Smithsonian Associates, Interview Series
Deep in the woods of Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains, up miles of unmarked road lined with towering oaks, sits an intensely private and fascinating complex that serves as the presidential family retreat: Camp David. Invitations to this exclusive getaway go only to a select few, while the rest of us have been left to wonder, “What is it really like?”
That’s the question retired Rear Admiral Michael Giorgione aims to answer with Inside Camp David: The Private World of the Presidential Retreat (Little, Brown and Company). A former Camp David commander, Giorgione served under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and has a first-hand understanding of the connection between the first family and this notable sanctuary.
Camp David has played a vital role in American history over the past 75 years as a setting for presidents and national and international leaders to converge, converse, and, perhaps most importantly, relax. It was where FDR and Churchill planned D-Day (the porch where they sat still remains); the 1978 Camp David Peace Accords took place; George W. Bush spent the night after 9/11; and Barack Obama taught his daughter Malia how to drive.