"This shit would be really interesting if we weren't in the middle of it."--Barack Obama, September 2008
In 2008, the presidential election became blockbuster entertainment. Everyone was watching as the race for the White House unfolded like something from the realm of fiction. The meteoric rise and historic triumph of Barack Obama.... The shocking fall of the House of Clinton - and the improbable resurrection of Hillary as Obama's partner and America's face to the world.... The mercurial performance of John McCain and the mesmerizing emergence of Sarah Palin.
But despite the wall-to-wall media coverage of this spellbinding drama, remarkably little of the real story behind the headlines has yet been told. In Game Change, John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, two of the country's leading political reporters, use their unrivaled access to pull back the curtain on the Obama, Clinton, McCain, and Palin campaigns. How did Obama convince himself that, despite the thinness of his résumé, he could somehow beat the odds to become the nation's first African-American president? How did the tumultuous relationship between the Clintons shape - and warp - Hillary's supposedly unstoppable bid? What was behind her husband's furious outbursts and devastating political miscalculations? Why did McCain make the novice governor of Alaska his running mate? And was Palin merely painfully out of her depth - or troubled in more serious ways?
Game Change answers those questions and more, laying bare the secret history of the 2008 campaign. This is a reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel.
©2010 John Heilemann and Mark Halperin; (P)2010 HarperAudio
I heard about this book when I was listening to Morning Joe and snapped it up on audible years ago. I thought it sounded like a fun insiders view of the campaign trail. Not so for me. I found it beyond boring and hairsplitting to a degree that became mind numbing. It also turned me off to campaign politics and to listening to books pushed on morning talk shows in general. I know this review is years behind the time--but I'm reviewing old books in my library. This offering was a true disappointment.
I am an Audible.com Platinum subscriber, and my primary worry when downloading a book is that the book will waste my time by listening. The narrative is riveting and the narrator is outstanding. If you are interested in U.S. politics, you will not be able to put your iPod down once commencing a listen to this. I highly recommend it!
I have been following John Heilemann since I saw him on Real Time with Bill Maher last year. I appreciate his work, and Game Change lived up to all my expectations. The election was fascinating, viewed through the mass media lens. It is ten times more fascinating viewed through the eyes of the people that are on the bus, in the meetings, and rubbing shoulders with the candidates.
This is one of the best audio books I've ever purchased. The insight into the campaigns was fascinating, and while there was definitely more shared on the Democratic side of the contest, I think it was a balanced account. I strongly recommend anyone who was really moved by this most recently Presidential election to pick this book up. Furthermore, the narrator was about the best I've ever heard. I couldn't be more impressed with this book, and it's likely one that I'll play back in the future. Highly recommended!
It was an election of historical proportion, the authors cut through the veneer and found the core of the historical events and people, revealing both their strengths and weaknesses. Maybe it's payback for their combined betrayal of their staff? But John Edwards and wife seem like MacBeth. McCain is revealed as boxed in with most every choice presented and Obama riles everyone for being cooler then the other side of a pillow.
Cranky elderly writer/copy editor
OK, to start with, the whole book is deep background, which means you'll just have to take the authors' words that they're giving you the straight scoop. The story never drags and it effortlessly keeps its cast of hundreds clear in the head of the reader/listener.
It's a totally glib piece of maybe-faux-reportage but eerily enchanting in a gossipy train-wreck kind of way that I love every minute of though makes me feel dirty afterwards. (Admittedly, I have ambivalence issues.)
Boutsikaris is just pitch-perfect, the only unabashed 5-stars I can give, hinting at the cadences of the better known speakers without flat-out imitating them.
Lover of ideas who feels no guilt at all about her pleasures.
As an oft-frustrated Democrat, the 2008 Presidential Election has become my favorite bedtime story. I have Long Time Coming, Renegade, past issues of the New Yorker and Fresh Air, Obamanos and now, Game Change to sing me to sleep at night. If you're anything like me (not that I'm wishing it on you), the story of Game Change will be quite familiar by now. As such, I was surprised to find myself mildly bored through the parts of the story I usually perk up for (Gooey Gorey details of the dunderheaded baddies Palin and McCain) and more than a little interested by the parts of the story I typically find rather dull (Clinton and the Primary). The Edwards soap opera was new to me, and it carried the typical elation to disgust spiral of all unapologetic dips into gossip.
I don't, as others claim, think Barack Obama got a free pass in this book. He's portrayed as a politician who's not yet lost his last shred of common sense and decency - but no more.
And still., despite the exceptionally crisp, yet juicy prose, and fine narration, if you voted Republicain in 2008 - you'd doubtless rather hear a different story.
Written by Becky -
I like history; specifically Presidential biographies and this book was a great read on such a "new" historical presidential race. Can't wait to see what history proves.
I Like scifi-fantasy,non-fiction, historical fiction genres. Liked Stormlight Archive, GoT, Ken Follett's work. Last read: Words of Radiance
This book is the product of brilliant research and skillful journalism. The interviews and information that compile this book are very well composed to complete this book. Even though, the book covers the democrat primaries & not the republic primaries, that seems like a good reason and choice. The final battle which spans over many months is very well written and entertaining. The choices the candidates made and the reasoning behind those makes sense after reading this book. This is a must read for anyone who was captivated by the 2008 presidential election. The narrator did a great job as well. The only reason I gave it 4 stars was due to the book's inclination towards one side; even though the author was trying to put facts in this book. I'm glad now by the results of the election as they turned out after reading this book.
I enjoyed every minute of this book. The cast of characters is amazing. I had thought the media had covered everything there was to know about the candidates, and there wasn't more to know. But Heilemann and Halperin expose their human side, as well as that of their spouses and their campaign staffs. Fascinating! Engrossing! Sorry that I've finished the book - but I'm pretty sure that I'll listen to it again in another month or two and still learn new things.
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