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From the Corner of the Oval

Updated: Aug 10, 2018

An enlightening and captivating journey around the world on Air Force One.



In 2012, Beck Dorey-Steinback was just scraping by in DC, when a posting on Craigslist landed her, most improbably, in the oval office as one of Barack Obama stenographers. She joined the elite team who accompanied the President wherever he went and recorded and transcribed all of his talks. She traveled across time zones, and forge friendships with a group of fellow travelers-young men and women who, like her herself, left their real lives behind, to hop aboard Air Force One in the service of the President. As she learns the ropes Beck becomes romantically entangled with a senior staffer, and major drama ensues. This is a story of a young woman making unlikely friendships, getting her heartbroken, learning what truly matters and discovering her voice in the process.


I was drawn in by this enlightening behind the scenes look at the Obama administration. The good ole days! From the Corner of the Oval is Beck’s personal adventure for a job which started when she didn’t even show up for the first interview...but she got the job anyway. Good for her!

I loved the descriptions of the things she had to do, the people she met and the places she went. I was drawn in by her sense of wonder and appreciation for seeing places like Myanmar and the Shwedagon Pagoda and later watching a Burmese man in his late 60’s with tears streaming down his face, as the president speaks of his country’s potential. It is at this point that Beck states she will remember that this is why she’s here. She will remember to look up. She will remember to remember. And that is what she has shared with us, her reflections of what she saw when she looked up.

While I didn’t enjoy reading about the drama of her personal relationships with the men in her life, I did appreciate her honesty and openness in admitting her mistakes and failures. Her perspective is young and fresh and she takes us on an around the world journey on Air Force One that few have been privy to. It was a joy to read this educational and captivating book.

Beck Dorey-Stein is a graduate of Wesleyan University. Prior to her White House experience she taught high school English. This is her first book, which has already been optioned for a movie by Universal Pictures and Anonymous Content. Thanks to LibraryThing and Random House for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher Random House

Published July 10, 2018

Who doesn’t want a compliment to level out the smell of the sweat that embalms our blazers, the dark circles under our eyes, the smeared mascara and blotted catchup stains, the phones lost, pounds gained, the days without exercise, the decadent four-thousand-calorie meals we scarf down in the middle of the night? Who doesn’t want a little light thrown in their direction when we’ve all had our focus on one man since we locked our front doors and loaded our suitcases in the cabs three, four, ten days ago?
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