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Publisher's Summary

"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

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Remember When

It was long ago in a time of conflict and treachery when a man from a land far away came to power despite the best efforts of a baby boomer couple, an angry Vietnam Vet, and a woman who comes from nowhere. The woman from nowhere soon becomes a story bigger than the economic collapse of Planet Earth. She's a milf with a five kids, one of whom is a pregnant 17 year old daughter, a husband who's a longtime proponent of Alaskan secession, not to mention a propensity for sticking her foot in her mouth. She was the biggest reason that this book soon became a movie. It also made a star of an obscure actress named Tina Fey; the campaign not the film. Though it appeared obvious that the authors liked the man from the faraway land to win the authors were diligent in their efforts to expose his peccadilloes including his strange minister. Given all the really weird religious fervor in the other party it seems strange indeed that they didn't mention the exorcism of the woman from Alaska.
All in all it's a nice book; I learned a lot.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Starlet
  • San Carlos, CA, United States
  • 03-04-10

A Great First Political Non Fiction

I have to admit, although I placed this book on the old Wish List, it might have languished if it were not for these fake 1 star reviews on Amazon by those Kindle owners who were very unhappy about the publishers not making book available on Kindle right away. As a result the one stars prevailed over the 5 star. I downloaded it...just because of that. I have never read a political book before, even though I have wanted to, and I was interested. After reading the first chapter, I was dubious but after that it took off right away for me. This was the first election I really got behind so I was knowledgeable of time frames -- this book provided much insight to what goes on in the background that I could not believe. I just loved it -- these are political animals -- it's a different breed. Hearing about Obama and Clinton as well as Palin and John McCain behind the scenes was a delight. It was so informative for those who just don't know. I think the Palin & Hillary parts were the most revealing. It's not as dry material as one would think.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Brent
  • Iowa City, IA, USA
  • 06-11-10

A Rare Inside Look into Political Campaigning

This was an incredibly interesting look into the 2008 presidential campaign. VERY well researched, meticulously thought out, and yet, it really does read like a novel. Definitely a page-turner for anyone interested in either politics or the current president.

The only problem was that it didn't really do the republican primary race justice. The democratic side was covered extensively, with in-depth profiles of both the Obama, Clinton, and Edwards campaigns, from start to finish. However, coverage of the republican side focused only on McCain to any significant extent. I was disappointed that the main second-place contender, Mitt Romney, was only glossed over very briefly.

Aside from that drawback, the authors' coverage of the general election was equally as high-quality as the first several chapters on the democratic primary.

I felt that the authors' remained objective and politically neutral, while providing intimate and compelling depictions of why certain campaigns stalled or skyrocketed at different times. The writing is very engaging, which is rare among books that leave the reader with so much new knowledge and insight. The book definitely would have been worthy of a fifth star if not for the limited coverage of the republican primary.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • B.J.
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 06-04-10

Great perspective

I followed the election with attention to the smallest details, yet these two authors managed to find things I'd heard nothing about. This book doesn't set out to be a flattery piece. It does reveal truths. In many cases, the truth is not pretty.

The way they captured personality nuances of the major players is significant. It's more than McCain's daredevil, Palin's whatever, Hillary's determination and Obama's calm. How it played out day-to-day amidst a grueling campaign is fascinating. It's interesting if you like the nitty gritty of politics and want to understand some of the human motivation behind the headlines.

I came out of the book with newfound appreciation for the strengths of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. That they were able to find a way to work together and become friends is amazing.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Well written and well read

If politics is your thing then this a must read! The narrative is tight, proving the rule again from English Comp 101: "There is no good writing, only good rewriting". Well balanced and candid without sounding like gadflies, this is a fantastic book for the long commute.

It was also very well produced and the audio is very clean. Dennis Boutsikaris does a great job keeping the voices separate. Even his Bill Clinton voice is subtle enough to avoid the cardinal sin of being distracting.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Totally guilty pleasure

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.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Elisabeth
  • Durham, NC, United States
  • 02-18-10

Fast Paced

Read this book now while you clearly remember the 2008 election! It is fun to compare your perceptions of each campaign with what was actually happening behind the scenes. I am not a reader of political books, but this read like fast paced fiction. Lots of gossipy tid-bits that provide a fun look into each contender's campaign.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Flavius
  • Morro Bay, CA, United States
  • 01-25-10

An Exciting Ride

This fun, fast-paced book does a great job of covering some of the "inside baseball" during the 2008 Campaign. The authors have done their homework.

All authors have biases, and Heilemann and Halperin are no exception. I think they make an earnest, journalistic effort to be objective, and largely they're successful.

The most nuanced and multi-faceted character in the book is Hillary Clinton: sometimes conniving, protective mother, earnest crusader, spiteful pol, dismissive in victory, gracious in defeat, beloved statesman, mistrusted reminder of the Clinton Administration.

Great book.

7 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • BH FL
  • Deerfield Beach, FL
  • 03-02-10

worth the 1 credit

Eventhough I find politics rather boring this book had some good moments. The one problem is that it makes everyone seem so "human". While I personally like Sarah Palin, this book (if you can believe it) makes it very clear how she was totally unprepared to be president. You'll enjoy the book.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Bill
  • Middle Island, NY, United States
  • 03-01-10

Political book that reads like novel

The book is very well written, and I have to assume pretty much true. I didn't think 14 hours of this subject matter in an audio book would keep my attention.....well it did and then some.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful