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Unconvincing insight into boring marathon race,
This review is from: Race of a Lifetime: How Obama Won the White House (Paperback)
The primaries by which members of the Democratic and Republican parties choose their presidential candidates may be a hallmark of American democracy but they are long, drawn-out and of little general interest, particularly to foreigners. There are normally a couple of big hitter candidates, one of whom usually stumbles, plus a handful of wild cards who sometimes upset conventional wisdom and end up in the White House. One of the subjects of this book, Barack Obama, was one of these.
However, surprises like this do not mean they are interesting to readers or viewers. The bottom line is two years of campaigning in every nook and cranny of the US to drum up support. Some of my worst television memories of the last primaries come from the nightly CNN program called The Situation Room during which anchorman Wolf Blitzer desperately tried to persuade viewers that what we were watching in some obscure state in the middle of nowhere was of earth-shattering importance.
This book is a fly-on-the-wall account of the campaign between Hillary Clinton and Obama for the Democratic endorsement and John McCain and various others for the Republican nomination. Most of it is deadly dull, badly written and so full of four letter words that you wonder if Americans can utter a single sentence without swearing.
More importantly, this is a book of dubious accuracy. Very few of the sources are named even though we are led to believe that everybody involved was interviewed by the authors. Presumably this includes Obama and Clinton whose thoughts are described (complete with four letter words). One assumes that Obama and Clinton cooperated on a non-attributable basis but did they?
The most interesting characters in the book are not the opportunistic Obama or ambitious Clinton but McCain who comes across as a cantankerous old war horse and his running mate, Sarah Palin, whose knowledge of affairs outside her native Alaska was nil.
As Obama won, it is not surprising that the contest between him and Clinton gets greater coverage but the McCain campaign is the only part that enlivens this otherwise monotonous read.