“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 improbably 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 reports, use their unrivaled access to pull back the curtain on the Obama, Clinton, McCain and Palin campaigns. 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.”
This took me months to get through but I found it fascinating. As someone who follows US politics, but not in a huge amount of detail, it gave me a huge insight into not only the 2008 presidential election but also how the whole US political system works. Despite being pretty dense, it’s very readable and accessible to people with only a smattering of political knowledge. Heilemann and Halperin are clearly big fans of Obama as he is portayed extremely positively, but it felt as though the key figures were all represented relatively fairly, from my somewhat ignorant perspective. All in all, an interesting and enjoyable read that taught me a lot.
First Line: “Barack Obama jerked bolt upright in bed at three o’clock in the morning.”
Why I read it: I was vaguely aware of the book and then came across it in a hostel I was staying at in Reykjavik where I read it.
Who I would recommend it to: Anyone with an interest in politics – it’s a great introduction for people who don’t know a great deal about the US system and an interesting new way of writing political history for those who already know the facts.