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Double Down: Game Change 2012 Hardcover – November 5, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (November 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594204403
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204401
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (639 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Oh, political junkies, it’s time to feast on the red-and-blue deliciousness that was the 2012 election. As they did in their book about the previous presidential joust, Game Change (2010), the well-connected authors have worked their sources thoroughly to give readers a warts-and-all look at what went on behind the scenes. Fellow Mormons Jon Hunstman and Mitt Romney did not care for each other (Mrs. Huntsman felt Romney was part of the “Morman Mafia”); Chris Christie endorsed Romney but, behind his back, mocked the candidate’s Fred McMurray persona; and, on the Democratic side, nobody, except the Obamas, liked Valerie Jarrett, who was nicknamed The Night Stalker for her after-hour visits to the First Family. But this is more than tittle-tattle. Halperin and Heilemann give readers a real sense of why things shaped up the way the did, why events fell one way or the other, and who got clobbered as a result. While the book focuses on the election, it also delves into decisions being made at the White House that affected outcomes. This one is more clearly sourced than the previous book, and one incident in particular gives a hint as to how connected the authors were: In an early scene, the president is meeting dozens of advisors about the upcoming election, despite the fact he had been warned that talking with such a large group would lead to leaks. Obama, however, told everyone in the room he trusted them and proceeded to list his regrets about his first term. Six weeks later, he was informed that his list had leaked to two reporters writing a book on the 2012 election—Halperin and Heilemann. --Ilene Cooper

Review

Praise for Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's Double Down

Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times:
"Those hungry for political news will read Double Down for the scooplets and insidery glimpses it serves up about the two campaigns, and the clues it offers about the positioning already going on among Republicans and Democrats for 2016 ... The book testifies to its authors’ energetic legwork and insider access ... creating a novelistic narrative that provides a you-are-there immediacy ... They succeed in taking readers interested in the backstabbing and backstage maneuvering of the 2012 campaign behind the curtains, providing a tactile ... sense of what it looked like from the inside."

Michael Kinsley, The New York Times Book Review:
“Chock-full of anecdotes, secret meetings, indiscreet remarks ... No one can compete [with Halperin and Heilemann]. That’s what it means to own the franchise. It’s a small club: these two guys and Bob Woodward. And with this book, they’ve earned their admission.”

The Economist:
“Sharp insights buttressed by startling indiscretions fill Double Down, a new account of Barack Obama’s win over his 2012 Republican rival, Mitt Romney. This gripping book—a sequel to Game Change, a bestseller about Mr. Obama’s 2008 path to the White House—cements the status of the authors as unrivalled chroniclers of campaign politics.”

People Magazine:
"Compulsively readable follow-up to Game Change...A chronicle of the freak show that was the 2012 presidential election, the book illustrates how profoundly personality shapes history....Double Down amply demonstrates how our 44th President earned every one of those brand-new gray hairs."

USA Today:
“Many juicy disclosures ... [a] near-flawless narrative.”

Jeff Labrecque, Entertainment Weekly:
“Journalists Halperin and Heilemann don’t lack for access, delivering another down-and-dirty account of an election that plays out like high-stakes high school cafeteria politics…. Double Down looks less like a sequel to 2008 than a tantalizing prequel to 2016. I’m all-in.”

Peter Hamby, The Washington Post:
“Page-turning…. translat[es] insider politics for mass-market readers with behind-the-scenes reporting and Gonzo flair."

Kirkus Reviews:
“A highly entertaining, dishy read, full of astonishing revelations about the strengths and, most intriguingly, the foibles of the nation’s political stars and egos… Like crack for political junkies.”

Booklist:
"Oh, political junkies, it’s time to feast on the red-and-blue deliciousness that was the 2012 election. As they did in their book about the previous presidential joust, Game Change (2010), the well-connected authors have worked their sources thoroughly to give readers a warts-and-all look at what went on behind the scenes. … Halperin and Heilemann give readers a real sense of why things shaped up the way they did, why events fell one way or the other, and who got clobbered as a result."

Bloomberg/Businessweek:
Double Down succeeds by sticking to its story and having the main characters—Obama, Romney, Joe Biden and their key aides—reveal themselves through their actions. The result is a much more coherent experience of the campaign than readers could get by living through the contemporaneous news coverage. By letting the story do the work, the authors show us a lot.”

Associated Press:
“Sharp writing and intriguing behind-the-scenes nuggets that are sure to get tongues wagging."

Boston Globe:
“Their in-depth look at the chaotic GOP primary also sheds light on the emerging schism between establishment Republicans and the Tea Party movement, which bubbled to the surface during the recent government shutdown. These insider insights help to breathe new life into old news, and make Double Down a must read for political junkies.”

Sean Hannity:
“[Halperin and Heilemann] are without question two of politics ultimate insiders…Their first book about the 2008 election, Game Change, took the world of Washington by storm.  Well they’ve done it again. Their brand new book Double Down is stirring up just as much controversy.”

Ezra Klein, The Washington Post:
“Double Down... is a joyous romp through the seedy underbelly of presidential campaigning....It’s also a marvel of reporting. Any time three staff members met in a room to badmouth a colleague or a candidate admitted to a moment of stress or self-doubt, ... John Heilemann and Mark Halperin appear to have been sitting in the corner, scribbling notes."

Joe Scarborough, MSNBC/Morning Joe:
“Done it before, and have done it again.”
 
Charlie Rose:
“In many ways, an insight into America.”

Chris Matthews, MSNBC/Hardball:
“Great new book…. Great reportage.”

Barbara Walters, ABC-TV/The View:
“Authors of the bestselling book turned Emmy-winning HBO movie Game Change are telling all in their latest book ... It is terrific.”

Mark Levin:
“This is a great read.”

Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC’s The Last Word:
"I love this book.”

Anderson Cooper, AC360:
“Really fascinating details.”
  
Andrew Ross Sorkin, CNBC's Squawk Box:
“Buzz book of the moment.”

Dylan Byers, Politico:
“In an era when the most minute details of a presidential campaign are chronicled in endless tweets and seemingly instant eBooks they have published an old-fashioned print product filled with new revelations.”

Howard Kurtz, Fox News:
“You’d think there were no revelations left from the 2012 campaign, but Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, the Game Change duo, strike again in their new book.”

Business Insider:
“Fascinating new insights.”

Geraldo Rivera:
"Sizzling... They've done it again."

Willie Geist, MSNBC/Morning Joe:
“Huge.”

Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Halperin and Heilemann present another handsomely crafted nonfiction political thriller, never devoid of shocking disclosures….the scenes they construct are generally insightful and entertaining. These two accomplished journalists are adept at capturing the clash of personalities in contemporary American politics, and they have an uncanny ability to get scoops other reporters don't.”

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Customer Reviews

Good, well written book giving great insight at the internal workings (misdeeds!)
T. Lupfer
The first book was a real page turner from beginning to end, and read like a work of scandalous fiction.
Bjonsmom
Enjoyed this book very much and the behind the scenes aspects of the 2012 Presidential election.
E. Jacobs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

186 of 211 people found the following review helpful By Alan F. Sewell on November 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a comprehensive and surprisingly unbiased account of the 2012 campaign and the backstories behind the candidates who took part in it. The book is in three parts, each of which is comprehensive enough to be a stand-alone book in its own right.

The first "book" (Part I) is the backstory of Obama's Presidency from 2008 to 2012. This was my least favorite part because it was clinically written without much emotion or new insights. Authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann describes Obama as a moderate, pragmatic sort of person who has as little use for the self-serving Black Civil Rights establishment as he does for the Conservative Tea Party activists. According to Halperin (a Conservative) and Heilemann, Obama may come across at times as a petulant professor, but he's hardly the extreme Liberal-verging-on-Marxist maniac that has taken root in popular Conservative folklore.

Halperin and Heilemann give a fair account of Obama's political battles with the Republican House of Representatives over healthcare reform, banking bailouts, and federal budgets. But a politically savvy reader will already be familiar with this material. I'd suggest skimming this part or skipping it altogether and getting started with the second part, which makes the book a worthwhile read.

The second part --- describing the Republican primary candidates' machinations to win the nomination --- has all the drama and excitement you'd expect in a political book

It starts out with a fair-minded account of Mitt Romney's career. Nothing new here, because Mitt has been around long enough for most of us to know his story. He's one of those incorruptible personalities whose scandal-free life seems dull by its very absence of misconduct.
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful By William Springer on November 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In early October 2012, things seemed to be going very well indeed for Mitt Romney. He faced an unpopular incumbent presiding over a still-lethargic economy. He had access to a staggering amount of money (both sides spent over a billion dollars, with Romney's spending surpassing that of the president), although he had limited control over the significant fraction of it that passed through the Romney-aligned Super PACs. Finally, he was in complete control of the first debate, coming out of Denver as the clear winner. Yet a few weeks later, he would lose the election by millions of votes, with the president claiming over 60% of the electoral college.

There have already been a number of books written about the 2012 election, and will no doubt be many more, but Double Down has been hotly anticipated as a sequel to 2010′s Game Change. As in Game Change, the authors appear to have been granted extensive access to hundreds of people involved in the campaigns; they credit over 500 interviews (all, naturally, on deep background). But does the book live up to the hype?

For the most part, the writing is very good and kept me turning pages. The authors do have an annoying tendency to never use a common word where an obscure word will do, which detracts from the readability; I consider myself to have a pretty good vocabulary, but I found myself pulling out my phone more than once to look up yet another obscure adjective. Otherwise, the book flows fairly well. The first section, by far the shortest, covers the Obama administration in the lead-up to the election season. I got the sense that the authors felt they had already covered Obama sufficiently in Game Change and now wanted to concentrate on the republicans.

Section two covers the republican primary season.
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55 of 62 people found the following review helpful By The Ginger Man VINE VOICE on November 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A half century ago, Theodore White wrote The Making of the President 1960 and, in so doing, changed the way in which we view political campaigns. Double Down follows the tradition of covering an election season as a contest in which tactics are far more interesting and prominent than are policies or moral choices. To the authors, "the 2012 election had the feel of a big casino, as the players took on the complexion of compulsive gamblers, pushing more and more chips into the center of the table." As with the previous book by these authors (Game Change), the very title refers to the campaign as a race rather than as the process of choosing a leader.

In Game Change, the authors delivered an entirely new characterization of Sarah Palin based on interviews with Republican strategist Steven Schmidt. Double Down does not bring as much new information to the table but it does present an almost seamless, inside look at the 2012 election from primaries through victory speech. The book is especially strong in its ability to show how the individual strengths and character flaws of each candidate inevitably stamp themselves upon the campaign. The authors also give due consideration to the changing role of money in the election as a result of Citizens United and the ever increasing impact of experts in each party on campaign planning and execution.

The book is more cursory in its analysis of policy differences between the candidates. The 2012 election became, in many ways, a referendum on Obama's performance and passage of the Affordable Health Care Act. This represented a complicated hurdle for Mitt Romney since the Act was based on a Heritage Foundation idea which Romney had championed in Massachusetts.
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