The Gatekeepers

The Gatekeepers

How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency

Book - 2017
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"The first in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the White House Chiefs of Staff, whose actions--and inactions--have defined the course of our country. Since George Washington, presidents have depended on the advice of key confidants. But it wasn't until the twentieth century that the White House chief of staff became the second most powerful job in government. Unelected and unconfirmed, the chief serves at the whim of the president, hired and fired by him alone. He is the president's closest adviser and the person he depends on to execute his agenda. He decides who gets to see the president, negotiates with Congress, and--most crucially--enjoys unparalleled access to the leader of the free world. When the president makes a life-and-death decision, often the chief of staff is the only other person in the room. Each chief can make or break an administration, and each president reveals himself by the chief he picks. Through extensive, intimate interviews with all seventeen living chiefs and two former presidents, award-winning journalist and producer Chris Whipple pulls back the curtain on this unique fraternity, whose members have included Rahm Emanuel, Dick Cheney, Leon Panetta, and Donald Rumsfeld. In doing so, he revises our understanding of presidential history, showing us how James Baker and Panetta skillfully managed the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, ensuring their reelections--and, conversely, how Jimmy Carter never understood the importance of a chief, crippling his ability to govern. From Watergate to Iran-Contra to the Monica Lewinsky scandal to the Iraq War, Whipple shows us how the chief of staff can make the difference between success and disaster. As an outsider president tries to govern after a bitterly divisive election, The Gatekeepers could not be more timely. Filled with shrewd analysis and never-before-reported details, it is a compelling history that changes our perspective on the presidency."--Jacket flap.
Publisher: New York : Crown, c[2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780804138246
Branch Call Number: 973.92092 WHIPPLE
Characteristics: 365 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm


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Mar 08, 2019

If the continuing saga of the White House and all who sails in her draws you in, this book could be of interest. Chiefs of Staff. to the many Presidents is the subject. Background information, quite fascinating, and informative. One thing is clear, being the Gatekeeper in all the administrations, was not for sissies.

Jun 09, 2018

You know when you hear authors on podcasts and their books sound amazing, but when you pick them up to read, you've already heard all the good parts? That was not the case here. Really engaging about a topic I'm kind of depressed about - politics - and yet my reaction was to be completely uplifted and inspired.

Reading is to hold stories in your head and become a bigger, maybe more interesting, more thoughtful, just plain smarter person. This book ticks all those boxes. And it's well-written, well-researched, and reads so quickly I kind of wish I had not rushed through it assuming I wouldn't like it. I loved it.

Apr 29, 2018

If you are looking for a book that ties in with current events, particularly with #45's style of leadership and the White House statement that if John Kelly left, #45 would serve as his own Chief of Staff, citing former Presidents who had done that, read this book. I had NO IDEA how important a good Chief of Staff was until I read this book. It goes back to Nixon and finishes with Obama's Presidency.

Apr 25, 2018

For those currently watching what's going on in US politics, this book provides insight into the historical role that the (always male) Presidential Chief of Staff plays. It details each Chief, focusing on how successful or unsuccessful they were in the job as well as the challenges they faced. It was not compelling reading, but taken one chapter at a sitting, it informed me of a role I'd never previously given thought to. A timely read right now.

ArapahoeLesley Dec 10, 2017

A quick and quite interesting look at the role of the Chief of Staff in the administrations of the last 50 years or so. This is not a political book and wasn't preachy which was nice and I actually learned a lot and laughed quite a few times as well.

multcolib_susannel Oct 28, 2017

Some say a Chief of Staff can make or break a the way that a President is seen by the public since he/she controls who has access to the President. Read about the experience of seventeen Chiefs and see what you think.

Sep 03, 2017

Expertly written, traces the best of the best and worst of the worst personalities who have held the Chief of Staff role from Nixon to Obama. Trying to keep White House aides and staffers is like herding cats and the author brings history to life without any sordid reporting.
A most interesting book.


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