The Butler

A Witness to History

Haygood, Wil

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
The Butler
When acclaimed Washington Post writer Wil Haygood had an early hunch that Obama would win the 2008 election, he thought he'd highlight the singular moment by exploring the life of someone who had come of age when segregation was so widespread, so embedded in the culture, as to make the very thought of a black president inconceivable. He struck gold when he tracked down Eugene Allen, a butler who had served no fewer than eight presidents, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan.During his thirty-four years of service, Allen became what the Independent described as a "discreet stagehand who for three decades helped keep the show running in the most important political theatre of all." While serving tea and supervising buffets, Allen was also a witness to history as decisions about America's most momentous events were being made. Here he is at the White House while Kennedy contemplates the Cuban missile crisis: here he is again when Kennedy's widow returns from that fateful day in Dallas. Here he is when Johnson and his cabinet debate Vietnam, and here he is again when Ronald Reagan is finally forced to get tough on apartheid. Perhaps hitting closest to home was the civil rights legislation that was developed, often with passions flaring, right in front of his eyes even as his own community of neighbors, friends, and family were contending with Jim Crow America. With a foreword by the Academy Award-nominated director Lee Daniels, The Butler also includes an essay, in the vein of James Baldwin's jewel The Devil Finds Work, that explores the story of black images on celluloid and in Hollywood, and fifty-seven pictures of Eugene Allen, his family, the presidents he served, and the remarkable cast of the movie.

Publisher: New York :, 37 Ink/Atria,, 2013.
Edition: First 37 InkAtria Books hardcover edition.
ISBN: 1476752990
Characteristics: xii, 96 pages, [32] pages of plates :,illustrations (some color) ;,20 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jul 22, 2014
  • Angeleyes8 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The movie that was made based on this book related the story well. I actually seen the movie first but wanted to read the book to see if the movie told the story correctly.

Jul 15, 2014
  • calidreams rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

At not quite one hundred pages this a fast historical read.

Jun 19, 2014

If you’re looking for a traditional birth-to-present biography of Eugene Allen, you’re going to want to keep looking. Ditto if you were hoping for an in-depth “behind the scenes” glimpse of what life in the White House was like during different presidencies. This seems to a compilation of various “fly on the wall” moments of varying aspects of Allen’s life, presidencies, the making of the movie, and cinematographic history.

Apr 23, 2014

history of civil rights in usa through the eyes of one family, including the u.s. presidents. oprah is so good , i forgot she was oprah. based on a true story, some tearful moments.

Dec 23, 2013
  • Shelley51 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Very interesting story and lots of great pictures. Can't wait to see the movie.

Oct 04, 2013
  • mariednguyen rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

How True Is The Butler?


Add a Notice

Sep 23, 2013
  • mariednguyen rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Other: Release date August 16, 2013 (USA)


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at CLEVNET