Deborah Davis writes about history. She does a wonderful job of letting us into an event or a period of time to show us not only what was happening, but how it influenced us as a culture and citizens. She is the author of six narrative non-fiction books, with her newest bestseller, Guest of Honor: Booker T. Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and the White House Dinner that Shocked a Nation, which telling the story of the remarkable event that ignited a racial storm, divided the country, and threatened to topple two of America’s greatest men. Her other works include Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X (Tarcher/Putnam, 2003), the story behind the legendary John Singer Sargent painting that propelled the artist to international renown but condemned his subject to a life of public ridicule; Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball, which transports readers to the Oz-like splendor of New York in 1966, where Capote, at the pinnacle of his fame, threw himself the party to end all parties; The Secret Lives of Frames: 100 Years of Art and Artistry, a history of the picture frame, the beautiful, hardworking, and frequently overlooked Cinderella of the art world; and Gilded: How Newport Became the Richest Resort in America, a colorful history of the fabled city from its first colonists to its new millennium millionaires. She has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Magazine Antiques, and Art and Antiques. Prior to becoming an author, she was a story editor and story analyst for several major film companies, including Warner Bros. Miramax, and Disney.
In her new book, “Guest Of Honor” which we discuss in our interview, she profiles a dinner that changed the country when In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to have dinner with the First Family. The next morning, news that the president had dined with a black man—and former slave—sent shockwaves through the nation. Although African-Americans had helped build the White House and had worked for most of the presidents, not a single one had ever been invited to dine there. Fueled by inflammatory newspaper articles, political cartoons, and even vulgar songs, the scandal escalated and threatened to topple two of America’s greatest men.
Here “The King Of Kamelot” sits down with the wonderful historian and writer in NYC before her interview with Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC to talk about how one dinner that in today’s time would be routine almost destroyed the lives and fabric of two men, a nation, and the divide between people. We learn that these men were far more alike then they could have ever imagined and that their dinner would help define their legacies for the rest of their lives. The book is terrific, the reviews have been outstanding, and Deborah was an absolute joy to meet and interview and I CAN’T wait to see her next book on The Oprah Winfrey Show!! Enjoy Kade Nation!!