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The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down

The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down

Written by Andrew Young

Narrated by Kevin Foley


The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down

Written by Andrew Young

Narrated by Kevin Foley

ratings:
3.5/5 (17 ratings)
Length:
11 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 15, 2010
ISBN:
9781400186501
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Like a nonfiction version of All the King's Men, The Politician offers a truly disturbing, even shocking, perspective on the risks taken and tactics employed by a man determined to rule the most powerful nation on earth.



Idealistic and ambitious, Andrew Young volunteered for the John Edwards campaign for Senate in 1998 and quickly became the candidate's right-hand man. As the senator became a national star, Young's responsibilities grew. For a decade he was this politician's confidant, and he was assured he was "like family." In time, however, Young was drawn into a series of questionable assignments that culminated with Edwards asking him to help conceal the senator's ongoing adultery. Days before the 2008 presidential primaries began, Young gained international notoriety when he told the world that he was the father of a child being carried by a woman named Rielle Hunter, who was actually the senator's mistress. While Young began a life on the run, hiding from the press with his family and alleged mistress, John Edwards continued to pursue the presidency and then the vice presidency in the future Obama administration.



Young had been the senator's closest aide and most trusted friend. He believed that John Edwards could be a great president and was assured throughout the cover-up that his boss and friend would ultimately step forward to both tell the truth and protect his aide's career. Neither promise was kept.



Not only is The Politician a moving personal account of Andrew Young's political education, but it also offers a look at the trajectory that made John Edwards the ideal Democratic candidate for president and the hubris that brought him down, leaving his career, his marriage, and his dreams in ashes.
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 15, 2010
ISBN:
9781400186501
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook


About the author

Andrew Young was raised in a segregated New Orleans, an experience that would shape his later activities during the civil rights movement. After earning his divinity degree from Hartford Seminary, Young accepted an offer to pastor a church in Marion, Alabama, where he encouraged African Americans to register to vote and became acquainted with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In the most critical years of the movement, Young served as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and worked in Birmingham, St. Augustine, Selma, and Atlanta directly. Young was the representative for Georgia’s 5th District in Congress from 1973 to 1977, after which he became the 14th U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and then the 55th mayor of Atlanta. Today Young focuses on community improvement through organizations like the Andrew Young Foundation.

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What people think about The Politician

3.6
17 ratings / 16 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    I've never been a fan of tell-all books. In this case, there are a few reasons why I chose to read Andrew Young's account of his work with and for John and Elizatbeth Edwards. First of all, I backed John Edwards early on, and I was curious to understand more about just what happened there. Second, I was impressed that Young was upfront about the fact that he wrote the book for the money. As my sister commented, after listening to Oprah's interview with Young, "Maybe you ought to buy the book just to give the guy a few bucks. It sounds like he got left high and dry."

    The book is decently written and a "fast read." I quickly found myself caught up in the store, and I read it within a day or two of starting it.

    One interesting thread in the book is the life and drive of people who are primarily motivated by a need to have power or to be near it. I've never been power-oriented, and so it fascinates me. I can understand the "excitement junkie" aspects of politics — I encountered the same thing in journalism and I have to admit that for a time it really hooked me. But the power thing? It's kind of a mystery to me.

    I came to the conlusion in reading the book that we give our elected representatives altogether too much power. It would be better if people went into politics for different, better reasons. I thought of Plato's idea of choosing leaders and dragging them, fighting tooth and nail to avoid having to lead, assauaged only with the promise that after a time, they would be permitted to return to a more normal and secluded life. (Ah, but can you keep 'em down on the farm, after they've seen the big city?)

    John Edwards comes across as a total scoundrel, on many, many levels. Although Young describes some despicable actions on Elizabeth Edwards' part, I felt that her illness, in combination with John's infidelity, cast her in a more sympathetic light.

    While Young is forthright about his actions, I don't think he entirely owns up to his own degree of greed and ambition. Most con games play on people's greed, and I think that was his downfall.

    Still, the book is not only an "insider's view," it's also that rare thing — the story from the point of view of the losing side, and the view looking up at power from within the organization. While "The Politician" doesn't provide answers or solutions, it gave me much to ponder and think about.
  • (3/5)
    having been a fan of the politics of Edwards, it was depressing to see his politician side and how he was not always the best that he could be human-wise
  • (3/5)
    From The Book Wheel:Oh, how I wish I could have read the ending of this book first! But of course, if I had, I wouldn’t have experienced the full range of emotions from outrage to disbelief. Written by Andrew Young, top aide to former Presidential candidate John Edwards, The Politician: An Insider’s Account of John Edwards’s Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down is his way of setting the infamous Rielle Hunter scandal straight.I went into this book a little skeptical because I lived in North Carolina while the 2008 debacle went down and had preconceived notions of what had happened. I mean, how could a married father like Young accept responsibility for a child that wasn’t his? What does that say about his own values? And these questions are why I wished I could have read the ending of the book first. Here is a breakdown of the emotional roller coaster this book took me on:- First 50%: I did not start out liking Andrew Young because all he did was toot his own horn and point out flaws in others. He painted himself as an idealistic kid who was dazzled by Edwards‘ charm and potential. While I believe that he was swept up in all things Edwards and was quite naive, he presents himself to the reader as beyond reproach.- Next 30%: Then I was shocked and mad. By this point, I had very little sympathy for Young because he admitted that he was sharing things that were, “between him and Edwards,” that were not of a political nature and I thought it was tacky to divulge information about his son’s death.He also compares the Edwards family to the mob and starts becoming heavily involved in the Rielle Hunter cover-up. I just could not believe that an intelligent, married, father of three would intentionally put his family in that type of situation. It’s not as if he were single and had no one counting on him. At this point, I was thinking that Edwards was scum but that Young was just as scummy (I think covering up for a cheater is just as bad as cheating).- Last 20%: Here, a few things happen. Young vilifies both John and Elizabeth Edwards, but he also finally redeems himself. He admits his own shortcomings and failures, understands that he allowed himself to be swallowed up by the affair and realizes that he needs to move forward. It is in the last pages that we also learn the full implications of his actions. With Elizabeth Edwards leaving mean-spirited messages on Young’s phone and John Edwards refusing to tell the truth as promised, Young has no one to turn to. Trash-talked out of a career and left behind by Edwards’ buddies, Young and his family are left to deal with the fallout from their decision to accept responsibility for, and harbor, Rielle and her child.In the end, I have sympathy for Young and everything he went through. I’m mostly sympathetic toward his wife and children, even though his wife was more or less willing to participate in the charade. Edwards had fooled everyone, including his friends, donors, and wife. While I don’t think that Edwards intended to use Young as the pawn that he became, Young’s eagerness to “never say no” led him right into the lion’s den. I’m not sure where Young is now, but I hope that he’s been able to move beyond what happened.Side note: I tried and failed to find some of the photos referenced in this book, such as the one of John Edwards in People Magazine and the one of Teresa Heinz removing Jack Edwards’ thumb from his mouth. I wish the author/publisher had included these photos that were described so vividly!
  • (5/5)
    This is an in depth view of the John Edwards scandal as seen through the eyes of Andrew Young, his political aide. I really enjoyed this book although I didn't like all the Republican backstabbing that went on. Personally, I couldn't have stood what Andrew Young did to his family as part of John Edwards' scandal. I don't usually get involved in politics but I was riveted to the personal toll of the scandal and wanted to read this book very much. I give this book an A+!
  • (3/5)
    The parts of his account that he can verify by recorded phone messages are very telling, both about Edwards and his equally ambitious wife. Unverifiable and self-serving accounts about advice Young allegedly gave at various junctures must be taken with a grain of salt.
  • (4/5)
    Andrew Young's searing saga turns a once-rising star in world politics into one of the most unsympathetic characters to grace the pages of non-fiction works in years. To Young's credit, he candidly admits -- a couple times, in fact -- that one of his motivations for writing this tell-all tale is to make some money. He claims his career was destroyed by his involvement with John and Elizabeth Edwards. True, many of the "punch-lines" in this book were the stuff of media headlines even before the tome graced some bestseller lists. But Young's riveting writing coupled with the "this must be fiction" quality of the story line keeps readers captivated from the first chapter to the final salvo. It also serves up some enlightening anecdotes involving other players on the national political stage.
  • (4/5)
    Andrew Young, one time friend, confidante, co-worker, honorary "family" and staunch supporter, tells his side of the rise and fall of presidential hopeful, John Edwards. I completely believe his version of what "went down," but I'm so disappointed that he would sell his soul and his family for John Edwards. There have always been charismatic men who get the people around them to do their bidding, no matter how absurd or sleazy. Andrew Young, desperate for family, friendship and fame looked at John Edwards almost like a gay lover, it was creepy what he did for someone who constantly used him without one iota of concern for his welfare.I liked John Edwards. I would have voted for him. But if I choose to believe this version of events, and I do, I am so glad John Edwards did not get the Democratic nod for president. He cares about no one but himself. John was a cheating dog using his wife's cancer to further his march to the White House; and Elizabeth sounds like a hateful bitch. I'll cut her just a little bit of slack, though, as she does have cancer and she's sick, scared, angry and a humiliated and betrayed woman. I wish she had a little more class about it all, and I hope she admits to her wrong doings in this whole situation. I would like to think she apologized to the Young family for the hateful, disgraceful way she talked to them and treated them after years of obviously very devoted service. This was a very interesting story. I think I need to read Elizabeth's book too.
  • (3/5)
    I enjoyed this book to a degree. The author doesn't come off all that well although I think he tries to portray events as they seemed to him at the time. For the most part, the story has the ring of truth to it yet there were one or two instances where he does not convey consistency, i.e., he describes the call he received from John Edwards asking if he will say publicly that he is the father of Rielle Hunter's baby. He says he's sitting on a curb and then moves to the front seat of his vehicle, but goes on to reflect how he feels about the request - while sitting on the curb. Well, was he sitting on the curb or not? It's small inconsistencies that make me think, hmmm.
  • (5/5)
    Listened to this and was captivated from the first chapter through the 9 CDs! The bad thing is that this is non-fiction. The good thing is that it is entertaining. I am glad that I had read [Resilience] by [[Elizabeth Edwards]] when it came out.I do realize that, although non-fiction, incidents and events and people may be blown out of proportion, but even if 50% of this is extreme, it is still a sad, revealing story.Like I said I only wish it was all fiction.
  • (3/5)
    Both interesting and disturbing, this book is a great example of what can happen if you let lies and deceit enter your life. Slowly but surely, Andrew Young ruined his political career and future by allowing himself to become a pawn in a political game and letting lies fester and grow, until they were out of control. I would suggest that you read this book with the view that Andrew Young was eventually scorned by the Edwards family, and at times coming off as bitter and playing the victim card a bit too much. But I did enjoy the political aspects of the book, and getting a different perspective than was presented in the media or other political memoirs.
  • (4/5)
    We know the story. Meteoric rise, stunning fall. Flaky girlfriend, shrewish wife. Ubiquitous aide, his loyal wife. And a whole passel of kids (including one who didn't survive to see this whole mess) unfortunately all caught up in the drama.Amid charges of greed and lies, Andrew Young has written what I consider a mostly true tell-all of the absolute mess John Edwards made - with Young's complicity and help - of a once-promising political career. On the one hand, I don't blame him for writing it. After all he gave to the Edwards, he was repaid by being blackballed and rendered basically unemployable, and he does have a family to support. On the other hand, he wouldn't be in this mess if he hadn't been such a raging idiot.Young is not easy on himself in this tale, not at all. But I think he's not as self aware as he should be. He claims his light bulb-over-the-head moment about Edwards came after the birth of Rielle Hunter's child, Edwards' child, and the senator hemmed and hawed about calling Hunter. Young states that Edwards' reluctance about this child made him see that he didn't have the character he'd spent so many years believing he had. Um, hello? You've just spent how many months dragging your own children hither and yon, on the run and taking the fall for something you didn't even do? I think when he was castigating Edwards for letting his ambition exceed his character, he should've slopped a little paint from that brush onto himself. He had high hopes when he attached himself to John Edwards, considering himself White House bound. His own fall should be considered equally stunning as Edwards'.The book itself was fairly well-written, though often poorly edited, there were several typographical errors that may indicate a rush to print. It was juicy and enlightening, only tedious when talking about Edwards' early career. Though it was kind of squicky to be reading of some of the exploits described. To paraphrase another review I read about this book, what a great read. Thank God I'm finished.
  • (4/5)
    John Edwards had what most would describe as a meteoric rise in the ranks of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately he succumbed to the same arrogance that befalls a lot of politicians in that they can do whatever they want and answer to no one. The result was a just as spectacular fall from grace. It's a shame really. Had Edwards come clean when the story of his affair with Ms. Hunter first hit the airwaves perhaps the damage could have been minimized. Instead he continued to tell only part of the truth while using "lawyer speak" to dodge other questions. Mr. Young tells a compelling story of the depths of deception Edwards was willing to engage in to ascend to the presidency. Amazing story.....And it's still not over. Only time will tell if Edwards will face criminal prosecution for possible misuse of campaign funds.
  • (5/5)
    This spellbinding book tells a tale of the excess of hubris and reads like a thriller. You can get the gist of the story from other reviews, but what struck me foremost was that this is a perfect example of the road to Hell being paved with good intentions. It is also a warning that you should be very careful about hitching your star to someone else's in an attempt to ride coattails up to prominence. And it provides an insightful look at the hectic game of politics, not to mention the potty mouths of some of th emost famous politiciand.Young wanted to be the best go-to guy ever and Edwards took advantage of him incrementally. The Devil gets you a little bit at a time and then, suddenly, you're his. I believe this is effectively what happened to Young. He was mesmerized by Edwards and allowed himself to be used. There are those who are not charitable to Young. I'm not one of them. This story is as much about hios own redemption as anything. Make no mistake about it, though. Young was used and discarded by both Edwards, betrayed in the worst way possible. I don't blame him a bit for writing this book. Well done.
  • (4/5)
    This is a fascinating book. The author, Andrew Young, went to work for John Edwards more than 10 years ago, becoming very close to him and his family, assisting Edwards in his campaigns for Senate and for the Presidency, becoming best friends. For many years Young was full of optimism that Edwards was a sincere politician with the best interests of the public, especially the poor and struggling, at heart. As time went on, it became apparent that fame and adulation had changed Edwards and his wife so that they forgot the people around them and became self focused. Most distressing was when Young realized that Edwards was making fool hearty and dangerous personal decisions, beginning a liaison with a younger and uncontrollable woman while his wife reportedly had terminal cancer. Young was asked to cover this problem in a way that should never have been asked by anyone. I recommend this book. I am reminded that we cannot trust anyone, and those in public life must be scrutinized very closely because fame corrupts.
  • (2/5)
    After finishing this off in one afternoon, I felt the real need for a shower. I wanted to feel bad for Andrew Young, the long-suffering aide to John Edwards, but all I felt was disgust. He let Edwards walk all over him and increasingly involve him in his sordid affairs while at the same time, dragging his young family across the country to protect Edwards and his presidential ambitions. Yuck---what if he'd been the democratic nominee and all this hit the fan just before the election?! All of them--John, Elizabeth and Young are all at fault and deserve the hell they've created for themselves.
  • (3/5)
    One sleazy creeps spills the beans about another sleazy creep. Every page yields either an unflattering, unintentional revelation about the author's shallow character or a description of another step in the downward staircase of John Edwards' descent into national laughingstock. Nobody comes off looking good in this book, including readers who must resist the urge to wash their hands after reading. I loved it!