John Heilemann and Mark Halperin set the national conversation on fire with their best-selling account of the 2008 presidential election, Game Change. In Double Down, they apply their unparalleled access and storytelling savvy to the 2012 election, rendering an equally compelling narrative about the circus-like Republican nomination fight, the rise and fall of Mitt Romney, and the trials, tribulations, and Election Day triumph of Barack Obama.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Heilemann and Halperin deliver another reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, Double Down offers a panoramic account of a campaign at once intensely hard fought and lastingly consequential. For Obama, the victory he achieved meant even more to him than the one he had pulled off four years earlier. In 2008, he believed, voters had bet on a hope; in 2012, they passed positive judgment on what he'd actually done, allowing him to avert a loss that would have rendered his presidency a failed, one-term accident.
For the Republicans, on the other hand, 2012 not only offered a crushing verdict but an existential challenge: to rethink and reconstitute the party or face irrelevance - or even extinction. Double Down is the occasionally shocking, often hilarious, ultimately definitive account of an election of singular importance.
As with their book Game Change which chronicled the 2008 presidential election, Halperin and Heilemann burrow deep into the back story of the 2012 presidential election. The book opens rivetingly with President Obama having a crisis within himself after his disastrous first debate performance in Denver.
The book continues with the surprising infighting of the Obama White House, Mitt Romney's need to court the right wing of his base by picking Paul Ryan as VP candidate, and Romney's disdain for popular New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Trivial matters such as Donald Trump's birther comments, Romney adviser Stuart Stevens vomiting over Clint Eastwood's Republican National Convention performance, and tidbits such as John Huntsman Sr. being the source of Harry Reid's claim that Mitt Romney paid no income taxes for ten years add to the mix along the way.
Although an enjoyable and fast paced read, this book lacks some of the urgency felt in Game Change. The latter part of the book dealing with the Republican Primary candidates is full of drama and excitement but strangely seems flat at the same time as most in the know, including the Obama camp, always expected Romney to win the nomination anyway.
The authors should be commended for their non-partisan approach to the efforts. This is a book about the political process and its characters who are presented with strengths and flaws. The authors manage to tell the tale without taking a side which is an accomplishment in itself.
I listen while I paint- classic or modern mysteries, true adventure, & books that inspire or motivate
One good thing about this book--the author's did a decent job of making it non-partisan.
I'm not sure what caused this book to be so disappointing to me--was it the narrator who was so flat and dry, or the actual way the material was put together? It seems like the plan was just to comprise a chronological list of events, and then just read down the line and check off each one.
There wasn't any real excitement or anticipation - which was definitely there throughout Game Change. For political junkies who almost memorized every speech, gaff or event of the last election, I think this book will be a let down. If you weren't glued to the political news programs, and didn't know about all the "inside shenanigans," you will probably enjoy it more. I have heard that people who read the actual book (vs listening) found it to be a lot more engaging.
Even though I found it half as good as Game Change, I couldn't give it 2.5, so had to round up. There are only a few reviews of this book on Audible so far, and I will really be interested to see what other's thought.
I recently read a review of this book which criticized it as deriving from 'The Great Men' theory of history as opposed to a more social historical analysis of the longer term trends that drove the results of this election. Baloney!
This is a reporter's book of what happened behind the scenes of the presidential campaign that many political junkies and others who follow politics closely love knowing about. It is NOT an historical analysis of the election results and in no way attempts to be one.
I enjoyed it tremendously and the narrator was great.
I also read GAME CHANGE and loved that - perhaps even more because there was more suspense to that election.
This is highly recommended for those looking to understand what went into some of the decisions made by the campaigns rather than a social explanation of the outcome. The only reason I rated it four stars instead of five is that I enjoyed GAME CHANGE even more.
The book does a fairly good job of reliving the election of 2012 going all the way back to the earliest republican primary battles. There are allot of new and interesting bits. The kind of stuff that one says "I can't wait until the book is written on this to really know what happened behind the scenes." For example, how did Obama prepare for the first debate and what was the cause of his poor performance? Or how did the whole Clint Eastwood speech at the RNC go so wrong? But all together this is really just a recap of the media's portrayal of the election as a neck and neck fight all the way to the finish just with some extra insider perspective. There is no real explanation for how Obama won by such a landslide in electoral votes. I don't feel like I'm getting the real inside scoop, just a more in-depth version of what was portrayed in the media at the time. What about some insight into how new technologies where applied and what did the Romney campaign do to miss out?
Engrossing, insightful, thorough
The authors offer tremendous insight into the election of 2012.
Clear diction, excellent pacing.
Chris Christie's vetting by the Romney campaign turned up many surprising issues!
While lacking the drama of the 2008 elections, the book again demonstrates great depth of reporting by the authors.
I'm a book person. I always think the book was better than the movie....always. That being said, I never read the first book, "Game Change" - i only saw the movie. Obviously, it was an excellent screenplay and had some pretty amazing performances, so maybe that spoiled me for the reading of this 2nd book. Game Change had so many juicy tidbits of info that I'd not previously heard while watching the coverage of the Obama v. McCain race. In Double Down, I feel like I'm just sitting through a re-hashing of stuff I already know - or already sort of knew. Although, to be fair, Romney/Ryan were nowhere near the level of entertainment that Sarah Palin herself provides, so perhaps, it's not the book &/or authors' fault?
Narrator does a good job.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
Maybe, but it's not a top priority. Some good bits but not as good as the first book when they had Palin to skewer.
This is a gossipy book. Most of these things I already knew because I am a bit of a political junkie. The things I didn't know were fun and interesting.
No characters this is a book of non-fiction, I liked the info in the second section the best, It was about the GOP wannabes and was quite enjoyable. I had no idea of all the feuds going on there.
My favorite people in this book were Mrs. Obama and former Pres. Clinton. Clint Eastwood was an honorable mention.
Parts were very funny but for the most part it was sad that people could make such foolish mistakes.
I thought the nicknames used for the various people were kind of goofy and wasn't clear if the authors called them this or if these were ways politicians distinguished them. POTUS and FLOTUS are bad enough but Pufferfish for Christie and Fishsconsin for Ryan? Uncle Joe for Biden?
A bit much.
Emergency physician and fantasy nerd in Chicago.
Only if they were way into politics.
The depth of the narrative. Take the soundbites you heard in 2012 and this will go about 400% deeper.
If you loved this first one this one is just as good. I basically listened to it nonstop until I was done.
A POTUS fan club for sure. The first book (Game Change) was a fair and objective look at all the candidates in the race, with no bias towards any candidate. It was an outstanding look into the actual race from an uninterested viewers perspective. It took a lot of criticism for this approach, but that made it the great read it was. This one is a cheerleading book for the President and the "tough" road he had to endure his first term. That is fine, but not what I was looking for based on the earlier book. I did not need a rehash of the "accomplishments" and lack of credit the President received leading up to the election. I wanted another unbiased view of the election. It doesn't exist in this book.
Nothing from these authors for sure. They either caved into peer pressure or were paid to make a POTUS fanboy book.
The narrator did an outstanding job considering the material he had to deliver. Would definitely listen to another of his efforts.
I made it almost 30 minutes into the book before I had enough. I am truly saddened that the authors changed their motive from an objective and rational history of the events to a pathetic cheerleading book for one of the participants. Don't read this based on the impressions of the first book, you will be sadly disappointed.
If you are a political junkie like me, you will enjoy this gossipy, insider's view of the 2012 election. The book manages to both dramatize and humanize the major (and some minor) players in the election. However, the structure of the book made the packing seem slow and often repetitive, especially the middle section where he describes the aspirations and then the decisions not to run by various Republican politicians. The timeline starts over with each politician, so sometimes you are not exactly sure what month/year you are being described. Also, there are a lot of nicknames and colloquialisms used (moreso than in Game change) and this undermines the serious journalism tone of the rest of the writing.
Spoiler alert: Obama won the 2012 election.
Dennis Boutiskaris did Game Change and he was great. Robert Fass committed an incredible number of obvious word pronunciations that distracted from the actual text of the book. The director/producer of this audio book should have caught them as these were fairly common words such as irreparable and imprimatur among several others. I started keeping a tally of the mispronunciations because I was so irritated by them and it numbers in the thirties.
Yes, with reservations for the reasons I listed above. That narrator should never read another book though.
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