It’s no secret that Americans have become increasingly interested in the furry companions behind presidents, and in Pets at the White House: 50 Years of Presidents and their Pets, author Jennifer Pickens explores just how pivotal a role presidential pets have played. Filled with rare stories, anecdotes, photos, and with a foreword by former first lady Barbara Bush, this book covers all the bases—from the days when livestock grazed the White House lawn, to the very public debate that surrounded the Obama’s dog Bo.
Pickens truly captures the interesting ways that presidential pets have served to humanize their political parents, and she does so in a way that even the non-history buff can appreciate. You’ll come away from this book with a view of American presidents that paints them as pet lovers first, and politicians second; for the White House has always been filled with devout animal lovers. Barbara Bush says it best in her foreword: “[W]hen you have the toughest job in the world, there is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog.”