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"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. Heilemann and Halperin take us inside the Obama machine, where staffers referred to the candidate as "Black Jesus." They unearth the quiet conspiracy in the U.S. Senate to prod Obama into the race, driven in part by the fears of senior Democrats that Bill Clinton's personal life might cripple Hillary's presidential prospects. They expose the twisted tale of John Edwards's affair with Rielle Hunter, the truth behind the downfall of Rudy Giuliani, and the doubts of those responsible for vetting Palin about her readiness for the Republican ticket—along with the McCain campaign staff's worries about her fitness for office. And they reveal how, in an emotional late-night phone call, Obama succeeded in wooing Clinton, despite her staunch resistance, to become his secretary of state.

Based on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Game Change is a reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, this is the occasionally shocking, often hilarious, ultimately definitive account of the campaign of a lifetime.

Topics: Presidents

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061966200
List price: $11.99
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Enjoyed this challenge of discipleship to Jesus as the very heart of the gospel, and these favorite quotes:
More than any other single thing, in any case, the practical irrelevance of actual obedience to Christ accounts for the weakened effect of Christianity on the world today, with its increasing tendency to emphasize political and social action as the primary way to serve God. It also accounts for the practical irrelevance of Christian faith to individual character development and overall personal sanity and well-being.
"The command 'Be ye perfect' is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command." C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Kingdom praying and its efficacy is entirely a matter of the innermost heart's being totally open and honest before God. It is not an informational but intimate communion with the one who truly knows our needs It is a matter of what we are saying with our whole being, moving with resolute intent and clarity of mind into the flow of God's action. In apprenticeship to Jesus, this is one of the most important things we learn how to do. He teaches us how to be in prayer what we are in life and how to be in life what we are in prayer.
"The discipline of secrecy will help us break the grip of human opinion over our souls and our actions. A discipline is an activity in our power that we do to enable us to do what we cannot do by direct effort. Jesus is here leading us into the discipline of secrecy. We from time to time practice doing things approved of in our religious circles – giving, praying, fasting, attending services of the church, and so on – but in such a way that no one knows. Thus, our motivation and reward for doing these things cannot come from human beings. We are liberated from slavery to eyes, and then it does not matter whether people know or not. We learn to live constantly in this way."
"The adult members of churches today rarely raise serious religious questions for fear of revealing their doubts or being thought of as strange. There is an implicit conspiracy of silence on religious matters in the churches. This conspiracy covers up the fact that the churches do not change lives or influence conduct to any appreciable degree." Clyde Reid
Prayer is a matter of explicitly sharing with God my concerns about what he too is concerned about in my life. And of course he is concerned about my concerns and, in particular, that my concerns should coincide with his. This is our walk together. Out of it I pray.
Prayer as kingdom praying is an arrangement explicitly instituted by God in order that we as individuals may count, and count for much, as we learn step by step how to govern, to reign with him in his kingdom. To enter and to learn this reign is what gives the individual life its intended significance. This high calling also explains why prayer frequently requires much effort, continuous effort, and on some matters possibly years and years of effort. Prayer is, above all, a means of forming character. It combines freedom and power with service and love. What God gets out of our lives - and indeed, what we get out of our lives - is simply the person we become. It is God's intention that we should grow into the kind of person he could empower to do what we want to do. Then we are ready to 'reign for ever and ever' (Rev. 22:5).
"Brother Lawrence, who was a kitchen worker and cook, remarks, Our sanctification does not depend upon changing our works, but in doing that for God's sake which we commonly do for our own. . . It is a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from other times. We are as strictly obliged to adhere to God by action in the time of action as by prayer in the season of prayer."
Nondiscipleship is the elephant in the church. It is not the many moral failures, financial abuses or amazing general similarity between Christian and non-Christians. These are only the effects of the underlying problem. The fundamental negative reality among Christians believers today, is the failure to be constantly learning how to live their lives in the kingdom among us. And it is an accepted reality. The divisions of professing Christians and to those for whom it is a matter of whole life devotion to God and those who maintain a consumer or client relationship to the church has now been an accepted reality for the last 1500 years.
Henri Nouwen well describes our common situation: “We simply go along with the many "musts" and "oughts" that have been handed on to us, and we live with them as if they were authentic translations of the Gospel of our Lord. People must be motivated to come to church, youth must be entertained, money must be raised, and above all everyone must be happy. Moreover, we ought to be on good terms with the church and civil authorities; we ought to be liked or at least respected by a fair majority of our parishioners; we ought to move up in the ranks according to schedule; and we ought to have enough vacation and salary to live a comfortable life.”
Do we now even have any idea of what discipleship evangelism, as we might call it, would look Ilke? What message would we preach that would naturally lead to a decision to become an apprentice to Jesus in The Kingdom Among Us? I hope we can now understand what it might be, having worked our way this far. I hope that our understanding of what it is really to trust Jesus Christ, the whole person, with our whole life, would make the call to become his whole-life apprentice the natural next step. That would be discipleship evangelism. And it would be very different from what is now done.
One of the greatest weaknesses in our teaching and leadership today is that we spend so much time trying to get people to do things good people are supposed to do, without changing what they really believe. It doesn't succeed very well, and that is the open secret of church life.
Very little of our being lies under the direction of our conscious minds, and very little of our actions runs from our thoughts and consciously chosen intentions. Our mind on its own is an extremely feeble instrument, whose power over life we constantly tend to exaggerate. We are incarnate beings in our very nature, and we live from our bodies. If we are to be transformed, the body must be transformed, and that is not accomplished by talking at it.more
It is fun to review in one quick read the entire political experience of 2007 and 2008, in the last moment before my memories of that election are erased by the coming 2011/2012 contest. The authors fill in lots of background information, and create a satisfying summary of the historical moment. I'm left however with one insight of sorts. The couple with the best marriage won.

Maybe America just voted for the only sane people in the pack - Barack and Michelle. This book recounts the astonishing dysfunction of the Edward's marriage (both of the partners equally pouring the crazy), and the unbelievable delusional thinking of John Edwards. To think that he had a chance at the nomination, or the vice presidency, or any office, is frightening, notwithstanding his sometimes superior policy proposals. The Clintons are revealed to be more dysfunctional than I had imagined them, although one does sometimes sense an underlying affection as well. Is that affection real or a well practiced political habit? It's very hard to read them, but whatever relationship they have worked out it would be hard to describe it as completely positive or parsable in everyday terms.

As for John McCain and Cindy, their marriage is revealed to be clearly a shell of an actual relationship - like the Clintons they seem to be largely a political corporation. The Palins, while explored in less depth, are also pretty obvious head cases, individually and as a unit, to say nothing of Sarah Palin's astonishing, mind numbing, blistering, gobsmacking ignorance. In all of these above relationships the rumors or realities of infidelities circulate.

In contrast to all the rest of them the Obamas come out seeming like fairly sane and emotionally whole people with an actual love relationship and friendship that might even have significance to them beyond their career as a political family. And, somehow America chose Obama, and somehow it rejected the other nutcases in their nutcase marriages. What that means, I do not know.more
As someone who very closely followed the 2008 Presidental election, & campaigned for one of the candidates, I was very interested in reading this book. I had been told that it was excellent, and I was not disappointed.

You learn about all the major players in the Presidential campaign, including John Edwards, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and of course, Sarah Palin. I was surprised by many things I read; for instance, John McCain was not very invested in his campaign for months, and there were a few times it almost ended. Sarah Palin became so morose and withdrawn during the campaign that McCain's people called in a psychiatrist to observe her mental state. Michelle Obama was completely opposed to Barack Obama running for president - and Cindy McCain didn't want John to run, either. John Edwards was extremely egotistical, and toward the end of his campaign, completely delusional, and his wife, Elizabeth, comes across completely differently than her public persona.

It's a juicy story, but one with plenty of political behind the scenes information, as well - the part in which the authors cover the financial meltdown is very interesting - and it reads like a novel. Anyone who has interest in politics, especially in the 2008 election, will be very entertained by this book.more
This book would be a good read for those who didn’t follow the campaign very closely at the time. For those of us who did, nothing new or earth-shattering was illuminated in here that we didn’t already know. However, the one thing that was new to me was the unflattering portrait of the late Elizabeth Edwards. With that being said, I could see picking this book up again after another five years, when my memories have faded, and being interested in the “story” that the authors are telling.more
THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE AUDIOBOOKThis is a book about the ins and outs of the 2008 campaign (you know … the one where a young upstart named Barack Obama beat out Hilary Clinton for the Democratic nomination and went on to defeat John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin). I’m not into politics AT ALL but I found this book utterly fascinating (which makes me wonder if I’m more interested in politics than I think or if it was just such an interesting campaign). I mistakenly thought it dealt more with Sarah Palin than it does (her part is only the last third of the book), but it didn’t matter—the battle between Obama and Clinton provided more than enough drama and intrigue. (And the whole John Edwards disaster was like watching a car accident in slow motion.) However, I did get the payoff I was looking for as the book provides a rather damning look into the selection of Palin and the realities of her candidacy. (If you didn’t guess by that last sentence, I’m not a big Palin fan.) Trust me … you don’t need to be a political junkie to enjoy this book. It was gripping from the start and, even though I knew how things turned out in the end, I was still on the edge of my seat as all the various aspects of the race unfolded. I listened to this book on audio, and Dennis Boutsikaris was the perfect choice of narrator. I’m hoping that the authors chronicled the 2012 campaign as I’d LOVE to read about it and find out the details and behind-the-scenes stuff that we don’t really get in regular news coverage. This will definitely be on my “best of the year” lists.more
Very accessible, fully detailed with most of the material on the record. Confirms many of my perceptions and impressions during the 2008 presidential campaign. I infer that Hillary Clinton lost in large measure due to her inability to manage her campaign organization. McCain's organization selected Palin five days before he announced her selection as VP running mate, principally with the intention of creating a monster impact in the media that would upstage the Democratic Convention's choice of Obama; McCain's agreement to pick Palin was a craven act of political manipulation, I hardly believe that he is proud of it.more
I had forgotten how crazy the 2007-2008 election period was. This book has it all. The most depressing part by far is Chapter 7, wherein we learn that John and Elizabeth Edwards were . . . pretty much . . . out of their minds. Meanwhile, the big story is that for the most part the campaigns are ill-managed and out-of-control. The candidates spend huge dollars, and they get infighting, waste, and grotesque internal politics.
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Though I should admit my liberal bias upfront, I found this book to be a fascinating account of the behind the scenes action of the 2008 Presidential campaign. A Clinton supporter myself, it was so interesting to see how her campaign literally imploded from within over ridiculous issues, such as her husband's lack of self control. It reads like a novel, with very engrossing characters and plot lines, to the point where I started fact checking things myself just to make sure I was actually reading a true account and not an exciting thriller! I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in that roller-coaster of an election year!more
The backstory: With the 2012 U.S. presidential election heating up, I decided it was finally time to read a (recent) historical account of the 2008 election--because I often like a little distance from my politics to keep my emotions in check. As one of my favorite lines in this book says: so well "Obama smirked and reprised for Axelrod another of his favorite sayings: “This shit would be really interesting if we weren’t in the middle of it.”"The basics: Game Change is a joint effort by John Heilemann, a political writer for New York magazine, and Mark Halperin, a political reporter for Time magazine. Both covered the 2008 election in depth at the time. In Game Change, they join forces, combine resources, and manage to interview hundreds of political operatives and campaign workers.My thoughts: I devoured John Heilemann's coverage of the 2008 election. Typically when my New York arrives, I flip right to the Approval Matrix on the last page and then do the crossword. About once a month I get around to reading the magazine itself. During that election, however, I immediately read his coverage. 2008 was a special election for many reasons. On the grander scale, both the Republican and Democratic primaries were wide open. There was no incumbent and the current vice president opted not to run. More personally, Mr. Nomadreader and I moved to Des Moines (for the first time) in the summer of 2007. We worked at a brewpub downtown and waited on numerous politicians running for president. We went to see many of the candidates early on at open forums with only a hundred people. It was intimate campaigning in a way I'd never seen, and it was infectious. Despite my intentions to keep an open mind and not pick a candidate too soon, I did. We were even pictured in campaign literature for one of the candidates before the January 2008 primary.All of this is to say: reading the first part of the book about the Iowa caucuses was fascinating. I was here; I lived it. Yet Heilemann and Halperin made it seem new. There's an art to writing about politics in the moment, and Heilemann proved he can do that during the election. It's a different art to write about politics in a historical context. I would argue it's perhaps most difficult to write about politics in a recent historical context. That Game Change reads like a smart pulp novel is a testament to both the writers and the wackiness of the 2008 presidential election. They grasped the eccentricities of Iowa politics beautifully: "Democrats in Iowa were decidedly liberal, with a peacenik streak." The Republicans tend to be social conservatives (as evidenced by the last two Iowa caucus winners: Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.) And then there are a lot of Iowans who are moderate swing voters. It's a fascinating political climate.After the action moved on from the Iowa caucuses, the book lagged only slightly before picking up steam again. The entire primary race riveted me in 2008, but I had a new perspective on the timeline. While I recalled all of the events well, I didn't recall their order as precisely or understand the pending ramifications.The general election was even more intriguing and mind-boggling. The Sarah Palin storyline actually was more shocking when reading it context. At the time, there seemed to be confusion, but with fours years distance, her ignorance is somehow even more shocking and terrifying:"Palin couldn’t explain why North and South Korea were separate nations. She didn’t know what the Fed did. Asked who attacked America on 9/11, she suggested several times that it was Saddam Hussein. Asked to identify the enemy that her son would be fighting in Iraq, she drew a blank. (Palin’s horrified advisers provided her with scripted replies, which she memorized.) Later, on the plane, Palin said to her team, “I wish I’d paid more attention to this stuff.”"While neither John Edwards nor Sarah Palin are painted in a particularly positive light, I think the portrayals of the political figures were just. Watching John Edwards break down slowly was even more fascinating because I knew the ending.I may have my preferences, but I grinned as much as I grimaced at the words and actions of the candidate for whom I voted.Favorite passage: The single most shocking passage in the entire book: "In the midst of the financial crisis, she said to a friend, “God wants him to win.”" -Hillary Clinton on Barack ObamaThe verdict: Game Change is a fascinating glimpse into American presidential politics. It's simultaneously inspiring, frustrating, and sleazy. I enjoyed the parts vivid in my memory as much as I did those I didn't know or had forgotten. In 2008, I couldn't help but think "that can't really true, can it?" In Game Change it's clear truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Recommended to political junkies and casual observers.more
I watched the HBO movie first, and found it fascinating. It made me definitely want to read the book, which was much more complete, since the movie focused only the the McCain-Palin campaign. It helped to give me at least a bit of perspective as to how Sarah Palin could ever have been tapped for the V.P. race, and watching the preparation necessary to prepare her for a national stage was fairly horrifying. Unlike another reviewer, I was not interested IN THIS BOOK in questions of policy or experience, since there are many other places to get that information. I found this a fascinating look at today's "backroom" strategy sessions and the role of the media in today's political scene. Scary, but fascinating. Highly recommended.more
Finished this over a (rather busy!) weekend. Compelling gossip. Well written character assasination of the most enjoyable sort...more
This was a book that I've been wanting to read ever since it came out. I must admit that I am not that into American politics, but I was particularly interested in the 2008 election because deep at heart, Mareena and I are enormous news junkies - current events are our lifeblood. We are definitely not political, but I loved the background gossip of the campaigns in this book.I'm not sure if I'll want to watch the movie when it comes out. I find that the book is immeasurably better than the movie most of the time. I give this book an A+!more
This is the perfect book for people interested in the human side of politics to read during this current primary season. It has just enough historical distance to lend perspective and some understanding about the dynamics of primaries in general, and helps explain why the present one is so into craziness. The writing is excellent, the research and sources impeccable. The reader can't help but gain some insight into the dynamics of what makes U.S. democracy, the whole voting process, work. I felt the authors were remarkably even-handed in their assessments and account. AND, the book is fun to read!more
Heilemann and Halperin have written a perfectly respectable book, and no one should be surprised at their success. A storyteller couldn’t ask for better material than this election, and they’ve definitely captured all of its drama and excitement. They’ve also done exhaustive research; Game Change is loaded with juicy details.Actually, it’s nothing *but* juicy details. This book is all horse-race, all the time. Policy is scarcely mentioned, and there are definitely times when the authors aim for entertainment rather than accuracy. I’m not saying they make things up, but I do think they emphasize and de-emphasize certain events and decisions for dramatic effect. I guess that’s understandable, though, because this is pretty light fare. What’s less understandable is the way in which H&H try to impose weirdly inapplicable narrative arcs upon the actual history. At the outset, for example, they characterize Obama and Clinton’s rivalry as “a love story,” and go on to say that it would remain a love story “all along.” At the end of the book, they observe that the two are “together at last.” Unfortunately, the story totally fails to justify this framework; during the campaign, their relationship is icy at best. I was also confused by H&H’s depictions of women. All of the ladies in this book, and I mean all of them, appear to be either unreasonable or downright crazy. I’m not sure why that is, but I have a hard time believing that it’s an accurate reflection of reality.Still, Game Change is a fun read — warts and all. The writing is breezy; the tone is chatty; the story is, once again, fantastic. If you need something for the beach, this will probably do nicely. If you’re looking to learn stuff, I imagine there are better options.more
In this breezy account of the 2008 presidential campaign, Time Magazine editor Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, correspondent and columnist for New York Magazine, offer a behind-the-scenes look at the campaigns of the main contenders. As expected in such books, they offer some candid details. While the book focuses on the Democratic primary, particularly the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the best "dirt" involves the troubled campaign of John McCain, especially the trials and tribulations of his running mate, Sarah Palin.Told in three sections, relating to the Democratic primary, the Republican primary, and the general election, respectively, the account attempts to be charitable to most of the participants, and it largely succeeds (no doubt, because many of the actors were sources for the book). Despite the obvious and heightened animosity created by the campaigns, Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, McCain and Biden appear as admirable politicians, despite their eccentricities. On the other hand, Palin is clearly out of her depth, bordering on imbalanced, while John Edwards seems mostly to be an overly ambitious lightweight with delusions of grandeur.To their credit, Halperin and Heilemann do not allow a myriad of uncovered details to overwhelm the basic storylines of the election. Instead, the details seem to flesh out narratives already detailed by political reporters during the campaign itself. For example, the looming arrival of Bill Clinton, whose personality threatened to overwhelm both the Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign at different times, hangs over the story. For months, Hillary's advisers sought to keep her out of his shadow, to the point where he was virtually ignored by the entire campaign. This avoidance also prevented the campaign from tapping into Bill Clinton's political knowledge and experience.In many ways, the story of each campaign in the primaries is one where disaster threatens to overwhelm and sink the campaign at any moment. While many reporters recognized that McCain's campaign floundered in the summer of 2007, few recognized how dysfunctional it was even after that near death experience. To slightly lesser extent, though, the Clinton campaign seemed plagued with similar problems: dueling personalities advising the campaign, with the resulting miscommunication and noncommunication between essential people. Halperin and Heilemann reveal that at key moments Obama, Clinton, and McCain each had to assert control over the direction of their campaigns, usually with almost immediate benefits. In desperation, Hillary regrouped after the Iowa caucuses and followed her own strategy in winning the New Hampshire primary. At the low point of his campaign following the media storm around previous comments by his minister, Obama instituted new internal communication patterns and gave his defining speech on race. Low on money, and no longer the front runner, McCain recaptured the aura of the underdog, at least through the competitive primaries.The character development of two key players almost seems like a fairytale. Sarah Palin appears less qualified in these pages then even during key moments in the campaign, such as the infamous Katie Couric interview. With radical mood swings, which some advisors uncharitably attributed to hormones, she vacillates between an eager – almost overeager – candidate gripping the horns and riding through the whirlwind and a depressed person whose separation from her family and overwhelming demands render her uncommunicative and virtually catatonic.On the other hand, Barack Obama seems more even keeled, and even wiser, then the "No Drama Obama" image presented by his campaign. Although he sometimes comes across as distant, he seems to always understand the stakes. At one point, this allows him to shake up his own advisers through the well-timed imitation of a colleague to address what he believed to be the shortcomings of their campaign. But in the end, particularly in the way he approached the financial market meltdown, Obama gained the grudging respect, if not appreciation, of both Hillary and Bill Clinton, which laid the foundation for Obama's surprising pick of Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State.On the whole, the book is an enjoyable and quick read, almost with the quality of a page turner. It is well researched, which is not surprising given the spectacular quality of Halperin's and Heilemann's sources, evident in their magazine reporting. At times, the narrative seems a bit thin, especially at points where the narrative jumps. And it might've been more interesting, though clearly more challenging to have merged the stories of both the Democratic and Republican primaries, but that is a mere quibble.more
I picked up this book a year after it came out and more than two years after the events it recounts, so I was worried it might already be dated. I was wrong.Even though the ending of this book is a foregone conclusion, and even though I followed the events of the 2008 election very closely, I still found this book incredibly compelling. Highly recommended.more
Too Big To Fail meets Primary Colors. Amusingly at the time commentators said this book debunked Ms Palin's woeful incompetence once and for all. Doesn't seem to have worked.more
Read this as I look ahead to 2012. A behind-the-scenes look at the candidates as they run for the presidency in 2008. On the one hand the book is gossipy, while on the other it’s a sophisticated look at history and politics. Based on numerous interviews of campaign insiders, the book reveals much about the candidates, exposing their strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. Some common perceptions of Obama, Biden, Clinton, McCain, Edwards, Romney, and Palin hold up to the coverage, while others do not.more
I loved this book! It was a real page-turner for political junkies. It was not analytic, but its descriptive nature made it highly readable. On the other hand, I don't think it will have much "shelf life" because of its lack of analysis. So, I'm glad I read it now.more
I listened to Game Change on an audio version of the book. Much more than half the book, perhaps even as much as 75%, is devoted to the Democrat race with Obama as the main character followed by Clinton and Edwards. It covers the plans, concerns, secret meetings and deals leading up to the candidate's run and eventual selection. There are no notes with the book so there is no back up proof provided about any of the comments. It could be hearsay and lots of gossip but it is what I expected it to be about, so I wasn't that disappointed. The dynamics of the couples and their advisors is interesting as well as the family and interpersonal relationships. The book does point out the grueling nature of the campaign which seemed to go on forever. The book is pretty negative about the Republicans as well as most of the Democrats excluding the Obamas. In the descriptions, the Obamas are not described as negatively as the others. The choice of words is softer. Obama's eyes fill up. Hillary cries. One presents a picture that is sympathetic, one presents a weak image. The couple's relationships as well are atrocious, except again for the Obamas. Their issues are glossed over. Dysfunctional marriages, however, seemed to be the order of the day. Maybe it is the nature of politics and power.The consensus of the reviews I read, like me, pretty much say that the Obamas come out the best in the book and, in fact, I thought they were treated more positively than any of the others but since he is the sitting President, I would expect that, out of respect for him and his family. Also, on the surface, from all the information presented, they do seem to have a loving marital and family relationship complete with mutual respect.It is an entertaining book or perhaps expose, but it does dwell on personalities and relationships more than anything else. It is what it is, a tell all book. If you are looking for substantive facts, this is not the book for you. Most of us know the information included but the personalities and little remarks surrounding the exposure of the troubled candidates seemed new.more
Entertaining look at inside the presidential race of 2008 and all of the players.more
In a stunningly detailed book, readers get an inside glimpse of the 2008 presidential campaign in Game Change. The politically savvy will enjoy the depths of the book, while those not politically savvy will learn something new. Short chapters and easy-to-read text make Game Change a must-read for those who witnessed the 2008 presidential campaign and Barack Obama's historical victory. more
I truly enjoyed this book. To have an insider's view of the election was wonderful - I'm a news junkie at heart, this book filled that role. The section that was the most interesting was on Sarah Palin. It was clear from the very beginning of the campaign that the woman doesn't have the brains God gave a rock. This section of the book confirms that belief.more
A well- written, meticulously researched account of the 2008 presidential election. Packed with plenty of gossip and intrigue to keep you turning the pages!more
Excellent insider account of the campaign, well written and well documented.more
A rehash of the 2008 presidential election, this book offers no new revelations. The biggest impression on me was confirmation that our national politicians are all gutter mouths. The authors suggest that they had the inside connections to conduct hundreds of interviews to be able to reconstruct thoughts and actual verbiage of conversations of the candidates, yet they don't document a single insider's quote and cite very few specific sources. Only the publicly made comments while on the campaign trail are verifiable. A student of the election will find nothing new in this book. A casual observer may find it helpful in piecing together the full sequence of events in 2008 and gain deeper understanding of presidetial politics.more
I don't understand why the British edition changed to this lame and inaccurate title. Maybe it's revenge on the US for renaming J K Rowling's first book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.The authors say in their introduction that they set out to give 'an intimate portrait of the candidates and spouses who (in our judgement) stood a reasonable chance of occupying the White House' after the 2008 election. They conducted more than 300 interviews with more than 200 people between July 2008 and September 2009, while memories of the election campaign were still fresh, and produced a book bristling with direct quotes from behind the scenes. I wouldn't describe much of it as intimate in any real sense, but it's got a kind of gossipy fascination. The Obamas, the McCains, the Edwardses and especially the Clintons are all big characters, and all have marriages that have had to withstand unbelievable strain. Todd Palin gets mentioned quite a bit, but doesn't become a character in his own right, and not a lot of ink is spent on Sarah Palin herself – though what there is of her is even more bizarre than the press suggested at the time.I don't know that the book does much to deepen the reader's understanding of the US political system in general or the 2007–8 election campaign in particular. The main take-home message seems to be that you don't have to be some kind of sociopath to run for President or Vice-President of the United States, but it helps. Miraculously, Barack Obama doesn't seem to be one. One does weep for US-style democracy, at least as seen through the lens of political journalism. I found myself empathising with the widespread fear of democracy in mid nineteenth century Australia, expressed in 1853 by John Plunkett, Attorney General of the colony of New South Wales: All serious convulsions are carried out by demagogues; as a boiling cauldron throws its scum to the top, so in all social convulsions unworthy persons will be sure to get to the top, and betray the people for their own selfish purposes. The people left to themselves, and uncontrolled, will be hurled on to ruin by the ruffians who make them their dupes. (Quoted in Peter Cochrane, Colonial Ambition, MUP 2006, p 379)Not that ruffians and demagogues prevailed in 2008, but one gets the impression that without ruffianly behaviour and demagoguery, and certainly not without being able to deal with lashings of both, no one could ever become POTUS.I do feel an itch to read an account as candid and thorough, and occasionally lurid, as this about an Australian election.more
If you are a political junkie, you are going to love this wild ride.If you are DemocratIC political junkie, it's like a day an a half pleasure trip through the highs and lows of campaign 2008. Backrooms, ads, stump speeches, conventions, oh the joy goes on and on. You're gonna love it. I sure did. I'm not saying it's an important book, but it's great political candy and what, after all, is quite so sweet?more
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Reviews

Enjoyed this challenge of discipleship to Jesus as the very heart of the gospel, and these favorite quotes:
More than any other single thing, in any case, the practical irrelevance of actual obedience to Christ accounts for the weakened effect of Christianity on the world today, with its increasing tendency to emphasize political and social action as the primary way to serve God. It also accounts for the practical irrelevance of Christian faith to individual character development and overall personal sanity and well-being.
"The command 'Be ye perfect' is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command." C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Kingdom praying and its efficacy is entirely a matter of the innermost heart's being totally open and honest before God. It is not an informational but intimate communion with the one who truly knows our needs It is a matter of what we are saying with our whole being, moving with resolute intent and clarity of mind into the flow of God's action. In apprenticeship to Jesus, this is one of the most important things we learn how to do. He teaches us how to be in prayer what we are in life and how to be in life what we are in prayer.
"The discipline of secrecy will help us break the grip of human opinion over our souls and our actions. A discipline is an activity in our power that we do to enable us to do what we cannot do by direct effort. Jesus is here leading us into the discipline of secrecy. We from time to time practice doing things approved of in our religious circles – giving, praying, fasting, attending services of the church, and so on – but in such a way that no one knows. Thus, our motivation and reward for doing these things cannot come from human beings. We are liberated from slavery to eyes, and then it does not matter whether people know or not. We learn to live constantly in this way."
"The adult members of churches today rarely raise serious religious questions for fear of revealing their doubts or being thought of as strange. There is an implicit conspiracy of silence on religious matters in the churches. This conspiracy covers up the fact that the churches do not change lives or influence conduct to any appreciable degree." Clyde Reid
Prayer is a matter of explicitly sharing with God my concerns about what he too is concerned about in my life. And of course he is concerned about my concerns and, in particular, that my concerns should coincide with his. This is our walk together. Out of it I pray.
Prayer as kingdom praying is an arrangement explicitly instituted by God in order that we as individuals may count, and count for much, as we learn step by step how to govern, to reign with him in his kingdom. To enter and to learn this reign is what gives the individual life its intended significance. This high calling also explains why prayer frequently requires much effort, continuous effort, and on some matters possibly years and years of effort. Prayer is, above all, a means of forming character. It combines freedom and power with service and love. What God gets out of our lives - and indeed, what we get out of our lives - is simply the person we become. It is God's intention that we should grow into the kind of person he could empower to do what we want to do. Then we are ready to 'reign for ever and ever' (Rev. 22:5).
"Brother Lawrence, who was a kitchen worker and cook, remarks, Our sanctification does not depend upon changing our works, but in doing that for God's sake which we commonly do for our own. . . It is a great delusion to think that the times of prayer ought to differ from other times. We are as strictly obliged to adhere to God by action in the time of action as by prayer in the season of prayer."
Nondiscipleship is the elephant in the church. It is not the many moral failures, financial abuses or amazing general similarity between Christian and non-Christians. These are only the effects of the underlying problem. The fundamental negative reality among Christians believers today, is the failure to be constantly learning how to live their lives in the kingdom among us. And it is an accepted reality. The divisions of professing Christians and to those for whom it is a matter of whole life devotion to God and those who maintain a consumer or client relationship to the church has now been an accepted reality for the last 1500 years.
Henri Nouwen well describes our common situation: “We simply go along with the many "musts" and "oughts" that have been handed on to us, and we live with them as if they were authentic translations of the Gospel of our Lord. People must be motivated to come to church, youth must be entertained, money must be raised, and above all everyone must be happy. Moreover, we ought to be on good terms with the church and civil authorities; we ought to be liked or at least respected by a fair majority of our parishioners; we ought to move up in the ranks according to schedule; and we ought to have enough vacation and salary to live a comfortable life.”
Do we now even have any idea of what discipleship evangelism, as we might call it, would look Ilke? What message would we preach that would naturally lead to a decision to become an apprentice to Jesus in The Kingdom Among Us? I hope we can now understand what it might be, having worked our way this far. I hope that our understanding of what it is really to trust Jesus Christ, the whole person, with our whole life, would make the call to become his whole-life apprentice the natural next step. That would be discipleship evangelism. And it would be very different from what is now done.
One of the greatest weaknesses in our teaching and leadership today is that we spend so much time trying to get people to do things good people are supposed to do, without changing what they really believe. It doesn't succeed very well, and that is the open secret of church life.
Very little of our being lies under the direction of our conscious minds, and very little of our actions runs from our thoughts and consciously chosen intentions. Our mind on its own is an extremely feeble instrument, whose power over life we constantly tend to exaggerate. We are incarnate beings in our very nature, and we live from our bodies. If we are to be transformed, the body must be transformed, and that is not accomplished by talking at it.more
It is fun to review in one quick read the entire political experience of 2007 and 2008, in the last moment before my memories of that election are erased by the coming 2011/2012 contest. The authors fill in lots of background information, and create a satisfying summary of the historical moment. I'm left however with one insight of sorts. The couple with the best marriage won.

Maybe America just voted for the only sane people in the pack - Barack and Michelle. This book recounts the astonishing dysfunction of the Edward's marriage (both of the partners equally pouring the crazy), and the unbelievable delusional thinking of John Edwards. To think that he had a chance at the nomination, or the vice presidency, or any office, is frightening, notwithstanding his sometimes superior policy proposals. The Clintons are revealed to be more dysfunctional than I had imagined them, although one does sometimes sense an underlying affection as well. Is that affection real or a well practiced political habit? It's very hard to read them, but whatever relationship they have worked out it would be hard to describe it as completely positive or parsable in everyday terms.

As for John McCain and Cindy, their marriage is revealed to be clearly a shell of an actual relationship - like the Clintons they seem to be largely a political corporation. The Palins, while explored in less depth, are also pretty obvious head cases, individually and as a unit, to say nothing of Sarah Palin's astonishing, mind numbing, blistering, gobsmacking ignorance. In all of these above relationships the rumors or realities of infidelities circulate.

In contrast to all the rest of them the Obamas come out seeming like fairly sane and emotionally whole people with an actual love relationship and friendship that might even have significance to them beyond their career as a political family. And, somehow America chose Obama, and somehow it rejected the other nutcases in their nutcase marriages. What that means, I do not know.more
As someone who very closely followed the 2008 Presidental election, & campaigned for one of the candidates, I was very interested in reading this book. I had been told that it was excellent, and I was not disappointed.

You learn about all the major players in the Presidential campaign, including John Edwards, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and of course, Sarah Palin. I was surprised by many things I read; for instance, John McCain was not very invested in his campaign for months, and there were a few times it almost ended. Sarah Palin became so morose and withdrawn during the campaign that McCain's people called in a psychiatrist to observe her mental state. Michelle Obama was completely opposed to Barack Obama running for president - and Cindy McCain didn't want John to run, either. John Edwards was extremely egotistical, and toward the end of his campaign, completely delusional, and his wife, Elizabeth, comes across completely differently than her public persona.

It's a juicy story, but one with plenty of political behind the scenes information, as well - the part in which the authors cover the financial meltdown is very interesting - and it reads like a novel. Anyone who has interest in politics, especially in the 2008 election, will be very entertained by this book.more
This book would be a good read for those who didn’t follow the campaign very closely at the time. For those of us who did, nothing new or earth-shattering was illuminated in here that we didn’t already know. However, the one thing that was new to me was the unflattering portrait of the late Elizabeth Edwards. With that being said, I could see picking this book up again after another five years, when my memories have faded, and being interested in the “story” that the authors are telling.more
THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE AUDIOBOOKThis is a book about the ins and outs of the 2008 campaign (you know … the one where a young upstart named Barack Obama beat out Hilary Clinton for the Democratic nomination and went on to defeat John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin). I’m not into politics AT ALL but I found this book utterly fascinating (which makes me wonder if I’m more interested in politics than I think or if it was just such an interesting campaign). I mistakenly thought it dealt more with Sarah Palin than it does (her part is only the last third of the book), but it didn’t matter—the battle between Obama and Clinton provided more than enough drama and intrigue. (And the whole John Edwards disaster was like watching a car accident in slow motion.) However, I did get the payoff I was looking for as the book provides a rather damning look into the selection of Palin and the realities of her candidacy. (If you didn’t guess by that last sentence, I’m not a big Palin fan.) Trust me … you don’t need to be a political junkie to enjoy this book. It was gripping from the start and, even though I knew how things turned out in the end, I was still on the edge of my seat as all the various aspects of the race unfolded. I listened to this book on audio, and Dennis Boutsikaris was the perfect choice of narrator. I’m hoping that the authors chronicled the 2012 campaign as I’d LOVE to read about it and find out the details and behind-the-scenes stuff that we don’t really get in regular news coverage. This will definitely be on my “best of the year” lists.more
Very accessible, fully detailed with most of the material on the record. Confirms many of my perceptions and impressions during the 2008 presidential campaign. I infer that Hillary Clinton lost in large measure due to her inability to manage her campaign organization. McCain's organization selected Palin five days before he announced her selection as VP running mate, principally with the intention of creating a monster impact in the media that would upstage the Democratic Convention's choice of Obama; McCain's agreement to pick Palin was a craven act of political manipulation, I hardly believe that he is proud of it.more
I had forgotten how crazy the 2007-2008 election period was. This book has it all. The most depressing part by far is Chapter 7, wherein we learn that John and Elizabeth Edwards were . . . pretty much . . . out of their minds. Meanwhile, the big story is that for the most part the campaigns are ill-managed and out-of-control. The candidates spend huge dollars, and they get infighting, waste, and grotesque internal politics.
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Though I should admit my liberal bias upfront, I found this book to be a fascinating account of the behind the scenes action of the 2008 Presidential campaign. A Clinton supporter myself, it was so interesting to see how her campaign literally imploded from within over ridiculous issues, such as her husband's lack of self control. It reads like a novel, with very engrossing characters and plot lines, to the point where I started fact checking things myself just to make sure I was actually reading a true account and not an exciting thriller! I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in that roller-coaster of an election year!more
The backstory: With the 2012 U.S. presidential election heating up, I decided it was finally time to read a (recent) historical account of the 2008 election--because I often like a little distance from my politics to keep my emotions in check. As one of my favorite lines in this book says: so well "Obama smirked and reprised for Axelrod another of his favorite sayings: “This shit would be really interesting if we weren’t in the middle of it.”"The basics: Game Change is a joint effort by John Heilemann, a political writer for New York magazine, and Mark Halperin, a political reporter for Time magazine. Both covered the 2008 election in depth at the time. In Game Change, they join forces, combine resources, and manage to interview hundreds of political operatives and campaign workers.My thoughts: I devoured John Heilemann's coverage of the 2008 election. Typically when my New York arrives, I flip right to the Approval Matrix on the last page and then do the crossword. About once a month I get around to reading the magazine itself. During that election, however, I immediately read his coverage. 2008 was a special election for many reasons. On the grander scale, both the Republican and Democratic primaries were wide open. There was no incumbent and the current vice president opted not to run. More personally, Mr. Nomadreader and I moved to Des Moines (for the first time) in the summer of 2007. We worked at a brewpub downtown and waited on numerous politicians running for president. We went to see many of the candidates early on at open forums with only a hundred people. It was intimate campaigning in a way I'd never seen, and it was infectious. Despite my intentions to keep an open mind and not pick a candidate too soon, I did. We were even pictured in campaign literature for one of the candidates before the January 2008 primary.All of this is to say: reading the first part of the book about the Iowa caucuses was fascinating. I was here; I lived it. Yet Heilemann and Halperin made it seem new. There's an art to writing about politics in the moment, and Heilemann proved he can do that during the election. It's a different art to write about politics in a historical context. I would argue it's perhaps most difficult to write about politics in a recent historical context. That Game Change reads like a smart pulp novel is a testament to both the writers and the wackiness of the 2008 presidential election. They grasped the eccentricities of Iowa politics beautifully: "Democrats in Iowa were decidedly liberal, with a peacenik streak." The Republicans tend to be social conservatives (as evidenced by the last two Iowa caucus winners: Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.) And then there are a lot of Iowans who are moderate swing voters. It's a fascinating political climate.After the action moved on from the Iowa caucuses, the book lagged only slightly before picking up steam again. The entire primary race riveted me in 2008, but I had a new perspective on the timeline. While I recalled all of the events well, I didn't recall their order as precisely or understand the pending ramifications.The general election was even more intriguing and mind-boggling. The Sarah Palin storyline actually was more shocking when reading it context. At the time, there seemed to be confusion, but with fours years distance, her ignorance is somehow even more shocking and terrifying:"Palin couldn’t explain why North and South Korea were separate nations. She didn’t know what the Fed did. Asked who attacked America on 9/11, she suggested several times that it was Saddam Hussein. Asked to identify the enemy that her son would be fighting in Iraq, she drew a blank. (Palin’s horrified advisers provided her with scripted replies, which she memorized.) Later, on the plane, Palin said to her team, “I wish I’d paid more attention to this stuff.”"While neither John Edwards nor Sarah Palin are painted in a particularly positive light, I think the portrayals of the political figures were just. Watching John Edwards break down slowly was even more fascinating because I knew the ending.I may have my preferences, but I grinned as much as I grimaced at the words and actions of the candidate for whom I voted.Favorite passage: The single most shocking passage in the entire book: "In the midst of the financial crisis, she said to a friend, “God wants him to win.”" -Hillary Clinton on Barack ObamaThe verdict: Game Change is a fascinating glimpse into American presidential politics. It's simultaneously inspiring, frustrating, and sleazy. I enjoyed the parts vivid in my memory as much as I did those I didn't know or had forgotten. In 2008, I couldn't help but think "that can't really true, can it?" In Game Change it's clear truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Recommended to political junkies and casual observers.more
I watched the HBO movie first, and found it fascinating. It made me definitely want to read the book, which was much more complete, since the movie focused only the the McCain-Palin campaign. It helped to give me at least a bit of perspective as to how Sarah Palin could ever have been tapped for the V.P. race, and watching the preparation necessary to prepare her for a national stage was fairly horrifying. Unlike another reviewer, I was not interested IN THIS BOOK in questions of policy or experience, since there are many other places to get that information. I found this a fascinating look at today's "backroom" strategy sessions and the role of the media in today's political scene. Scary, but fascinating. Highly recommended.more
Finished this over a (rather busy!) weekend. Compelling gossip. Well written character assasination of the most enjoyable sort...more
This was a book that I've been wanting to read ever since it came out. I must admit that I am not that into American politics, but I was particularly interested in the 2008 election because deep at heart, Mareena and I are enormous news junkies - current events are our lifeblood. We are definitely not political, but I loved the background gossip of the campaigns in this book.I'm not sure if I'll want to watch the movie when it comes out. I find that the book is immeasurably better than the movie most of the time. I give this book an A+!more
This is the perfect book for people interested in the human side of politics to read during this current primary season. It has just enough historical distance to lend perspective and some understanding about the dynamics of primaries in general, and helps explain why the present one is so into craziness. The writing is excellent, the research and sources impeccable. The reader can't help but gain some insight into the dynamics of what makes U.S. democracy, the whole voting process, work. I felt the authors were remarkably even-handed in their assessments and account. AND, the book is fun to read!more
Heilemann and Halperin have written a perfectly respectable book, and no one should be surprised at their success. A storyteller couldn’t ask for better material than this election, and they’ve definitely captured all of its drama and excitement. They’ve also done exhaustive research; Game Change is loaded with juicy details.Actually, it’s nothing *but* juicy details. This book is all horse-race, all the time. Policy is scarcely mentioned, and there are definitely times when the authors aim for entertainment rather than accuracy. I’m not saying they make things up, but I do think they emphasize and de-emphasize certain events and decisions for dramatic effect. I guess that’s understandable, though, because this is pretty light fare. What’s less understandable is the way in which H&H try to impose weirdly inapplicable narrative arcs upon the actual history. At the outset, for example, they characterize Obama and Clinton’s rivalry as “a love story,” and go on to say that it would remain a love story “all along.” At the end of the book, they observe that the two are “together at last.” Unfortunately, the story totally fails to justify this framework; during the campaign, their relationship is icy at best. I was also confused by H&H’s depictions of women. All of the ladies in this book, and I mean all of them, appear to be either unreasonable or downright crazy. I’m not sure why that is, but I have a hard time believing that it’s an accurate reflection of reality.Still, Game Change is a fun read — warts and all. The writing is breezy; the tone is chatty; the story is, once again, fantastic. If you need something for the beach, this will probably do nicely. If you’re looking to learn stuff, I imagine there are better options.more
In this breezy account of the 2008 presidential campaign, Time Magazine editor Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, correspondent and columnist for New York Magazine, offer a behind-the-scenes look at the campaigns of the main contenders. As expected in such books, they offer some candid details. While the book focuses on the Democratic primary, particularly the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the best "dirt" involves the troubled campaign of John McCain, especially the trials and tribulations of his running mate, Sarah Palin.Told in three sections, relating to the Democratic primary, the Republican primary, and the general election, respectively, the account attempts to be charitable to most of the participants, and it largely succeeds (no doubt, because many of the actors were sources for the book). Despite the obvious and heightened animosity created by the campaigns, Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, McCain and Biden appear as admirable politicians, despite their eccentricities. On the other hand, Palin is clearly out of her depth, bordering on imbalanced, while John Edwards seems mostly to be an overly ambitious lightweight with delusions of grandeur.To their credit, Halperin and Heilemann do not allow a myriad of uncovered details to overwhelm the basic storylines of the election. Instead, the details seem to flesh out narratives already detailed by political reporters during the campaign itself. For example, the looming arrival of Bill Clinton, whose personality threatened to overwhelm both the Clinton campaign and the Obama campaign at different times, hangs over the story. For months, Hillary's advisers sought to keep her out of his shadow, to the point where he was virtually ignored by the entire campaign. This avoidance also prevented the campaign from tapping into Bill Clinton's political knowledge and experience.In many ways, the story of each campaign in the primaries is one where disaster threatens to overwhelm and sink the campaign at any moment. While many reporters recognized that McCain's campaign floundered in the summer of 2007, few recognized how dysfunctional it was even after that near death experience. To slightly lesser extent, though, the Clinton campaign seemed plagued with similar problems: dueling personalities advising the campaign, with the resulting miscommunication and noncommunication between essential people. Halperin and Heilemann reveal that at key moments Obama, Clinton, and McCain each had to assert control over the direction of their campaigns, usually with almost immediate benefits. In desperation, Hillary regrouped after the Iowa caucuses and followed her own strategy in winning the New Hampshire primary. At the low point of his campaign following the media storm around previous comments by his minister, Obama instituted new internal communication patterns and gave his defining speech on race. Low on money, and no longer the front runner, McCain recaptured the aura of the underdog, at least through the competitive primaries.The character development of two key players almost seems like a fairytale. Sarah Palin appears less qualified in these pages then even during key moments in the campaign, such as the infamous Katie Couric interview. With radical mood swings, which some advisors uncharitably attributed to hormones, she vacillates between an eager – almost overeager – candidate gripping the horns and riding through the whirlwind and a depressed person whose separation from her family and overwhelming demands render her uncommunicative and virtually catatonic.On the other hand, Barack Obama seems more even keeled, and even wiser, then the "No Drama Obama" image presented by his campaign. Although he sometimes comes across as distant, he seems to always understand the stakes. At one point, this allows him to shake up his own advisers through the well-timed imitation of a colleague to address what he believed to be the shortcomings of their campaign. But in the end, particularly in the way he approached the financial market meltdown, Obama gained the grudging respect, if not appreciation, of both Hillary and Bill Clinton, which laid the foundation for Obama's surprising pick of Hillary Clinton to be his Secretary of State.On the whole, the book is an enjoyable and quick read, almost with the quality of a page turner. It is well researched, which is not surprising given the spectacular quality of Halperin's and Heilemann's sources, evident in their magazine reporting. At times, the narrative seems a bit thin, especially at points where the narrative jumps. And it might've been more interesting, though clearly more challenging to have merged the stories of both the Democratic and Republican primaries, but that is a mere quibble.more
I picked up this book a year after it came out and more than two years after the events it recounts, so I was worried it might already be dated. I was wrong.Even though the ending of this book is a foregone conclusion, and even though I followed the events of the 2008 election very closely, I still found this book incredibly compelling. Highly recommended.more
Too Big To Fail meets Primary Colors. Amusingly at the time commentators said this book debunked Ms Palin's woeful incompetence once and for all. Doesn't seem to have worked.more
Read this as I look ahead to 2012. A behind-the-scenes look at the candidates as they run for the presidency in 2008. On the one hand the book is gossipy, while on the other it’s a sophisticated look at history and politics. Based on numerous interviews of campaign insiders, the book reveals much about the candidates, exposing their strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. Some common perceptions of Obama, Biden, Clinton, McCain, Edwards, Romney, and Palin hold up to the coverage, while others do not.more
I loved this book! It was a real page-turner for political junkies. It was not analytic, but its descriptive nature made it highly readable. On the other hand, I don't think it will have much "shelf life" because of its lack of analysis. So, I'm glad I read it now.more
I listened to Game Change on an audio version of the book. Much more than half the book, perhaps even as much as 75%, is devoted to the Democrat race with Obama as the main character followed by Clinton and Edwards. It covers the plans, concerns, secret meetings and deals leading up to the candidate's run and eventual selection. There are no notes with the book so there is no back up proof provided about any of the comments. It could be hearsay and lots of gossip but it is what I expected it to be about, so I wasn't that disappointed. The dynamics of the couples and their advisors is interesting as well as the family and interpersonal relationships. The book does point out the grueling nature of the campaign which seemed to go on forever. The book is pretty negative about the Republicans as well as most of the Democrats excluding the Obamas. In the descriptions, the Obamas are not described as negatively as the others. The choice of words is softer. Obama's eyes fill up. Hillary cries. One presents a picture that is sympathetic, one presents a weak image. The couple's relationships as well are atrocious, except again for the Obamas. Their issues are glossed over. Dysfunctional marriages, however, seemed to be the order of the day. Maybe it is the nature of politics and power.The consensus of the reviews I read, like me, pretty much say that the Obamas come out the best in the book and, in fact, I thought they were treated more positively than any of the others but since he is the sitting President, I would expect that, out of respect for him and his family. Also, on the surface, from all the information presented, they do seem to have a loving marital and family relationship complete with mutual respect.It is an entertaining book or perhaps expose, but it does dwell on personalities and relationships more than anything else. It is what it is, a tell all book. If you are looking for substantive facts, this is not the book for you. Most of us know the information included but the personalities and little remarks surrounding the exposure of the troubled candidates seemed new.more
Entertaining look at inside the presidential race of 2008 and all of the players.more
In a stunningly detailed book, readers get an inside glimpse of the 2008 presidential campaign in Game Change. The politically savvy will enjoy the depths of the book, while those not politically savvy will learn something new. Short chapters and easy-to-read text make Game Change a must-read for those who witnessed the 2008 presidential campaign and Barack Obama's historical victory. more
I truly enjoyed this book. To have an insider's view of the election was wonderful - I'm a news junkie at heart, this book filled that role. The section that was the most interesting was on Sarah Palin. It was clear from the very beginning of the campaign that the woman doesn't have the brains God gave a rock. This section of the book confirms that belief.more
A well- written, meticulously researched account of the 2008 presidential election. Packed with plenty of gossip and intrigue to keep you turning the pages!more
Excellent insider account of the campaign, well written and well documented.more
A rehash of the 2008 presidential election, this book offers no new revelations. The biggest impression on me was confirmation that our national politicians are all gutter mouths. The authors suggest that they had the inside connections to conduct hundreds of interviews to be able to reconstruct thoughts and actual verbiage of conversations of the candidates, yet they don't document a single insider's quote and cite very few specific sources. Only the publicly made comments while on the campaign trail are verifiable. A student of the election will find nothing new in this book. A casual observer may find it helpful in piecing together the full sequence of events in 2008 and gain deeper understanding of presidetial politics.more
I don't understand why the British edition changed to this lame and inaccurate title. Maybe it's revenge on the US for renaming J K Rowling's first book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.The authors say in their introduction that they set out to give 'an intimate portrait of the candidates and spouses who (in our judgement) stood a reasonable chance of occupying the White House' after the 2008 election. They conducted more than 300 interviews with more than 200 people between July 2008 and September 2009, while memories of the election campaign were still fresh, and produced a book bristling with direct quotes from behind the scenes. I wouldn't describe much of it as intimate in any real sense, but it's got a kind of gossipy fascination. The Obamas, the McCains, the Edwardses and especially the Clintons are all big characters, and all have marriages that have had to withstand unbelievable strain. Todd Palin gets mentioned quite a bit, but doesn't become a character in his own right, and not a lot of ink is spent on Sarah Palin herself – though what there is of her is even more bizarre than the press suggested at the time.I don't know that the book does much to deepen the reader's understanding of the US political system in general or the 2007–8 election campaign in particular. The main take-home message seems to be that you don't have to be some kind of sociopath to run for President or Vice-President of the United States, but it helps. Miraculously, Barack Obama doesn't seem to be one. One does weep for US-style democracy, at least as seen through the lens of political journalism. I found myself empathising with the widespread fear of democracy in mid nineteenth century Australia, expressed in 1853 by John Plunkett, Attorney General of the colony of New South Wales: All serious convulsions are carried out by demagogues; as a boiling cauldron throws its scum to the top, so in all social convulsions unworthy persons will be sure to get to the top, and betray the people for their own selfish purposes. The people left to themselves, and uncontrolled, will be hurled on to ruin by the ruffians who make them their dupes. (Quoted in Peter Cochrane, Colonial Ambition, MUP 2006, p 379)Not that ruffians and demagogues prevailed in 2008, but one gets the impression that without ruffianly behaviour and demagoguery, and certainly not without being able to deal with lashings of both, no one could ever become POTUS.I do feel an itch to read an account as candid and thorough, and occasionally lurid, as this about an Australian election.more
If you are a political junkie, you are going to love this wild ride.If you are DemocratIC political junkie, it's like a day an a half pleasure trip through the highs and lows of campaign 2008. Backrooms, ads, stump speeches, conventions, oh the joy goes on and on. You're gonna love it. I sure did. I'm not saying it's an important book, but it's great political candy and what, after all, is quite so sweet?more
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