> Skip to content

The 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 Washington 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. On whirlwind trips across time zones, Beck forged friendships with a tight group of fellow travellers - young men and women who, like her, left their real lives behind to hop aboard Air Force One in service of the president. But as she learned the ropes of protocol, Beck became romantically entangled with a colleague, 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.


Who knew the West Wing could be so sexy? Beck’s unparalleled access is obvious on every page, along with her knife-sharp humour.

Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada

If you’ve ever felt like you were out of your element, in over your head, or working without a net, you will love this book. Beck Dorey-Stein offers an endlessly fascinating perspective on power and history in the making. This memoir is funny, fast-paced, and so emotionally true that it hurts.

Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black

A sassy, genuinely hilarious and poignant tale... This marvellously addictive read is worth the cover price for its insider account of Obama's presidency alone.

Caroline Sanderson, Bookseller

Love and heartbreak, ambition and jealousy, whirlwind travel to exotic locales and more page-turning drama than your favourite addictive novel. Consider yourself warned: this is not your father’s White House memoir.

Camille Perri, author of The Assistants

Addictively readable... From the Corner of the Oval shatters the genre of the Washington memoir. Dorey-Stein writes with a fine eye for detail and conveys it with freshness, candor and humor. She takes her readers with her on a vertiginous tour of the world [...] and her sparkling, crackling prose had me cheering for her through each adventure. She never loses her starry-eyed optimism, her pinch-me wonderment, her “Working Girl” pluck. Which makes From the Corner of the Oval somehow, against the odds, a story of hope

Paul Begala, New York Times

This memoir is good and gossipy, will make you wish that you got to hang out with Barack and Michelle on a daily basis and is the missing link between The West Wing and Bridget Jones’s Diary.


An entertaining behind-the-scenes memoir of a young Obama White House staffer.

Lorraine Candy, Sunday Times Style Magazine

This memoir by a former Oval Office stenographer is equal parts racy, pacy and funny. From barely keeping her head above financial waters in Washington DC to hopping on board Air Force One with Barack Obama and his elite team, Dorey-Stein doesn’t so much dish the dirt as mop up the mess left at her feet by the drama of politics and the heartbreak of romance.

Irish Independent

Bright pink and zinging with energy and sparkle...this book beautifully recaptures those vanished days of Obama's gentle wisdom. What makes it stand out among fly-on-the-wall accounts of the White House is Beck's honesty about the roller-coaster love affair she embarks on with a senior staffer, a grade-one, Jilly-Cooper-novel rotter.

Daily Mail

Hilarious . . . [Beck] Dorey-Stein writes with honesty and panache.

Publishers Weekly

An incredible story


As someone who loves The West Wing, From the Corner of the Oval Office spoke to my geeky heart and gives great, sometimes surprising, insights into what it’s like to work for one of the most powerful person on the planet.

Sarah Shaffi, Stylist

If you’re like me and you pour yourself a cocktail and look at pictures of Obama and cry, you will adore From the Corner of the Oval. If you’re a normal person who ever wanted to be a fly on the wall in a singularly historic place in time, you will find this book fascinating. Beck Dorey-Stein’s warmth, humor, and keen view made me wistful, happy, hopeful, and only sad when the book ended.

Julie Klam, author of The Stars in Our Eyes

Sex, lies and the White House... Dorey-Stein details her extraordinary experiences at the side of the former leader of the free world. Incredible.


An insider account of Obama's presidency in this fascinating memoir by former White House staffer Beck Dorey-Stein

Good Housekeeping

Intriguing and funny


A White House story with shades of Bridget Jones... Dorey-Stein is perceptive and has made an unusually interesting contribution to the groaning shelves of presidential history.

Evening Standard

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    July 16, 2018

    Bantam Press

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback


    July 15, 2018

    Bantam Press

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    July 10, 2018

    Transworld Digital

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo


Guidelines for Aspiring Stenographers:

Abide by the rules, grammatical and otherwise.

Show up early and say nothing.

Be discreet and neat—like a librarian or a well-paid prostitute.

Neutral tones set the tone.

Breathe quietly or not at all.

Apply semicolons sparingly; do not question convention.

Live to type, don’t type to live.

Exude femininity in a strictly nonsexual way.

No hanky-panky in the workplace—or anywhere, ever.

Do not aim for perfection. Be perfection.

And above all else, keep the secrets to yourself.

I should not be a stenographer.

Continue Reading


The Year Everything Changed
Rather His Own Man
Finding My Virginity
The Boy Behind the Curtain
The Prisoner
When Breath Becomes Air
Out of the Forest
In Order To Live
Red Notice
The Motherhood
Lion: A Long Way Home
Miss Ex-Yugoslavia
Young Hitler
There Is More
The Sun Does Shine
The World As It Is
Remaking the Middle East
The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind