Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

September Books 9) Starling of the White House

9) Starling of the White House, by Colonel Edmund W. Starling (as told to Thomas Sugrue)

Starling was recruited to the Secret Service in 1914, and guarded in turn Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt. There is little here about the last two, but his portrayal of work at very close quarters with the first three is vivid, entertaining and at times moving; Starling was obviously much more than a guard, and seems to have had a genuine and deep friendship with both Wilson and Coolidge. (I was moved to tears by the death of Calvin Coolidge - and that's a sentence I never dreamed I would write.) One can't, of course, be sure how much of this is Starling himself and how much is his ghost-writer; in the first few chapters, describing Starling's early life and pre-White House career, you can almost hear the Kentucky twang in his voice, but that seems to fall off as the book goes on. One of the glades at the foot of Mount Rushmore is named after Starling, which seems a fitting tribute.

Thanks to wwhyte for the loan of the book.
Tags: bookblog 2007, history: us
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