The Gatekeepers

  • by Chris Whipple
  • Narrated by Mark Bramhall
  • 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The first in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at how the American presidency has hinged on the effectiveness of the White House chiefs of staff and how their decisions have dictated 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' agenda, and - most crucially - are the first in line to the leader of the free world's ear. Award-winning producer and journalist Chris Whipple demonstrates how those appointed to this lofty position have often served as de facto prime ministers and the surprising extent to which their tenures have set the tone for our political climate. Through extensive, intimate interviews with all 20 living chiefs of staff and two former presidents, The Gatekeepers pulls back the curtain to expose how the nation's levers of power are operated by these right-hand advisors and what each appointment reveals about its respective president.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


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 was unaware that President Jimmy Carter chose not to have a COS. Whipple reviews the high and low points of past administrations’ chief of staffs. I was most interested in H.R. Haldeman, President Nixon’s COS, and Leon Panetta, President Clinton’s COS. I had forgotten that Dick Cheney was President Ford’s COS.

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.

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.
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- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."

Oliver North was in The Marines

What made the experience of listening to The Gatekeepers the most enjoyable?

Most of the book was anecdotal collection of this and that. I thought it was funny. However, not sure about the facts. Have to question the editing since one clear error in the story was the representation of Oliver North as an army officer. Research on such a widely known fact gone wrong makes me suspect that there are other errors affecting authenticity. As i said the book is very entertaining. Worth one credit.

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- john edewaard

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-04-2017
  • Publisher: Random House Audio