The Hidden White House

Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America’s Most Famous Residence

Robert Klara

St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books

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Critically acclaimed author Robert Klara's The Hidden White House leads readers through an unmatched tale of political ambition and technical skill: the Truman administration’s controversial rebuilding of the White House.

 

In 1948, President Harry Truman, enjoying a bath on the White House’s second floor, almost plunged through the ceiling of the Blue Room into a tea party for the Daughters of the American Revolution. A handpicked team of the country’s top architects conducted a secret inspection of the troubled mansion and, after discovering it was in imminent danger of collapse, insisted that the First Family be evicted immediately. What followed would be the most historically significant and politically complex home-improvement job in American history. While the Trumans camped across the street at Blair House, Congress debated whether to bulldoze the White House completely, and the Soviets exploded their first atomic bomb, starting the Cold War.

 
Indefatigable researcher Robert Klara reveals what has, until now, been little understood about this episode: America’s most famous historic home was basically demolished, giving birth to today’s White House. Leaving only the mansion’s facade untouched, workmen gutted everything within, replacing it with a steel frame and a complex labyrinth deep below ground that soon came to include a top-secret nuclear fallout shelter.

The story of Truman’s rebuilding of the White House is a snapshot of postwar America and its first Cold War leader, undertaking a job that changed the centerpiece of the country’s national heritage. The job was by no means perfect, but it was remarkable—and, until now, all but forgotten.

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About the Author

Robert Klara

ROBERT KLARA is the author of the critically acclaimed 2010 book FDR's Funeral Train, which historian and author Douglas Brinkley called “a major new contribution to U.S. history.” Klara has been a staff editor for several magazines including Adweek, Town & Country and Architecture. His freelance work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, American Heritage, and The Christian Science Monitor, among other publications. Klara makes his home in New York City.

Robert Klara

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Hidden White House
Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America’s Most Famous Residence
Robert Klara

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin/Thomas Dunne Books
10/21/2014
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781250053930
ISBN10: 1250053935
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 384 pages, Plus one 16-page black-and-white photograph insert
$15.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
October 2013
Hardcover
ISBN: 9781250000279
ISBN10: 1250000270
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches, 384 pages, Includes black-and-white photographs throughout plus one 16-page black-and-white photograph insert
$26.99

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
Thomas Dunne Books
October 2013
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781250022936
ISBN10: 1250022932
384 pages
$12.99
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St. Martin's Griffin

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