Featuring Susannah Jacob on May 10, 2021

When a new president is elected, administration officials change but the White House staff often does not. Many of these “White House lifers” maintain their roles for decades – like Dale Haney, the chief groundskeeper since 1972. In The Secret Life of the White House, Susannah Jacob paints a vivid picture of the daily life of the residence staff behind the scenes – illuminated with interviews from dozens of former and current longtime professionals. Jacob argues these individuals are symbols of the independence of the White House, conserving the legacies of past presidents and “continuing to do their jobs and serve whoever moves in.”

Susannah Jacob is a writer and former speechwriter for President Barack Obama. As a Ph.D. student in Yale University’s Department of History, Jacob's interests focus on twentieth century America, labor, and political history. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and the New York Times. She holds a B.A. in history from the University of Texas at Austin.

Jeremi Suri is the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a professor of history and public affairs. He has authored nine books about contemporary politics and foreign policy. Suri is also a contributor for the New York Times, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, and Foreign Affairs. He holds an A.B. from Stanford University, an M.A. from Ohio University, and a Ph.D. from Yale University, all in history. 

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