2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
For political junkies...,
This review is from: Double Down (Hardcover)
Mark Halperin and John Heilemann are back with, "Double Down: Game Change 2012" and it is a treat for all you political junkies out there. I had this book on order since the first day it was listed on Amazon, and while the wait was a bit frustrating, the "pay-off" - the book - was worth the wait.
Heilemann and Halperin are good writers. While the book perhaps spends a bit too much time on the Republican primary battle - the least interesting part - they shine when describing the Obama and Romney political campaigns. Starting out in chapter one with the Obama campaign deep, deep worries over Obama's "performance" in the first debate in Denver, the authors go on to reveal how Obama found it very difficult to work out his doubts about the political process he was engaging in to improve his performance in the second debate. These little nuggets are scattered through out the book, giving "Double Down" an honesty and breadth many other political books lack.
If Heilemann and Halperin are good writers, it may be because they're good listeners. They spent hours with hundreds of people; members all the Republican campaigns and the one Democratic campaign. They seemed to know what questions to ask which I think is a skill in itself. I wondered why the usually referred to Rick Santorum as "Santo", which I've never heard him referred to before but I assume some people in the political world called him that or the authors wouldn't have included it in their book. (Thanks god they didn't refer to another nickname applied to Santorum by author Dan Savage!)
Can the casual reader determine from the book the political leanings of the writers by what they write, what they feel is important to include, and what they feel is important to leave out? No. I assume they're Democrats because they're often featured on MSNBC programs, but unless you knew that fact, I don't think you could tell from the two books they produced, this one and "Game Change". They are not "mean" writers; they rather equally talk about both Romney and Obama campaigns and I think their writing tries to show the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, of both campaigns. This isn't to say they used "false equivalencies"; I think they rightly make the point that the Obama campaign was a much better run campaign than the Romney.
"Double Down" - and they explain how that term applies to both campaigns (though differently) - is a fine example of good, impartial reporting. You - the reader - may not agree with what they think important to write about, and might not like what the book contains. But I don't think the reader can fault the writing or the reporting. This is an excellent political book.