What's it like to be President? The book
November 5, 2008 1:50 PM   Subscribe

With all the presidential talk, I'd like to read a good book on what it's like to be President of the United States.

I'm thinking something that talks about what day-to-day life in the White House is like. Not so much politics -- but things like security: how the secret service operates, underground bunkers, and other cool things like that. Or how does the presidential kitchen operate? What else goes on in the house that's not common knowledge? Air Force One? Can the president pick up the phone and have a Big Mac delivered at any time of the day or night? Stuff like that.

Basically like a behind-the-scenes look at the White House and what it's like to live there, and to be President. Anything?
posted by nitsuj to Law & Government (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Not a book, but National Geographic's documentary series on the White House, the Secret Service and Air Force One is top notch.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:08 PM on November 5, 2008

This book has more to do with the business workings of the West Wing and how they support the president but still a very good read. I read it like a manual to working under the president.
posted by blackjack514 at 2:30 PM on November 5, 2008

I got this for my political junkie son. Although I suppose it falls under the "young adult" heading, it covers the basics.
posted by timsteil at 2:36 PM on November 5, 2008

Again, not a book, but a lot of this is covered fairly accurately on The West Wing. Unfortunately (or fortunately), they're interspersed throughout the series and you'd have to watch most of the series to get it all.
posted by chrisamiller at 2:43 PM on November 5, 2008

Madeline Albright's book "Memo to the President Elect" gave me some insights to the contemporary Presidency.
posted by X4ster at 2:43 PM on November 5, 2008

A lot of what you're interested in is classified, and they won't tell you about it. how the secret service operates, underground bunkers, and other cool things like that. Like that stuff.
posted by Class Goat at 4:47 PM on November 5, 2008

Seconding The West Wing. Great show (the Sorkin years only), and you get a real feel for the day to day workings of the White House. I don't know how accurate it really is, but it has verisimilitude. I wonder what Bill Clinton or George Bush think of it....
posted by zardoz at 7:39 PM on November 5, 2008

I liked Ronald Reagan's biography. It gave some pretty good insight of the day to day going ons of a President and brought back some memories I had forgotten. He wrote it in a first person format so you get an insight of how powerful the position of "President" actually is and is not. He covers everything from his own personal doc to Air Force One and all the news of that time.
posted by bkeene12 at 8:01 PM on November 5, 2008

Some of the presidential biographies of the fat-masterpiece school (Lou Cannon's work on Reagan, Robert Caro's on LBJ, maybe put David McCullough in there), just because of the gigantic scope and scale of such projects, might be rewarding.
posted by box at 8:13 PM on November 5, 2008

I would suggest Clinton's My Life - or st least the second half of it. There are lots of little tidbits in there that had me saying to myself, "what? That's how the president does it??"
posted by bradth27 at 9:49 PM on November 5, 2008

The Reagan diaries : "During his two terms as the fortieth president of the United States, Ronald Reagan kept a daily diary in which he recorded, by hand, his innermost thoughts and observations on the extraordinary, the historic, and the routine day-to-day occurrences of his presidency."

In my university library there were large volumes, several for each president going back quite a ways, which had a record of each president's daily activities while in office; the entries were usually only a few sentences per day (sometimes longer) but sometimes had some interesting and unexpected minutiae in them. I remember specifically paging through Clinton's. Unfortunately I can't find a title for you, but I am putting this here in the hopes that it may jog someone else's memory and they can give you the info for it.
posted by frobozz at 9:56 PM on November 5, 2008

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