Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club!
If you’ve already started reading The Butler: A Witness to History, you might have noticed that this book is different from other books we’ve read as a club. For one thing, it is a continuation of an article first published in the Washington Post in 2008. You can read that article on the newspaper’s website. Also, the book itself isn’t very long, and only one section is really about the life of Eugene Allen. The second half of the book is about the movie version of his life which hit screens back in 2013.
Regardless of the way the book is written or the length of the book, Eugene Allen’s story is really interesting and is worth investigating.
All of the anecdotes about Allen show him to be a generous, kind, and hardworking man. However, one story in particular really stuck with me. I think it shows just how neat he was. In the days after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Allen organized a party for John, Jr. and Caroline. He helped plan a special meal and served them, just to make sure they could experience a little joy in a time of great sadness. I found that story to be incredibly moving.
I also thought it was really interesting that he turned down an opportunity to go to JFK’s funeral because he thought that someone should stay behind and be ready to serve everyone when they got out of the funeral. He was such an unselfish man!
I can’t imagine all of the other things that Allen saw during his tenure at the White House. He had an unprecedented view of the nation by being that close to history every day at work.
What were your favorite parts about Allen’s story? Did you have a favorite anecdote that stuck out to you as you read?
Before I go, I’ll leave this interesting link with you. This article explains the differences between Eugene Allen and the movie’s main character, Cecil Gaines. Make sure to read the article if you’re curious about how much of the movie is actually based on Allen’s life!