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Renegade: The Making of a President [Kindle Edition]

Richard Wolffe
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Before the White House and Air Force One, before the TV ads and the enormous rallies, there was the real Barack Obama: a man wrestling with the momentous decision to run for the presidency, feeling torn about leaving behind a young family, and figuring out how to win the biggest prize in politics.

This book is the previously untold and epic story of how a political newcomer with no money and an alien name grew into the world’s most powerful leader. But it is also a uniquely intimate portrait of the person behind the iconic posters and the Secret Service code name Renegade.

Drawing on a dozen unplugged interviews with the candidate and president, as well as twenty-one months covering his campaign as it traveled from coast to coast, Richard Wolffe answers the simple yet enduring question about Barack Obama: Who is he?

Based on Wolffe’s unprecedented access to Obama, Renegade reveals the making of a president, both on the campaign trail and before he ran for high office. It explains how the politician who emerged in an extraordinary election learned the personal and political skills to succeed during his youth and early career. With cool self-discipline, calculated risk taking, and simple storytelling, Obama developed the strategies he would need to survive the onslaught of the Clintons and John McCain, and build a multimillion-dollar machine to win a historic contest.

In Renegade, Richard Wolffe shares with us his front-row seat at Obama’s announcement to run for president on a frigid day in Springfield, and his victory speech on a warm night in Chicago. We fly on the candidate’s plane and ride in his bus on an odyssey across a country in crisis; stand next to him at a bar on the night he secures the nomination; and are backstage as he delivers his convention speech to a stadium crowd and a transfixed national audience. From a teacher’s office in Iowa to the Oval Office in Washington, we see and hear Barack Obama with an immediacy and honesty never witnessed before.

Renegade provides not only an account of Obama’s triumphs, but also examines his many personal and political trials. We see Obama wrestling with race and politics, as well as his former pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright. We see him struggling with life as a presidential candidate, a campaign that falters for most of its first year, and his reaction to a surprise defeat in the New Hampshire primary. And we see him relying on his personal experience, as well as meticulous polling, to pass the presidential test in foreign and economic affairs.

Renegade is an essential guide to understanding President Barack Obama and his trusted inner circle of aides and friends. It is also a riveting and enlightening first draft of history and political psychology.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews


“The first of the President Obama books–and a good one–insightful, thorough, and straight.”
—Ben Bradlee, Washington Post

“If you really want to know what happened inside the Obama campaign, this is the one book that will take you there. My jaw dropped time and time again reading details that, despite the coverage, were never revealed in the long campaign. A clear-eyed, up-close look at the campaign, Renegade is the one Obama book that should not be missed.”
—Michele Norris, All Things Considered

“A superb achievement. With an almost painterly eye, compelling insights, and extraordinary access to Barack Obama and his inner circle, Richard Wolffe’s Renegade tells the hidden, dramatic story of the 2008 campaign and also reveals much we did not know about the 44th president’s life before politics. Wolffe’s brisk, well-written narrative is fully in the tradition of Theodore White and Richard Ben Cramer, capturing a pivotal presidential contest dominated by one of the most luminous figures in modern American history.”
—Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage

“Many journalists covered the 2008 presidential campaign for newsrooms and blogvilles. Not the intrepid Richard Wolffe. With gumshoe persistence he tracked Barack Obama’s historic march to victory with grace and cunning. Renegade offers a deft mix of biography, personal reflection, British wit, and old-style journalism. Destined to be a classic in its genre.”
—Douglas Brinkley, professor of history, Rice University

“Politics is a lot like basketball–complete with drives up the middle, clutch rebounding, and smart head fakes. In Renegade, Richard Wolffe takes us inside the game through unparalleled access to candidate-turned-president Obama and through his own canny eye and wit. I learned something new on practically ev...

About the Author

RICHARD WOLFFE is an award-winning journalist and political analyst for MSNBC television, appearing frequently on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and Hardball. He covered the entire length of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign for Newsweek magazine. Before Newsweek, Wolffe was a senior journalist at the Financial Times, serving as its deputy bureau chief and U.S. diplomatic correspondent. He lives with his wife and their three children in Washington, D.C.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1137 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (June 2, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002BAPL38
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #526,805 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 88 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wolffe wrote this book at the suggestion of then candidate Obama (a story he outlines in the appendix) and was given some pretty good access to the main players during the campaign. Despite his access, it is still a (well written) outsider's view of the Obama 2008 campaign - you are not going to find Obama or his staff overtly trashing people - they knew when they were talking to Wolffe he might eventually write a book about it. (my favorite little nugget from the book - that Obama loved <a href="[...]">this picture</a>)

If you followed the Obama campaign with any depth, many of the "insider tales" discussed were either covered in the press or blogosphere, but for the casual person, Wolffe's description of the Obama campaign will be a revealing account of some of the behind the scenes motivations and decisions the Obama campaign made.

However, the book is BADLY EDITED. It starts on election night, then jumps back and forth through time. Many of the chapters are way way too long and could have easily been broken into several chapters. Moreover, Wolffe over-relies on passages from Obama's books to fill in Obama's personal history rather than telling Obama's story in a new way.

The biggest problem I had with the book is that the chronology of the Democratic Primary is very loose - one minute Wolffe is discussing the Nevada Caucus and the next he's talking about Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania with nary a mention that Obama ran off a consecutive win streak of 11 primaries and caucuses after Super Tuesday. What gets lost in the telling is the fact that Clinton had mathematically lost the nomination, arguably after Obama's win streak and definitely after Texas, and there is little discussion of David Plouffe's delegate strategy.
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130 of 156 people found the following review helpful
Written with a reporter's keen eye for observation, a commentator's penchant for analysis, and the affinity and fondness for humor of an anchorman of late night shows, "Renegade: The Making of a President", a biographical book on President Obama, is a joy to read. Even though this book is based mostly on information gathered by the author during Mr. Obama's campaign for President, it reads like a biography of President Obama because the author has chosen to include a lot of biographical information also.

Interspersed with humor and witty comments throughout the book, the book is a joy to read. For example, when Obama decides to offer the job of Secretary of State to Mrs. Clinton, one of Obama's senior aids says: "There was a lot of encouragement from inside the Senate to get her into this job. They wanted her out of there."

Unlike several of his former colleagues in the senate, Obama holds no grudges and he tends to forgive people: "His staff opposed the idea for the most part, arguing that Clinton would never be truly loyal. But Obama was willing to leave the primaries behind, including his own strong feelings at the time. "I don't hold grudges," he told his aides. "I don't worry about the past. I'm concerned about what happens now. If she can help me and Bill Clinton isn't too much of a liability, we should seriously look at this."

The word "Renegade" refers to the code word the Secret service used for candidate Obama. I have no doubt that the code has now been changed. Those who have read President Obama's two autobiographical books, "Dreams from my Father" and "The audacity of Hope" will get a deeper insight into the President's life, beliefs, philosophy and character. How his work as a community organizer has influenced his thoughts, ideals and beliefs is explained here very lucidly.

"Renegade: The Making of a President" is a complex, marvelously written, deep, humorous and thought-provoking book.
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Twist at the End June 29, 2009
By K. Wray
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Normally, I wouldn't confess my political leanings in a review but it seems fair in this context. I was/am an unlikely Obama supporter -- one of those independents/left wing Republicans described in this book. After intensively studying the issues for a couple of hours I decided to vote for Obama early on because I looked around and noted that What We Were Doing Wasn't Working -- a phrase that I found effectively ended most political arguments.

The good news is that my parents are still speaking to me, although they are careful not to let it get out to their friends.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book until the end when I felt it got, for want of a better term, "mushy". Obama was portrayed exactly as I perceived him -- decisive, ethical, brilliant and most of all steady. In the final chapters, all of the sudden it felt like the author decided to give the President wiggle room on his positions under the heading of "pragmatism." I have had numerous discussions over the last year with relatives -- mostly older-- who characterize the President as a Marxist or a socialist, to which I have always replied "Oh, I hope you are wrong."

I had the same reaction at the end of this book -- I so hope Mr. Wolffe's characterization of President Obama as a slightly different man than the candidate is just wrong. Too many of us have invested too much hope in the President's commitment to change the tone of politics -- dashing those hopes would arguably be as destructive to this country as the absurdity of Iraq.

Overall, a well written book that deserves to be read very carefully.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wolfe seems to understand the way the President thinks and ...
Wolfe seems to understand the way the President thinks and works in a way that few have done before.
Published 9 days ago by laurence evans
4.0 out of 5 stars “His personal challenge was to be Renegade in more than just his...
On March 18, 2008, presidential candidate Barak H. Obama spoke to the American people from Philadelphia. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jana L. Perskie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, very enlightening
I voted for Obama twice but I really didn't get to know him until I read this book. I think that everyone who is thinking of running for president plus everyone who is thinking of... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Richard Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars terrific
Delivered on time at good price - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Published 23 months ago by Blford
5.0 out of 5 stars This was inspiring and revealing.
Richard took us all on an historical ride, the 2008 campaign that changed political campaigns forever. Ground games are what win elections as Wolffe demonstrated.
Published on January 21, 2013 by Pinot
4.0 out of 5 stars A Pragmatic Renegade
Reading Richard Wolffe's Renegade in the context of the last four years, instead of less than a year after Barack Obama's 2008 victory, helps one realize how pragmatic the then... Read more
Published on January 8, 2013 by Matthew Ries
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
A fascinating recounting of the beginning of the Obama campaign/his decision to run, and the organization of his campaign. Read more
Published on August 10, 2012 by E. Clark
4.0 out of 5 stars Obama as a New Yorker?
Based on "exclusive interviews with Barack Obama," according to the coverjacket. A journalist who appears frequently on MSNBC, Wolffe was in the campaign van throughout the 2008... Read more
Published on October 19, 2011 by Michael Haas
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Description of Rise to America's Highest Office
As an avid reader, I found this description hard to put down until the end. Though I have come to be disappointed by the inability of President Obama to achieve many of the things... Read more
Published on July 8, 2011 by PMTJazzLover
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a progressive
This is a waste of time. I would use the paper copy for my dog to crap on......Obama is a lying
Published on June 16, 2011 by E. Dubay
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More About the Author

Richard Wolffe is an award-winning journalist and political analyst for MSNBC television. He covered the entire length of Barack Obama's presidential campaign for Newsweek magazine, traveling with the candidate and his inner circle from his announcement through election day, 21 months later.

His book about the Obama campaign, Renegade: The Making of a President, was published by Crown in June 2009 in the United States, and became an instant New York Times bestseller. It was published by Virgin Books in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa; Carrera in the Netherlands; and Law Press in China.

His new book is Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House, to be published by Crown in November 2010.

Wolffe appears frequently on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann and Hardball with Chris Matthews. On NBC, he has featured as a political commentator on Meet The Press and TODAY.

Prior to his exclusive contract with NBC, he previously appeared on CNN and Fox News, as well as international media including British, Canadian and Australian television.

He is featured prominently in the HBO documentary on the Obama campaign, By the People, and played a leading role in the HBO documentary of the 2000 Bush campaign, Journeys with George.

Wolffe began writing about American politics as a senior journalist at the Financial Times, serving as its deputy bureau chief and U.S. diplomatic correspondent in Washington D.C. In that capacity, he managed coverage of business and political affairs in the nation's capital, and reported on U.S. foreign policy at the State Department and National Security Council.

He first started reporting on George W. Bush and his Texas team in 1999, at the start of the presidential campaign. He travelled with then-Governor Bush for more than a year, through the extraordinary election of 2000.

He joined Newsweek magazine in November 2002 as diplomatic correspondent, covering foreign policy and international affairs. In the 2004 presidential election, he covered the chaotic Howard Dean campaign before switching to John Kerry's campaign.

As Newsweek's senior White House correspondent, his cover stories included What He Believes (on Obama's faith), Black & White (about Obama and racial politics), Bush In The Bubble (about the president after Hurricane Katrina), and Weight of the World (the behind-the-scenes story of how Bush handled the Lebanon war).

Wolffe is the co-author of The Victim's Fortune (HarperCollins, 2002), which reveals the behind-the-scenes deals that led to billions of dollars in compensation to the Nazis' victims in the late 1990s. His reporting for the book covered major European companies such as Deutsche Bank, Daimler and Société Générale. It also encompassed government officials across Europe and the United States, and several high-profile class action lawyers.

His next book was in an entirely different field: he is the co-author of a Spanish cookbook, Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America, published in 2005 by Clarkson Potter in the United States and Planeta in Spain. He co-wrote a follow-up book Made in Spain, published by Clarkson Potter in 2008, and wrote a 26-part TV show of the same name for PBS television. He has also written for food magazines such as Food Arts and Food and Wine.

Born in Birmingham, England, Wolffe graduated from Oxford University with first-class honors in English and French. He lives with his wife and their three children in Washington, D.C.

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Kindle pricing -- more bait and switch
At $14.30 for Renegade, I'll wait for the paperback edition. After paying $359 for a Kindle, e-books should be moderately priced. Shame on Amazon for overcharging its customers.
Jun 2, 2009 by Cynthia |  See all 27 posts
Time To Delete 1-Star Reviews Re: Kindle Pricing
Amazon, please delete reviews which do not review the book!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jun 9, 2009 by mom |  See all 13 posts
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