Friday, October 11, 2013

A Witness to History

When I first heard about the movie, Lee Daniels' The Butler, I was immediately drawn to the storyline. How fascinating it must have been to be in the presence of such great leaders in time with so much change, excitement, and chaos. I knew this would be a movie I would want to see. Well, I have yet to see the movie, but was thrilled when I saw Wil Haygood's book The Butler: A Witness to History. I knew, based on experience, this book would be so much better than any movie. Again, I have not seen the movie, but I have to say the book did leave me a little disappointed. I guess I have to say this because it was not what I wanted it to be. I wanted the book to be about Mr. Eugene Allen who served under either presidents from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan. Don't get me wrong it was about this man, but it wasn't as much about the stories he could have told, his experiences. I wanted so much more. Who else could say they were in the White House when so many historical events took place - President Eisenhower signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, President Kennedy pledging the United States would land a man on the moon in 1961 and his widows arrival back to the White House after the fateful trip to Dallas.

I would think all of these historical events were well etched in Mr. Allen's mind and in his heart based on his portrayal by Haygood, but his ethical spirit would not allow his personal revelations on these events. Through the pages of the The Butler, Haygood represents Mr. and Mrs. Allen as respectable people. He was a person who wanted to do the very best job he could for the people he served while in the White House. He would not allow himself to be persuaded to reveal any details or accounts of events that took place in his presence. Oh, what a story he could have told. I'm disappointed because I wanted more, but I am happy to know that Mr. Allen was such a dedicated employee that he took his stories to the grave.

I would recommend this book for those who are interested in Mr. Allen and the movie Lee Daniels' The Butler. The second half of the book has a lot of information about the production of the movie. There are also photographs of Mr. Allen and his wife, as well as the Presidents for whom he served.

*To comply with new guidelines introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, Atria Press has provided a complimentary electronic copy of this book for review purposes. My review is in no way influenced by the author or publishing company and is solely my opinion.