What do Dick Cheney and Rahm Emanuel have in common? Aside from polarizing personalities, both served as chief of staff to the president of the United States–as did Donald Rumsfeld, Leon Panetta, and a relative handful of othe
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Chris Whipple offers a stunning look behind the curtain and into the depths of the West Wing, wherein resides some of the most powerful unelected figures in the American political machine. At the pinnacle of this group is a man (for there has yet to be a woman in the role) who wears the moniker Chief of Staff (CoS). Charged with keeping the various factions at bay and protecting the President of the United States (POTUS), the CoS serves primarily as a gatekeeper, but also as the one whose job it
I approached this book as a lesser dose of politics in these deeply divisive days in America. While not an American myself, I have a keen interest in political history south of the Canadian border, something that Whipple offers here. Whipple uses key events and clashes between POTUS and CoS to illustrate that there were many times when decisions did not flow as smoothly as they might have appeared in front of the camera. There are also numerous mentions of Chiefs having to rein in their bosses, who were hellbent on making stupid mistakes, placing ego before pragmatism. With a narrative that entertains as well as educates, Whipple draws on first-hand interviews as well as documented evidence to provide the reader with as thorough a look behind the doors of power, save when doing so might violate national security. The reader can sit back and see the progression of the role of Chief of Staff, though there were times when Chiefs refused to learn from their predecessors, citing political or ideological reasons. While the role is surely political, Whipple argues that it is more a shepherd herding sheep, no matter their political stripe. And, wherever possible, protecting the man in the Oval Office from political shrapnel.
Kudos, Mr. Whipple, for such a wonderful piece. I can only hope that I find more of you work in the coming years, as it was informative but not preachy. Well worth the time invested.
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really liked it
This is a fantastic book on American politics, covering nearly 50 years of U.S. presidents and their White House chiefs of staff.
I was keen to pick up The Gatekeepers after seeing it referenced in a news story when Reince Priebus, Donald Trump’s chief of staff, was fired in July. The book explains why the role of White House chief of staff is so important, and has fascinating stories from the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clin
it was amazing
I found this a most interesting book to read. I learned a lot of information not only about the chief of staff but also about the president and his administration. The chief of staff(COS) is the highest-ranking White House employee. According to Whipple the chief of staff can make or break an administration. The author states the chief of staff is the second most powerful job in government. I found it most interesting to learn about the lessor known and written about but very important men. I wa
The book is well written and meticulously researched. The author interviews the seventeen-living chief of staffs. Apparently, there have been 28 COS’s since 1968. Whipple enhanced the narrative with his many interviews. Whipple’s writing style is very easy to read and he tosses in some humor. Whipple provides a valuable understanding of the positon and its duties. Whipple is a journalist and this comes through in his writing.
I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is almost 12 hours long. Mark Bramhall does a good job narrating the book. Bramhall is an actor and award-winning audiobook narrator.