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On the House summary

John Boehner

A Washington Memoir

4.3 (16 ratings)
27 mins

Brief summary

'On the House' by John Boehner is a memoir that offers a behind-the-scenes look at American politics during his tenure as Speaker of the House.

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    On the House
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    An early lesson in service

    Our story begins on a cold Saturday morning in 1958. It’s 5:00 a.m. in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Boehner household is stirring.

    They have a modest, two-bedroom home. Twelve kids share the rooms – girls in one, boys in the other. Mom and Dad sleep on a fold-out sofa bed in the sitting room.

    Earl, John Boehner’s father, gets up first, taking care not to disturb his sleeping wife. He climbs the stairs, and wakes eight-year-old John and his older brother, Bob. The boys rub the sleep from their eyes and get dressed in the dark before quietly closing the front door and joining Earl in his truck.

    Fifteen minutes later, they pull up outside a small bar in the blue-collar neighborhood of Carthage. It’s 5:30 a.m., but there’s already a line of regulars outside. Some have just finished shifts in nearby factories; others are about to start. They’re hungry and thirsty.

    Andy’s Café always opens on time. Earl unlocks the doors and service starts. Plates loaded with sausages, bacon, eggs, and toast fly out of the kitchen. John and Bob help pour light, frothy pilsner into iced mugs – a favorite tipple in this historically German part of town, whatever the time of day. Customers in need of something stiffer down schnapps and bourbon.

    Andy’s has been the Boehner family business since 1947, the year John’s grandfather, Andrew, decided to quit his job as a pipe welder and fulfill a dream he’d had since the booze-free years of Prohibition. But it’s more than a watering hole. Both Andrew and Earl served their country – Andrew in the First World War, Earl in the Second. The bar lets them serve their community. It’s been the beating heart of Carthage ever since it opened, regulating the neighborhood’s overlapping cycles of work and rest.

    Everyone comes to Andy’s – line workers, clerks, managers, truck drivers, and shopkeepers. It’s like a family. It’s also the center of John’s world. It’s here that he learns the value of hard work. Between the ages of 8 and 18, he spends his weekends and evenings at Andy’s. He busses plates, takes orders, pours beer, and cleans bathrooms. At first, he earns $2 a shift. Later, that’s bumped up to $5. It’s enough for his first major purchase – a brand new six-speed Raleigh bike to replace the hand-me-downs he’s used to sharing with his siblings.

    But the lesson that really sticks goes deeper. It’s about respect and building relationships. It doesn’t matter what you look like, what you’re wearing, how much you drink, or how much money you’re spending – everyone is welcome at Andy’s. Boehner realizes that this family-owned bar is a microcosm of America: democratic, open, hardworking, and community-minded.

    It is these values that will shape his politics. Although that will come later.

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    What is On the House about?

    On the House (2021) is the memoir of a political maverick and one of the Republican party’s most outspoken representatives. Tracing his life from a Democrat-voting, blue-collar household in Cincinnati through to his crusading career on Capitol Hill, John Boehner tells us how Washington really works and dishes the dirt on enemies and allies alike.

    On the House Review

    On the House (2021) by John Boehner is an insightful memoir that offers an insider's perspective on American politics and the inner workings of Congress. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Boehner's first-hand accounts of major historical events provide a unique and captivating glimpse into the world of politics.
    • The book delves into the complexities of bipartisan relationships, tackling the challenges of negotiation and compromise in a polarized political landscape.
    • Boehner's personal anecdotes and candid reflections make this memoir an engaging read, shedding light on the human side of politics.

    Who should read On the House?

    • Politics buffs
    • Liberals interested in the other side of the story
    • Old-school conservatives

    About the Author

    John Boehner served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015. A member of the Republican Party, he was the representative for Ohio's Eighth Congressional District from 1991 to 2015. Today he is a senior policy advisor at Squire Patton Boggs and serves on the Steward Health Care board of directors.

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    On the House FAQs 

    What is the main message of On the House?

    The main message of On the House is a behind-the-scenes look at politics and a reflection on leadership and service.

    How long does it take to read On the House?

    The reading time for On the House depends on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is On the House a good book? Is it worth reading?

    On the House is a compelling book that offers insights into the world of politics and the challenges of navigating public office. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of On the House?

    The author of On the House is John Boehner.

    What to read after On the House?

    If you're wondering what to read next after On the House, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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