by Erin K. | | 4 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to Week 3 of the Online Book Club!

How is this book coming along for you this month? If you are just joining us, we’re reading The Butler: A Witness to History by Wil Haygood. If you’re reading or watching along with us this month, make sure to check back every week to read the new blog entry.

Since this book is a little different than ones we have read before, our blog posts are going to look a little different this month. Last week, we talked about Eugene Allen as a person, and this week, instead of talking about the movie version of Allen’s life, I thought we could watch a few video clips that show Eugene Allen talking about his life.

Eugene Allen worked under eight different presidents. I’m sure it was really interesting to work with so many powerful and influential men, but, I’m also sure that it was hard to get used to the quirks and differences of each president.

In an interview series presented by Smithsonian Folklife, Allen talks about working with President Carter. Check out the video if you’re interested to hear Allen talk about his experiences.


In this second clip, Allen talks about Nancy Reagan and attending the White House state dinner.


After watching the video clips, what are your impressions? Did watching Allen talk about his life affirm your impressions of him after reading the book, or did he seem different than you imagined? Finally, do you think you’d like to work in the White House? Can you imagine having to get along with all of the different personalities you’d encounter there?

I hope to hear your thoughts in the comments section! I’ll look forward to hearing from you next week as we talk about the movie, The Butler .


4 Responses to “The Butler: Week 3”

  1. Carrol

    Watching the video clips confirmed my impression of Eugene Allen. I thought he was a very humble, soft-spoken man. During the interviews he seemed to draw attention to the presidents he was describing instead of focusing a lot on himself. Even as he talked to the reporter, he seemed shy.

    I really liked hearing him talk about the dinner he attended as a guest with his wife. He felt comfortable in that role, and obviously, he wanted his wife to really enjoy the experience to the fullest.

    Working in the White House would be very exciting. I would love to see/meet all of the “big names” that come. It would be interesting to see the behind-the-scenes doings of our political leaders.

    Just from the clips, I could tell that Allen was very well liked by the presidents. Thanks for including those for us.

    • Erin K.

      Carrol, I agree that it would be really interesting to see all of the big names that show up in the White House. It seems like so many different types of people get to come to the White House. You could potentially see world leaders, actors, or sports figures. I think it would be really fun to meet some Olympians or other people like that!

      I liked how these clips made Eugene Allen seem like a real person, not just some vague entity in a newspaper article.

      Thanks for commenting again! See you next week!

  2. Jane Engle

    These clips further supported my impression of Eugene Allen as being a man who liked to share mutual respect and kindness with others and follow set rules of personal conduct. The clip about President Carter was again one that revealed the ease with which both of them got along. Nancy Reagan’s invitation to the White House State dinner as a guest would have been unexpected for Allen but not out of his realm of believing it. What made such an impact upon him was the fact that his wife was invited as well.

    While working in the White House may sound exciting, I know the reality of doing so would have never been something I would have been happy or capable of doing. Being silent when hearing certain things is not my style. Also, liking to think and do things for myself and others and being strong willed when considering what I feel to be right would quickly put me in conflict with someone who told me to do something with which I did not agree.

    • Erin K.

      Jane, I totally agree about the stress of working the White House. I can’t imagine how tense it would be to work there during times of crisis, and I can’t imagine having to interact with people who might be inflammatory or offensive.

      I think it would be interesting to see and meet interesting people, but I wouldn’t want the pressure of knowing every single bad thing that is happening or could potentially happen in the world.

      Thanks for commenting again this week! I look forward to hearing from you next week!

Comments are closed.