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Publisher's Summary

The election of 2008 shattered political barriers; illuminated undercurrents of race, gender, and class; and ignited an extraordinary battle among some of the most formidable rivals ever to seek the presidency: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. It was an election that played out against a backdrop of war, economic collapse, and deep pessimism about the future.

Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson followed this campaign from the candidates' first forays into Iowa and New Hampshire to the historic night of Obama's victory celebration. They offer behind-the-scenes details of turning points, like the stunning endorsement of Obama by Senator Edward M. Kennedy. They probe the strategic mistakes of the Clinton campaign and the story behind Obama's breakthrough organization. And they cast new light on McCain's struggle for survival in the Republican primaries, his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate, and the economic meltdown that ensured Obama's victory. Exclusive interviews with the candidates and their top strategists produce intimate portraits of Obama, Clinton, and McCain under stress throughout the longest and most expensive presidential campaign in American history.

Balz and Johnson also move far off the campaign trail to listen to voters in battleground states express their deep anxieties about the darkening economic climate and the challenges facing the United States. This audiobook is a riveting account of how this election not only marked a new era in American politics but also offered a test of historic proportions at a watershed moment for our nation.

©2009 Haynes Johnson and Dan Balz; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall

The best of the genre

I have read several books about the 2008 election and books discussing what the election might say about America. I found "The Battle for America 2008" among the best in both categories. Although the authors focused on the Clinton v Obama battle, they also address the Republican primary, the selection of Palin and the general election. I found an obvious effort to provide a balanced report, sometimes more successfully than others. Republicans might pick up some pointers about how they went from a ruling party to back benchers in 6 years and Democrats might learn what they need to do to hold the center of the country in future elections.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

interesting modern history but...

Really enjoyed the book, and after getting used to the narroator thought pace/reading was excellent.
I found the book interesting because most of what i read is 20th century history in which the author is farther temporally removed from the subject. The close temporal relationship to the subject of this book makes the history more intriguing, given that the authors have access to the thoughts and even quotes of what went on in certain meetings etc. In this regard, I found this incredibly interesting.
What I got out of this however, is that it's still hard to figure out, for instance, what happend to Clinton and why she lost. yes, you get a flavor of the "Clinton paranoia" that seems to be omnipresent whenever bill and hiliary are involved. it's always someone else's fault and everyone is out to get them. But even then, there is not great insight into exactly what they could have done differently to change an outcome. The bottom line is that its hard to understand why the flux of the election went the way it did, other than that the country was really ready for a completely different approach and, as is usual in politics, you need both a figure with a particular message and the times/nation has to be at a point in history that mirrors that message. I think you could argue the same thing about the Reagan revolution.
Overall, very enjoyable, but not overly insightful. Maybe understanding 2008 is just beyond rationale analysis, and the election results were sort of inevitable given the mood the country.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful