The former chief political correspondent for The New York Times Magazine brilliantly revisits the Gary Hart affair and looks at how it changed forever the intersection of American media and politics.
In 1987, Gary Hart - articulate, dashing, refreshingly progressive - seemed a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination for president and led George H. W. Bush comfortably in the polls. And then: rumors of marital infidelity, an indelible photo of Hart and a model snapped near a fatefully named yacht (Monkey Business), and it all came crashing down in a blaze of flashbulbs, the birth of 24-hour news cycles, tabloid speculation, and late-night farce. Matt Bai shows how the Hart affair marked a crucial turning point in the ethos of political media - and, by extension, politics itself - when candidates' "character" began to draw more fixation than their political experience. Bai offers a poignant, highly original, and news-making reappraisal of Hart's fall from grace (and overlooked political legacy) as he makes the compelling case that this was the moment when the paradigm shifted - private lives became public, news became entertainment, and politics became the stuff of Page Six.
©2014 Matt Bai (P)2014 Random House Audio
"A masterfully written account...this first-rate work of political journalism will fan embers long thought to have gone out." (Publishers Weekly starred review)
"A new look at a scandal that changed American politics…[a] probing narrative." (Kirkus)
"Digging deep into a long-ago, mis-remembered scandal, Matt Bai has written an acutely intelligent and surprisingly moving page-turner about Gary Hart, journalistic blindness, and the trivialization of American politics." (George Packer, author of The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America)
I love this author, and think this is a very important historical topic with current application. Well worth the time. I will definitely look for this performer - excellent job.
For anyone looking to understand the history of media and how it has shaped politics. Bai beautifully combines the narrative of America's political history with philosophical questions and social criticism. He gives an objective view of a man's life, leaving the reader to decide their own feelings based off of what he as the author has presented.
Top 20%--it was well-written, interesting, informative, and gave me a back story that helped me rethink my view of politics and politicians.
While listening to this book I was reminded of "This Town" by Mark Leibovitch, who wrote about the absurd antics of politicians and those who make their money from politics. Bai's book seems to segue into the outcomes of what Leibovitch describes in his book.
He was OK but not a standout performer. He seemed a bit flat.
The entire discussion of Gary Hart's fall from grace for what now seems to be a minor "infraction". I had not previously known what a respected politician he had been, or how he could have been a great president. You really feel for how the lives of he and his wife were ruined by what happened (and I am someone who gets really tired of politicians preaching "values" to us and then not honoring those values).
Bali really helped me understand what has happened in our "gotcha" society and made me think about how I understand and evaluate people who are in public life.
This was a thought-provoking book that is well-written and enjoyable.
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