The Ring of Power: The White House Staff and Its Expanding Role in Government

Bradley Patterson, Author Basic Books $19.95 (382p) ISBN 978-0-465-07025-1
As Patterson points out, members of the president's staff ``have zero authority in their own right, yet 100 percent of presidential authority passes through their hands.'' In this useful handbook, the author, a veteran of 14 years on the White House staff, describes the complex system and explains how it works. Fourteen of the major subgroups in the staff family serve the specialized policy and political needs of the president. One staff office reports directly to the First Lady, another to the Vice-President. Four are what Patterson calls the centralizing points: the Staff Secretary, the Office of Cabinet Affairs, the President's Personal Office and the Chief of Staff. In addition, the White House has a nonpartisan staff of 24 support units; these include the telephone operators and 50 chauffeurs. An upbeat, non-evaluative overview, the book raises no hackles as long as the reader is comfortable with statements such as the following: ``White House staff can have no personal agendas other than helping the president.'' (October)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
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