The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency takes the somewhat hidden role and brings it to light. Author Chris Whipple helps analyze these Chiefs of Staff from Ford to Obama. What is a Chief of Staff? This role combines someone who must keep the staff in line, while also being upfront and critical of the President, who can hire or fire them seemingly at will. The Gatekeepers is a critical analysis of those who have filled the role, and how their involvement defined each presidency.
Before reading The Gatekeepers, I had no idea that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had spent so much time so close to Presidents. Many named come up time and again, while a few show up only once before being removed from their post and rather unceremoniously asked to leave. The book makes several arguments as to why certain Presidents are hated or were caught in scandal, while others seem intensely stressed at trying to do so much without the help of their Chief of Staff.
Chris Whipple’s book most definitely has a left-leaning slant, so if you are incredibly political one way or another you may find the book polarizing. If your views are somewhere in the middle, or you really just want to find out more about the role of Chief of Staff and its importance, The Gatekeepers is fascinating.
The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency is now available from Crown Publishing.