Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Under This Roof

by Paul Brandus

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book that read more like a novel than a nonfiction.

Under This Roof's main character is the White House with leading characters being 21 presidents of the United States.  Brandus tells about the condition of and changes made to the White House over the last 200 plus years.  Also included are major events during those presidents's years in office.

I was not a good history student and I blame it on my history teachers.  I wonder if a really interesting teacher had primed my curiosity if I would have become an history teacher instead of a science teacher.   At this stage of my life I love history and can't seem to get enough.

I have had a few interesting conversations with my brother, who is an American History teacher.  I called him just the other day with questions that arose from reading this book.  One was about the Louisiana Purchase that occurred during Thomas Jefferson's presidency.  I was confused when Jefferson sent Lewis & Clark to explore this new territory.  I am familiar with the Lewis & Clark trial and knew they explored all the way to the coast of Washington but I thought the Louisiana Purchase dealt with Louisiana and a few states around Louisiana.  I did some exploring online and talking to my brother.

It wasn't long before I called him again asking why the British were burning the White House and what caused them to turn east again?  I knew there was a War of 1812 but I couldn't have told you who we were fighting.  I assumed the U.S. won.  He told me the winner is in question and also, reminded me of the Johnny Horton song, The Battle of New Orleans, that I listened to again.  Wow! I have so many loose history events bouncing around in my brain that need connecting!

As you can guess, this pattern continued throughout my reading of Under This Roof.   Lots of online searching to answer more questions and to settle a few conflicting ideas.  A fun, and interesting process.

Under This Roof is an overall glance at some major events in history and how they tie-in to the White House and the presidency.  Don't expect in depth explanations of events.  Do expect interesting tidbits about our presidents and their terms in office and what was happening to their residency.  Expect an interesting and compelling  read.

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