Synopses & Reviews
In this revealing social history, one remarkable White House dinner becomes a lens through which to examine race, politics, and the lives and legacies of two of Americaand#8217;s most iconic figures. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to have dinner at the executive mansion with the First Family. The next morning, news that the president had dined with a black manand#8212;and former slaveand#8212;sent shock waves through the nation. Although African Americans had helped build the White House and had worked for most of the presidents, not a single one had ever been invited to dine there. Fueled by inflammatory newspaper articles, political cartoons, and even vulgar songs, the scandal escalated and threatened to topple two of Americaand#8217;s greatest men. andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;In this smart, accessible narrative, one seemingly ordinary dinner becomes a window onto postand#8211;Civil War American history and politics, and onto the lives of two dynamic men whose experiences and philosophies connect in unexpected ways. Deborah Davis also introduces dozens of other fascinating figures who have previously occupied the margins and footnotes of history, creating a lively and vastly entertaining book that reconfirms her place as one of our most talented popular historians.
"In this engaging social history, Davis (Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X) uses the story of a dinner to depict the friendship between two of America's most impressive leaders: Booker T. Washington and Theodore Roosevelt. Booker T. and TR came from extraordinarily disparate backgrounds the first born a slave, the second born a member of America's highest social tier. Early in their careers, however, the visionary educator and the politician formed a fascinating and mutually beneficial relationship that granted each a leg up in their respective spheres that is, until Booker T. joined TR and his family for dinner at the White House. What should have been an important step forward in racial equality ended up being so aggravating to Southern racists that the brilliant partnership between the two men was forever thrown off its tracks, and blacks in the South became even more vulnerable to violent attacks from whites fearful of 'Negro Aspiration.' In fluid prose and with clear respect for her subject matter, Davis paints a vivid picture of race relations at the turn of the 20th century a story resonating with today's fraught political and racial landscape. Agent: Scott Waxman, the Waxman Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Deborah Davis is the author of andlt;iandgt;Fabritius and the Goldfinch: A True Story of Art, Tragedy, and Immortalityandlt;/iandgt;; andlt;iandgt;Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and the White House Dinner That Shocked a Nationandlt;/iandgt;; andlt;iandgt;Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame Xandlt;/iandgt;; andlt;iandgt;Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ballandlt;/iandgt;; and andlt;iandgt;Gilded: How Newport Became the Richest Resort in Americaandlt;/iandgt;. She formerly worked as an executive, story editor, and story analyst for several major film companies.