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Posts Tagged ‘Game Change’

The Winter Olympics come along every four years, just like presidential elections. Both can be great spectator sports, although the Olympics have a higher tone of civility and a lot less mud-slinging, providing it quits raining in Vancouver.

But you know what I mean. Bipartisanship has made Washington politics so downright ugly of late that even cable news junkies — and I’m one — are tuning out.  All this trash talking leaves me cold. Really, I’d rather watch skating and skiing and hockey. (I do hope all the athletes have good health insurance).

So, I wasn’t planning on reading Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime (Harper) by veteran journalists John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. I followed it all then — and now — and figured I’d heard or seen everything of interest, and I’m not into poli-porn. But several friends said I was short-changing Game Change, and they thought  I’d like it because — here’s the bait — it reads like a novel!

They were right. With its larger-than-life characters and dramatic who-woulda-thunk-it scenarios, the book is entertaining and edifying. The authors’ sources may be anonymous, but they sure appear to have the inside scoop. Then there’s the writing. Early on, the authors introduce Obama advisor David Axelrod:

“In the trade, Axelrod was known for being interested less in policy than in softer qualties of character and biography. His central gift was a grasp of the power of narrative — his ability to weave his candidate’s beliefs and background into an emotionally compelling bundle.”

Heilemann and Halperin understand the power of narrative. Good story, guys.

Listen Up, Mr. President (Simon & Schuster) by legendary White House journalist Helen Thomas and my friend and Listen Up, Mr. Presidentformer colleague Craig Crawford is a different kind of political book but entertaining and informative as well. It weaves anecdotes and observations into a sort of how-to book on the presidency, as it subtitle suggests: Everything You Always Wanted Your President to Know and Do.

Thomas and Crawford are in Central Florida this week to “interview” one another as they promote their book. Another friend and former colleague, Joy Wallace Dickinson, has all the details in her Sunday story in the Orlando Sentinel, plus the fascinating tale of a young Craig meeting a president in Orlando.  You can read in full at http://tinyurl.com/ylmy7ls.

Open Book: I bought my copies of both books.

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