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When acclaimed Washington Post writer Wil Haygood had an early hunch that Obama would win the 2008 election, he thought he'd highlight the singular moment by exploring the life of someone who had come of age when segregation was so embedded in the culture as to make the very thought of a black president inconceivable. He struck gold when he tracked down Eugene Allen, a butler who had served eight presidents, from Harry Truman to Ronald Reagan.
Forest Whitaker narrates the story of this remarkable man who, while serving tea and supervising buffets, was also a witness to history as decisions about America's most momentous events were being made.
With a foreword by the Academy Award-nominated director Lee Daniels, The Butler also includes Wil Haygood's essay exploring the history of black images on celluloid and in Hollywood, read here by David Oyelowo and Oprah Winfrey.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Cris on 08-05-13
Not what I was expecting
What would have made The Butler better?
If it was the story of Eugene and not the ad lib from the other narrators.
Would you be willing to try another book from Wil Haygood? Why or why not?
Maybe. I just didn't like the end.
What didn’t you like about the narrators’s performance?
I was expecting a story about Eugene and his experiences, not all the added after the fact.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
I loved hearing about Eugene and his wife.
Any additional comments?
Could have been a little more about Eugene and his experiences rather than about how we now have a black president and look where we are now. Not that I'm against the "look where we are now", it's just that I wanted to hear about events that took place during his time working in the White House. Maybe because I saw the advertisement for the movie, my expectations of the book were higher. It was this advertisement that got me interested in the book.
24 of 24 people found this review helpful
By T. Arcangel on 08-06-13
NOT as Advertised
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Someone who is interested in the history of African Americans in cinema.
What could Wil Haygood have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
Told more of the story of Eugene Allen.
Did the narrators do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?
I did like the narration in the first hour of the book.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
I was very disappointed. I imagined that the film, "The Butler" would be based on this book, so I wanted to hear the book first. In truth, the book is only an advertisement for the film! I have purchased other books from Audible that I wasn't crazy about, but this is the first time that I've ever felt ripped off.
Any additional comments?
I expected this book to be a biography of Eugene Allen, butler in the White House. The first hour of the book is about the author's attempt to find and interview Mr. Allen, and does include a few stories about Mr. Allen and his wife. A little over one half of the book has nothing to do with Mr. Allen. It is all about the history of African Americans in movie-making history. I did not buy this book to hear about Denzel Washington being nominated for an Oscar, I bought it to hear about the butler, Eugene Allen.
29 of 30 people found this review helpful