.
—John Steele Gordon, Wall Street Journal