It’s Monday morning, let’s get into some book chat! I’ve never followed politics so closely as I have since the 2016 election, so this book was right up my alley.
Next up… The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency, by Chris Whipple
“If it’s between good and bad, somebody else will deal with it. Everything that gets into the Oval Office is between bad and worse.”
— Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff to Barack Obama
Start date: 6/1/2017
Finish date: 6/19/2017
Source: Blogging for Books
I don’t normally do this, but in this case I think the publisher’s description is spot on, so here’s a snapshot of what you’ll find in The Gatekeepers:
Chris Whipple is the engaging, fair-minded professor I’ve always wanted to give me a crash course in modern politics. From Nixon to Obama, he examines the men (and almost one woman) who are right beside the president doing the daily grunt work that shapes a presidency. I’ve never given much thought to the chief of staff, but it’s such an interesting position; it’s so close to the most powerful elected official in the world, yet there’s no set-in-stone definition of the role. In fact, Jimmy Carter decided not to have a chief of staff at all (although that didn’t turn out so well).
I knew there were gaps in my knowledge of the events that occurred during the last few presidencies, since most of what I know about Nixon or Reagan has been gleaned from pop culture references and I was too young to absorb much from the Clinton or Bush years, so this timeline was a great refresher on the big picture as well as the behind-the-scenes details that aren’t common knowledge.
Through Whipple’s interviews with past chiefs and presidents, a nuanced portrait of each administration emerges. Whipple focuses on the relationships behind the scenes, rather than his opinions on the policy, and it came across as very fair and balanced. He shows his hand in the epilogue when he can barely contain his disdain for the outcome of the 2016 election and wonders how Trump’s chief of staff will fare, but that’s hardly a surprise. Sometimes I wish I could skip ahead to the history books that will be written about our current political era, rather than having to live through it, but this book gives a helpful reminder that time marches on no matter who is in charge at the moment.
***I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.***The Amateur Librarian is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.