From FDR's prop-driven Pan Am to the glimmering blue-and-white jumbo 747 on which George W. Bush travels, the president's plane has captured the public's awe and imagination and is recognized around the world as a symbol of American power. In this unique book, Air Force One is revealed as a very special habitat that functions as an invaluable window on each of the presidents who occupy it.
Based on interviews with five living presidents, scores of past and present government officials, and staff and crew members of Air Force One, Walsh's book features countless fascinating and often outrageous stories of life aboard the "flying White House."
This book shows how official White House photographers have morphed into ultimate insiders within the American presidency, allowed to observe and take pictures of nearly everything Chief Executives do related to their job. The "photogs" have often become close friends with the presidents they have served. Using these bonds of trust and their own powers of observation, they created fundamental impressions and public images of the presidents through the art of photography. Acting not only as image makers but as visual historians, they have built pictorial chronicles of the presidency—intimate narratives of America’s leaders in public and private, showing how they dealt with everyday life as well as moments of great crisis and opportunity. From children playing in the Oval Office to decisions to send troops into harm’s way, images created by White House photographers can make or break a presidential administration as well as define an era.
Combining incisive historical analysis with a journalist’s eye for detail, this book looks back to such presidents as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln as the forerunners of contemporary celebrity presidents. It examines modern presidents including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, and Theodore Roosevelt, each of whom qualified as a celebrity in his own time and place. The book also looks at presidents who fell short in their star appeal, such as George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush, Richard Nixon, and Lyndon Johnson, and explains why their star power was lacking.
Among the special features of the book are detailed profiles of the presidents and how they measured up or failed as celebrities; an historical analysis of America’s popular culture and how presidents have played a part in it, from sports and television to movies and the news media; the role of first ladies; and a portfolio of fascinating photos illustrating the intersection of the presidency with popular culture. An update looking at Hillary and "the Donald" puts contemporary politics in perspective with the evolution of presidential celebrity.