Officially titled "United States Government Policy and Support Positions", and popularly referred to as the plum book, for the color of its cover, this book is published every four years, following the presidential general elections, and lists all positions in the government for which personell are appointed by the president. This has the dual function not only of assisting the newly elected president in filling these positions and ousting, if they wish, the previous president's appointees, but also of helping people who seek jobs in the new administration figure out what positions are available and who the appropriate person with whom to drop their resume is. Career administrative positions are typically outside the scope of this book.

Positions are listed by government agencies, offices, and departments to which they belong. The book lists, for each position, where its holder may expect to be working, who, if anyone, the incumbent is, how a person may be appointed (for example, whether or not senate confirmation is required), details about compensation, and the length of the appointment (if applicable).

According to the web site of the U.S. Government Printing Office,

The list originates in 1952 during the Eisenhower administration. For twenty-two years prior, the Democratic controlled the Federal Government. When President Eisenhower took office, the Republican Party requested a list of government positions that President Eisenhower could fill. The next edition of the Plum Book appeared in 1960 and has since been published every four years, just after the Presidential election.

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