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A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at life on Pennsylvania Avenue with Americas first families, by the man who spent nearly three decades in their midst.J. B. West, chief usher of the White House, directed the operations and maintenance of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenueand coordinated its daily lifeat the request of the president and his family. He directed state functions planned parties, weddings, funerals, gardens, playgrounds, and extensive renovations and with a large staff, supervised every activity in the presidential home. For 28 years, first as assistant to the chief usher, then as chief usher, he witnessed national crises and triumphs, and interacted daily with six consecutive presidents and first ladies, their parents, children and grandchildren, and houseguestsincluding friends, relatives, and heads of state.



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J. B. West

J. B. West (1912-1983) , chief usher of the White House - or executive director of the executive mansion and grounds - was once called "the most powerful man in Washington next to the president." Discreet and witty, he supervised the large permanent staff that provided for every personal want and need for six presidents and first ladies, including at state dinners, weddings, and funerals, redecorating the facilities for each family and tending to every special request. He served first as assistant to the chief usher and then as chief usher after retiring as a high-level civilian officer of the US Navy. A native Iowan, his White House tenure (1941-1969) followed a career in the Veterans Administration.

Upstairs at the White House was published in 1973 and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for months, with more than five hundred extraordinarily positive reviews, editions in seven languages, and more than two million copies sold in the US across hardcover and paperback formats.



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