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Publisher Description

Now with a new chapter on the chaos in the Trump administration, 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.

Politics & Current Events
April 4
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

Phreekenstein ,

Insightful Read

Very insightful for each presidency and some of the major issues during their tenure. How the COS handled those issues and the WH staff. Enjoyable as educational, at times amusing while other times frustrating. A must read for those interested in political climates!

yanbt ,

Timely and Cogent

This study demonstrates the importance of an orderly, prioritized White House staff process to a president’s success.

That is nearly as crucial as timely, judicious policy planning, decision making and implementation.

Ryan W Fitzgerald ,


A great read about a very important role. A lot of leadership lessons are a viable for the taking.

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