The White House World
Transitions, Organization, and Office Operations
Presidential Studies - Political Science
6.125 x 9.25, 432 pp.
24 figs.
Pub Date: 02/14/2003
Joseph V. Hughes Jr. and Holly O. Hughes Series on the Presidency and Leadership
  cloth
Price:        $19.95 s

978-1-58544-223-2

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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The White House World

Transitions, Organization, and Office Operations

Edited by Martha Joynt Kumar and Terry Sullivan

When George W. Bush and his staff finally got word he had won the 2000 presidential election, they had only thirty-seven days left to shift from campaign mode to governing. Fortunately for the Bush team, a group of presidency scholars had gathered and provided them with a wealth of substantive analysis about presidential transitions and White House operations. The project was sponsored by The Pew Charitable Trusts and carried out by members of the Presidency Research Group of the American Political Science Association.

With information covering six administrations and interviews with seventy-five former senior White House officials as well as with President Gerald Ford, the White House Interview Program proved an important resource for the new occupants of the West Wing.

The White House World gathers and digests our material provided to incoming White House staff. Its individual chapters contain a veritable “how to” manual: information on the dynamics of White House operations; the functions of seven critical White House offices; and the actual transition of President Bush.

This unique volume describes what it is like to work in the White House—details known to few working outside Pennsylvania Avenue. It also features organization charts for the offices analyzed, the first comprehensive look at how different administrations have structured these offices. Plus, in a final section, scholars and Bush Administration insiders provide brief views of George W. Bush’s unique transition into office.

In addition to Professors Kumar and Sullivan, scholars contributing to the volume include: Peri E. Arnold, MaryAnne Borrelli, John P. Burke, George C. Edwards III, John Fortier, Karen Hult, Nancy Kassop, John H. Kessel, G. Calvin Mackenzie, Norman Ornstein, Bradley H. Patterson, Jr., James P. Pfiffner, Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, Charles Walcott, Shirley Anne Warshaw, Stephen J. Wayne. In the section on the Bush transition, we also have an essay by a transition insider. Clay Johnson, Executive Director of the Bush-Cheney Transition and now director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, provides a perspective on the transition of one who was there and involved in decisions relating to the start up of the administration.

For those interested in the functioning of the Presidency—whether political actors, interested observers, or scholars-this book is a must-have. It tells the real story of who does what, who knows what, and how selected White House offices function.

MARTHA JOYNT KUMAR, Director of the White House Interview Program and its parent project, the White House 2001 Project, writes on White House communications operations and press relations. She is a faculty member in the Department of Political Science at Towson University.TERRY SULLIVAN, Associate Director of the White House Interview Program and the White House 2001 Project, has published widely on the subject of presidential bargaining. He is a member of the Department of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

What Readers Are Saying:

“. . . would well serve future White House administrations seeking practical advice on how best to organize their presidencies . . . an invaluable contribution to Political Science reference collections and reading lists.”—The Midwest Book Review, April 2003“For years presidency scholars have bemoaned the lack of institutional memory on which incoming presidential staffs can draw. No longer. The White House World is a virtual how-to manual for recruiting and organizing an effective presidential staff system. It distills the collective wisdom of White House aides who served in several of the most important presidential staff units during the period 1969-1999. As such no other book—with perhaps the exception of Neustadt’s collected transition memos—contains so much practical wisdom in on place; WHW is in effect one-stop shopping for those looking for practical advice regarding how best to organize the presidency. Future presidential staffs will ignore this book at their own peril; those who read it will undoubtedly benefit by a shortened learning curve.”--Matthew J. Dickinson, Middlebury College

“. . . would well serve future White House administrations seeking practical advice on how best to organize their presidencies . . . an invaluable contribution to Political Science reference collections and reading lists.”—The Midwest Book Review, April 2003 --Matthew J. Dickinson, Middlebury College
“For years presidency scholars have bemoaned the lack of institutional memory on which incoming presidential staffs can draw. No longer. The White House World is a virtual how-to manual for recruiting and organizing an effective presidential staff system. It distills the collective wisdom of White House aides who served in several of the most important presidential staff units during the period 1969-1999. As such no other book—with perhaps the exception of Neustadt’s collected transition memos—contains so much practical wisdom in on place; WHW is in effect one-stop shopping for those looking for practical advice regarding how best to organize the presidency. Future presidential staffs will ignore this book at their own peril; those who read it will undoubtedly benefit by a shortened learning curve.” --Matthew J. Dickinson, Middlebury College

“....a wealth of information, and it is a wonderful road map to a job I had never done before. Kumar’s book should be mandatory reading.” --L. Ari Fleischer, White House press secretary

“The book offers new insights even for seasoned observes of the presidency . . . it helps bring the challenges posed by presidential transitions into better focus.” --Rhetoric and Public Affairs

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