From the Corner of the Oval is a compulsively readable, behind-the-scenes memoir that takes readers inside the Obama White House, through the eyes of a young staffer learning the ropes, falling in love, and finding her place in the world.
In 2012, Beck Dorey-Stein was just scraping by in DC when a posting on Craigslist landed her, improbably, in the Oval Office as one of Barack Obama's stenographers. The ultimate DC outsider, she joined the elite team who accompanied the president wherever he went, recorder and mic in hand, eventually traveling to 45 countries around the globe.
On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forged friendships with a tight group of fellow travelers—young men and women who, like her, left their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president. From running next to Obama on a treadmill in an otherwise empty hotel gym, to embarking on a spontaneous group excursion to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Burma, Beck shows us what the presidency looked like from her own particular vantage point: The corner of every room Obama was in.
But as she learned the ropes of protocol, life was happening behind the scenes. Beck became romantically entangled with a consummate DC insider—and suddenly, the political became all too personal. Set against the backdrop of a White House full of glamour, drama, and intrigue, this is the story of a young woman making unlikely friendships, getting her heart broken, learning what truly matters, and discovering her voice in the process.
“Ms. Dorey-Stein managed what has to be a White House first by memorializing her time transcribing presidential speeches. Her breezy page turner is essentially Bridget Jones goes to the White House, offering stories of love affairs with Sam, who goes off to campaign in Missouri, and Jason, who refuses to leave his girlfriend, as well as cautionary tales about dating Secret Service agents. Ms. Dorey-Stein’s book was packaged with a movie option for a combined seven-figure deal.”
—White House correspondent Peter Baker
“Love and heartbreak, ambition and jealousy, whirlwind travel to exotic locales and more page-turning drama than your favorite addictive novel. Consider yourself warned: This is not your father’s White House memoir.”—Camille Perri
“I tore through the entire book on a four-hour flight. . . . Who knew the West Wing could be so sexy? Beck’s unparalleled access is obvious on every page, along with her knife-sharp humor.”—Lauren Weisberger
A graduate of Wesleyan University, Beck Dorey-Stein worked as a White House stenographer from 2012 to 2017. Previously she worked as a high school English teacher in Hightstown, New Jersey, Washington, DC, and Seoul, South Korea. This is her first book.
Hope Hall was President Obama's Principal Videographer at the White House in the Office of Digital Strategy. Her short films have been selected for over 40 film festivals worldwide and have received numerous awards, including at Sundance.