What We’ve read, What We’re Reading

Want to know what St. Louis Public Library staff is reading? Here are a few of our current reads.

Barbara at Cabanne

The Gatekeepers : How the White House chiefs of staff define every presidency / by Chris Whipple

I read this book because after President Trump accepted the resignation of Reince Priebus, his chief of staff, I realized I had only a vague idea of what chiefs of staff do. Are they glorified appointment-makers, or are they the real power behind the office?

It turns out the good ones – men like Ronald Reagan’s chief James Baker III and Bill Clinton’s chief Leon Panetta – are extremely powerful, with a great deal of influence over every aspect of the presidency.

The job of the modern chief of staff began with Richard Nixon’s chief, H.R. Haldeman. Although his tenure ended in disgrace (and he in prison), the subsequent chiefs credit Haldeman with creating the model that every successful chief of staff since has followed.

The job is brutal: long hours of fast-paced, demanding work, and that’s before emergencies or problems crop up. Whipple quotes Erskine Bowles, Bill Clinton’s second chief, describing the job: “In an average day you would deal with Bosnia, Northern Ireland, the budget, taxation, the environment – and then you’d have lunch! And then on Friday you would say, ‘Thank God – only two more working days until Monday.’”

The gatekeepers is not a detailed history of events and crises that beset presidents Richard Nixon through Barak Obama. However, it is an anecdote-driven look into the relationships, the mistakes, and successes of the chiefs of staff.

Doug at Schlafly

Barbarian Days : A Surfing Life by William Finnegan

Reason Chosen:  Looked like a good read on a wild life, by a New Yorker staff writer. 

Ed at Schlafly

The Girl Who Takes An Eye for An Eye  By David Lagercrantz

Reason Chosen:  I really liked the series and when Lagercrantz continued the original series by Steig Larsson with The Girl in the Spider's Web  I thought he did a good job of preserving the characters and continuing the story.  

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