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. 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 others. The chiefs of staff, often referred to as "the gatekeepers," wield tremendous power in Washington and beyond; they decide who is allowed to see the president, negotiate with Congress to push POTUS's agenda, and-most crucially-enjoy unparalleled access to the leader of the free world. 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. In doing so, he revises our understanding of presidential history, showing us how James Baker's expert managing of the White House, the press, and Capitol Hill paved the way for the Reagan Revolution-and, conversely, how Watergate, the Iraq War, and even the bungled Obamacare rollout might have been prevented by a more effective chief. Filled with shrewd analysis and never-before-reported details, The Gatekeepers offers an essential portrait of the toughest job in Washington.
Praise for Chris Whipple's The Gatekeepers New York Times Bestseller "Entertaining and engaging." -Wall Street Journal "Compelling and insightful... destined to take its place alongside classic works by Richard Neustadt, Theodore White and other White House chroniclers... A must-read." -Huffington Post "Carefully researched and eminently readable, The Gatekeepers... provides a fresh view of the modern presidencies. Whipple cuts to the heart of what, or more to the point who, makes a presidency succeed or fail." -Newsday "A treasure trove of stories about 'the second-most-powerful job in government.'" -Fort Worth Star Telegram "Could not be more timely...There are valuable lessons in The Gatekeepers for Trump's chief, the embattled Reince Priebus." -TIME.com "Captivating...This is a tale told by a journalist, and in a way that makes for better history." -USNews.com "[Whipple's] prose is clear, crisp and often evocative...his observations ring true as he tracks the development of the office." -Washington Times "Observers of the political scene will find this book well worth their time and attention. Whipple's style is lively and engaging, and he peppers the pages with colorful quotes and marvelous anecdotes." -History News Network "A candid and exhilarating history about the development of the office of Chief of Staff." -Missourian "Chris Whipple takes us deep inside one of the most important and demanding jobs in Washington-White House chief of staff. Here we get to know how great power is managed, and exercised by those who have held the job. If you're a political junkie or merely curious, this is the book for you." -Tom Brokaw, former anchor, NBC Nightly News "A vivid, enthralling, and brilliantly reported account of White House chiefs of staff, who are-with all respects to US vice presidents-the actual second-most-powerful people in Washington. This is US history through the fascinating prism of the men who guard the door to the Oval Office, and a learned, welcome, and important addition to the study of the executive branch." -Christopher Buckley, author of Thank You for Smoking, No Way to Treat a First Lady, and The Relic Master "Understanding how government really works, what Presidents actually do, and what is the range of 'normal' versus 'unprecedented' behavior, is more important now than ever before. As The Gatekeepers makes vividly clear, White House chiefs of staff are at the center of the process that determines how presidents succeed or fail. This is an enlightening work of history with important lessons for our immediate future." -James Fallows, The Atlantic, former White House speechwriter "Chief of Staff is a role of recent vintage-the most powerful job in government never mentioned in the Constitution. Chris Whipple has done a wonderful job humanizing the crushing nature of the 24/7 job (literally 24/7) in which all credit or blame goes to the President who is served. This is a book of insights, but so too is it an important manual on how the executive branch of our government functions." -Charles Gibson, former anchor, ABC World News Tonight "The story of White House chiefs of staff-often second only to the president in power-is an especially fresh and engaging way to chart the ups and downs of recent American presidents. And through Chris Whipple's discerning lens, we learn scores of new things about how government really works at the highest level." -Jonathan Alter, author of The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies and The Promise: President Obama, Year One "The real power in Washington since 1968 has passed through the hands of twenty-one men - no women so far-who were never further than a phone call or a few feet down the hall from the presidents they served. Their job title is chief of staff but Chris Whipple in his new book calls them The Gatekeepers. What the chiefs do is what politics is. The president may run the country but his chief of st