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President Obama has been one of the most controversial political figures in American history. Too many of his proponents and detractors have ascribed this polarization to several salient facts about his political inclinations or to the particulars of his biography: his far-left ideology, his race, his family background. However, to many fair-minded people and me one thing about him stood out above everything else: his total lack of experience. In order to help elect the first black president the mainstream media had completely abdicated any pretense of impartiality and had foregone any attempts to scrutinize his career and background. He was portrayed as a transformative figure for whom the ordinary laws of politics and career progress don't apply.

In "The Amateur," the bestselling author Edward Klein gives an unparalleled insight into the full extent of Obama's massive incompetence. The book is based on literally hundreds of interviews conducted over the course of a year. Many of the people interviewed, such as Jeremiah Wright, were or are still very close to Obama and his inner circle, and have had an unprecedented access to the President at various stages of his life and career. The sum total of their observations and opinions paints a very unflattering picture. After reading this book I am even more appalled by Obama's rank amateurism. Furthermore, unlike some of his predecessors who were able to "grow in the job," Obama's narcissism prevents him from learning from his mistakes and adapting to a more pragmatic approach to the job. Granted, many of the people interviewed had their own axes to grind as they've fallen out of grace with Obama, but even with that caveat it is clear that he is not, and never has been, the right person for this job.

For the most part the book is immensely readable and easy to follow. Some of the latter chapters, though, deal with the more abstract policy issues or with special interest topics that may not be as persuasive as the earlier chapters. One other thing that I didn't like about this book is that it still managed to leave the myth of Obama as a very smart guy intact. From everything that I've read in his biography it is clear that Obama's intellectual and educational pedigree is just another carefully cultivated political prop that doesn't have much basis in reality. In fact, it is this lack of true intellectualism and knowledge about the world that can to a large extent be blamed for Obama's amateurism. A book about this ought to be written, and I hope someone will undertake this task before too long.

As most polemical books of this nature "The Amateur" is best read at the time of its publication. Right now we are just two months away from the 2012 presidential elections, and this book can serve as a powerful reminder of why it's so important to vote for the right kind of person for that all-too-important job. This book will probably not change many minds, which doesn't make it any less important or relevant for the shaping of the public opinion during this political season.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 September 2012
Edward Klein interviewed nearly 200 people who have known and worked with Barack Obama. The author does not paint an admiring portrait of the President. He concludes that Obama is "...temperamentally unsuited to be the chief executive and commander in chief of the United States of America. ...something new in American politics--The Amateur--a president who is inept in the arts of management and governance, who doesn't learn from his mistakes, and who therefore repeats policies that make our economy less robust and our nation less safe."

Statements from some of the author's sources:

- Bill Clinton: "I've had two successors since I left the White House--Bush and Obama--and I've heard more from Bush, asking for my advice, than I've heard from Obama. I have no relationship with the president--none whatsoever. Obama doesn't know how to be president. He doesn't know how the world works. He's incompetent. ...Barack Obama is an amateur."

- Walter Anderson: "Obama has a political sense, but he lacks an executive sense. He has the same vulnerability that many legislators have; he's skillful at getting elected, but he's often lost when it comes to governing and inspiring others. In my view it's a mistake to compare Obama to Jimmy Carter, as some do. Carter was micromanager in all things. Obama is anything but."

- Tavis Smiley: "Obama is politically astute. I was in awe of how well run and on message his presidential campaign was. In all my life, I never saw a campaign run so brilliantly. And so it's been interesting to see how off course and off track Obama has gotten in the White House. And what's occurred to me is that campaigning and governing are entirely different things, and that all the things that served Obama so well in the campaign have come back to haunt him in his governance."

- Richard Chesnoff: "Obama's problem in dealing with the Arab-Israeli conundrum doesn't come from the advice he's getting... but rather from his one-man style and his inflated view of his own leadership talents. ...[P]erhaps more egregiously, he seems to have an exaggerated sense of his own depth of understanding of the Middle East, which is simply not borne out by his background or experience."

- Harry Alford: "When Obama became president, we were happy about the symbolism--America's first black president. We didn't really care about his position or views on anything. We just wanted a black president no matter what. We should have been more careful, as his views on small business, especially black business, are counter to ours. His view of business is that it should be a few major corporations which are totally unionized and working with the government, which should also be massive and reaching every level of American society."

- E. Michael Young: "It is obvious that Team Obama is deliberately following the Clark Clifford strategy. Like Truman, Obama called a special session of Congress to propose his American Jobs Act, knowing in advance that the Republican-controlled House would reject it. ...And like Truman, Obama is giving speeches all around the country, saying the obstructionist `do-nothing' Republicans in Congress are blocking his jobs bill, hurting the economy, and currying favor with the wealthy elites."

The pattern presented in the book is consistent. Barack Obama is under qualified, over confident, and pursuing a vision for the economy, the Federal government, and America's role in the international arena that is "naïve, simplistic, and superficial." Readers must decide if the author's research is accurate and if the witnesses and experts he cites are honest and credible. The book is well documented to help readers make a considered judgment. It is worth reading.
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on 8 October 2015
If after having Obama as President for the past 6 1/2 years or so you think you know all you need to know about the type of person he is, perhaps you might want to rethink what you know -- or think you know -- and read Edward Klein's The Amateur. Admittedly, the time to have read this book was shortly after it was published in May, 2012, so that it perhaps could have given you food for thought regarding your decision to vote to (and not to) elect Obama to a second term as President.

The Amateur is not a straight reporting of facts about Obama, but rather it is based on facts and information Klein obtained from nearly 200 interviews of people from both inside and outside the White House who came to know Obama well -- or thought they did. To paraphrase from the jacket flap, The Amateur is Klein's expose that pulls back the curtain of one of the most secretive White Houses in history, and reveals Obama to be a callow, thin-skinned, arrogant president with messianic dreams of grandeur supported by a cast of true-believers, all of them united by leftist politics and an amateurish understanding of executive leadership. If this portrayal upsets you or if goes against your beliefs about Obama as president, then I highly recommend that you avoid reading this book -- unless you are willing to keep an open mind to reading about some things you might not have REALLY known.

Some of the things you'll get insight into in The Amateur are:
•Why the so-called “centrist” Obama is actually in revolt against the values of the society he was elected to lead
•Why Bill Clinton -- who originally referred to Obama as an "amateur-- loathes Barack Obama and tried to get Hillary to run against him in 2012,
•The spiteful rivalry between Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey
•How Obama split the Kennedy family
•How Obama has taken more of a personal role in making foreign policy than any president since Richard Nixon—with disastrous results
•How Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett are the real powers behind the White House throne.

Whether you are or are not in agreement with Klein's (and others, myself included) referring to the President as The Amateur, I'll provide the author's rationale for doing so to help you decide if "the shoe fits" or not:

"A president who is inept in the arts of management and governance, who doesn't learn form his mistakes, and who therefore repeats policies that make our economy less robust and our nation less safe. A man who blames all his problems on those with whom he disagrees ("Washington," "Republicans," "the media"), who discards old friends and supporters when they are no longer useful (Democrats, African-Americans, Jews), and who is so thin-skinned that he constantly complains about what people say and write about him. A person who derives no joy from the cut and thrust of politics, but who clings to the narcissistic life of the presidency."

I hope this review is of help in deciding if The Amateur is a book you'll want to read.
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on 17 August 2014
Good, but not quite as good as Blood Feud ! I read Blood Feud first and loved it, and then completed the Amateur, Both were excellent books but I found the Amateur to be a bit dated because it was written before the President's election to a second term. Nevertheless, it was very informative regarding the leadership style of Obama and categorized his successes and failures in an entertaining fashion. It was complelling reading from cover to cover. Very difficult to put down so I had to binge out and read the whole thing as quickly as possible. It was all about his success as a candidate and lack of success as President, fascinating reading ! Every time I read a book of this nature, I tend to get disappointed and bit angry at how easily it is to be manipulated by the press and candidates. If only the facts were known in advance. The book is well researched, logically presented, factual (or so it seems), and informative as well as entertaining. i can understand why so many people are angry about the way things are going. There shouldn't be any surprises since the second term is only a repeat of the first with little positive change. I hope that someone gets nominated and elected who can turn things around. It won't be easy. I wish Edward Klein was a candidate for office, as I would certainly cast a vote in that direction ! Well done !
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on 9 August 2013
So much more could been made out of the information in this book had it not been a cross between a critique of the Obama Administration and a cheap political thriller. Too many throw away lines, no wonder it charmed Obama's critic but failed to dent his credibility.Style sometimes does matter , this book had little. forward tattle about the Clintons could make the beginnings of a real assult on Nillary 2016 but would need to appeal to a wider readership first.
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on 14 January 2014
I bought this book fully predisposed to accepting its theme: that Barack Obama is an empty suit with a gift for the gab. I hoped to have this belief confirmed with crisp writing and detailed analysis and research. Instead, I got a badly written hatchet job with no pretense of objectivity or depth. The only one who is proven to be an amateur by this effort is the author. One to avoid.
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on 17 May 2014
I brought this to read on the beach and finished it in my first day so I had nothing to read after. Its way too short and tells us what we already know in that obama is useless and an amateur.
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on 29 June 2012
Hard hitting view on Obama confirming another hopelessly ill eqipped world leader. Will we the public ever learn ?
What a lifestyle at our expense.
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on 19 October 2013
A fantastic book We'll written and definitely very informative about the who's who in the White House. A great read
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on 10 April 2015
Very pleased with product and service.
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