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Race of a Lifetime: How Obama Won the White House Paperback – 3 Jun 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (3 Jun. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014104067X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141040677
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The most exciting political book of recent years. Election reporting will never be the same again (Andrew Adonis News Statesman, Books of the Year)

Welcome to the meat-grinder, flash-incinerator race to be the 44th President of the United States

(The Times)

Incendiary, intriguing, nuanced, compelling. A fantastically detailed and gossipy affair (Gaby Wood Observer)

A spicy smorgasbord of observations, revelations and allegation. Leaves the reader with a vivid, visceral sense of the campaign and a keen understanding of the paradoxes and contingencies of history (Michiko Kakutani New York Times)

Consistently fascinating... every bit as good as Theordore White's The Making of a President (Anthony Howard Daily Telegraph)

Astounding, astonishing. Sleazy, personal, intrusive, shocking - and terribly compulsive. A thoroughly researched, well-paced and very amusing read. High-quality political porn (Economist)

The best account of the triumph of 2008 (Jonathan Powell New Statesman, Books of the Year)

Great fun to read. A wealth of insight. Real fly-on-the-wall journalism, where the authors claim to know not just what people said, but what they were thinking

(Andy McSmith Independent)

Compulsively readable. You can't put it down

(Los Angeles Times)

About the Author

John Heilemann and Mark Halperin are two of the most acclaimed political reporters in the US, with close access to the candidates and their teams. Heilemann is the political columnist at New York magazine. He is a National Magazine Award finalist and a former staff writer for the New Yorker, the Economist, and Wired. Halperin is editor-at-large and senior political analyst for Time, founding editor of The Page, and former political director of ABC News.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Let me start by saying that I am usually reading several books at a time - yet I read this book in one go, not picking up any other book (or even a newspaper) before I had finished it, which hasn't happened in a very long time. As other reviewers have said, this book is very readable and entertaining, if you find the events and personalities of the last US presidential election even remotely interesting. On the other hand, those who do find that subject even remotely interesting will have paid some attention to the events as they happened - and for them, the book will have very few, if any, major new factual information; that was at least my impression.

What makes book so interesting is the background information on the main personalities involved, along with a tight narrative of events. It's not as if any of the Democratic and Republican candidates for the presidency or vice-presidency is revealed to be much different from what you'd expect; but the extra details make them more human and so, more interesting. And yet, what you should *not* expect is an in-depth analysis of how US presidential and vice-presidential candidates are first chosen by their parties and then elected; the book remains entirely at the level of narrative, in the style of "non-fiction novel".

Having said that, I found that the bare factual information provided in the book do give material for thought as to what goes on in recent elections. For instance, everyone has the same basic strategy: focus your money, and resources, and time, on the states that hold their primaries early on, as Iowa and New Hampshire; if you get enough votes there, you gain enough momentum in terms of contributions, meedia attention, and credibility. Conversely, if you fail there, usually your campaign is sunk already.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book will not warm anyone to politicians, it confirms suspicions that they are ambitious and concerned for themselves, the use of public service is laughable, but as record of money being wasted is instructive.
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Format: Paperback
West Wing nuts will love this. Pacy as a good thriller, smart but not too clever, smooth but not polished. We all know how the 2008 Democrat nomination worked out, and how the Senator from Illinois took it all the way, but this is a riveting ride and a gripping tale. A great supporting cast of advisers, media spinners, ex-presidents and shadowy business figures. Hollywood super-rich making or breaking a campaign's finances. Worried campaigners struggling to get their candidate to say that right things at the right time to the right people. Chapters alternate and switch between Obama and Clinton as the race heats up, but take a dip when John Edwards appears (only because he left no imprint on my memory). Pen portraits can be deceptive; Obama comes across as uber cool, confident and slightly arrogant, and Hillary is portrayed as rather shrill, panicking and uptight. I'm sure there's more sang froid around than this. The Republicans have an undignified scrap and nominate the ineffectual John McCain. Sarah Palin draws the wrong kind of attention. In the end, Obama and Hillary end up on the same team. The drive, passion, intelligence and patriotism of the rival candidates is clear; qualities which seem thin on the ground this time around.
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Format: Paperback
The story starts before the campaign begins with Hillary preparing for her inauguration, months and months before the election, so certain was she of victory. But others in the Senate, particulary Harry Reid, had noticed Obama for a while and urged him to join in the race. And so it begins.

The bulk of the book focuses on Obama and HIllary fighting to get the nomination and Obama slowly but surely pulling ahead to get it. Hillary comes across as very entitled and arrogant while Bill is shown to be complacent and petty, both far from their public images. Bill's affairs are alluded to heavily, post-administration, though nothing comes up, he remains a volatile quandary for the campaign. Obama comes across throughout as a likeable, intelligent, highly motivated and ridiculously calm individual whose self confidence propelled him through the campaign and touched millions.

McCain and the GOP campaign pops up towards the end and the election proper is dealt with in 100 pages. McCain comes across and utterly obnoxious and angry, screaming at his wife, not caring about policy so gaffes like "The foundations of our economy are sound" happen, his debating comes across very badly because he doesn't want to learn, he makes bad decision after bad decision, ultimately leading to the worst decision of all - Sarah Palin.

Like most people I've got a fairly good idea of the person and the many, many problems with her candidacy are gone through again here. What was revelatory were what is called "The Two Sarahs" where she has the public image and then the catatonic, silent image with dead eyes. Her lack of knowledge is breathtaking and McCain's own staff begin fearing that if they won, she might be President.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arrived really really fast!! Great read. Really gives an insight to the gruelling campaign they undertook just to get the nomination never mind get elected. Goes through all parts - Democratic party Nomination fight - Republican Party Nomination fight - Presidential race. Shows all candidates warts and all, highs and lows... a really great insight into the American Presidential race.
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