26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2010
Most Dickens fans defend his stereotypical characters with the argument that the characters are not meant to be taken at face value. But the author John Irving, a Dickens expert, says that people really are like Dickens characters, and we just don't want to admit it. This nonfiction book proves Irving's point.
(I am also reminded of the strange pathologies of the characters in the wonderful novels of Barbara Vine. Someone's going to get hurt...)
The author himself is a character in this weird, wonderful, novel-like story. WTF?? There really are people like that out there? I guess so! This one wrote a book!
Andrew Young carried the Edwards family's loads for many years. Everything that ever went wrong was Young's fault and he just stood it. I just hope the money was excellent. He constantly patched Edwards through to Hunter or took charge of the "Batphone," as they called Edwards's secret cell. He kept relocating his own family, disrupting his kids' education, to hide Rielle. He reveals why Edwards needed those $400 haircuts.
Rielle Hunter had to consult her $200-a-call spritual adviser about a Reuben sandwich. That's one sandwich. She spilled coffee on a porous floor and just made more coffee and left the mess there. She had to inspect hotel room after hotel room after hotel room to get one with the right atmosphere. She named her baby (Frances) Quinn because "Quinn" suggests "five" and the baby was Edwards' fifth child. She was furious every time the candidate said something nice about his wife. There are these and many other anecdotes besides all the stuff you already know.
A very old, very kind lady GAVE Edwards $6 million and never asked anything in return but that he attend her daughter's funeral. He didn't. (And this was after his campaign had already tanked.) Edwards continued to juggle wife and mistress right through Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina. He maintained that his presidential quest was more important than such petty things. As Jay Gatsby might say, "In any case, it was just personal." Edwards actually thought he was going to get away with this behavior.
Elizabeth Edwards pointedly told Young that he was not a member of the family. (Quite true. He was more like the dog.) Elizabeth hacked into her nanny's email account and pretended to be the nanny asking if Rielle had had "Andrew's" baby yet, trying to flush out evidence of her delusion that John was not the father. She called her husband obsessively and demanded that Young reveal every detail of every woman Edwards spoke to.
Whoever actually ghostwrote the book has a sly talent for understatement. The reader's jaw drops. The book is worth every cent. If this were fiction, it would end in a murder. The real ending is still developing.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2010
All of my previous opinions about John Edwards were completely blown out of the water by this book...of course I knew he had cheated on his wife, and ultimately we all found out that, though he initially denied it, the child was his. But I always thought he was a "nice guy". Always thought that he had "fallen" into an affair for one reason or another. However, upon reading this book, I find that his carefully crafted public persona was NOTHING like the private man. The extent that he self-promotes himself to the detriment of those around him is apalling. And Elizabeth, it seems, was even worse! Power hungry, and possibly White-House bound, it seems those two would stop at nothing to climb to the top...The book had to be written by this author to set his OWN life straight!! I would've done the same thing after hitching my wagon to the Edwards' for over 10 years....and being lied to, betrayed and misled like he was by Edwards and his wife...READ IT! You won't doubt Andrew Young again...
44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2010
I read this book over the weekend and I just could not put it down. To think that John Edwards was running for president while he was covering up his despicable behavior is mind blowing. He deceived the country and that is why it was important for me to read this book. I have mixed feelings regarding Elizabeth Edwards as she should not come out of this smelling like a rose. Her desire to be first Lady and see her husband as President drove her to participate in the coverup. Even though she knew her husband was having an affair she still stood in front of the American people and lied through her teeth. I have the utmost compassion for the terrible illness that she has been stricken with, however, that does not give her a free pass to deceive the american people.
Andrew Young was treated like a water boy by the Edwards family. They put themselves on pedestals and used people to get ahead. Andrew Young is responsible for the choices that he made and obviously had some sort of obsession with the Edwards. Did he and his wife really think that John Edwards was going to get away with everything? How ignorant could they be? Young pretty much got what he deserved as he allowed them to treat him that way. In any event, I am still glad that he wrote the book and came clean with the American People. We deserved to know the truth as this was a man who was campaigning to be President of the United States.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2010
This is a page-turner and frankly, I believe every word of it. It is my opinion that the author, Andrew Young and his family cannot possibly move forward with a productive life without publishing the truth - for all of us who followed the "media version" of Edwards' political climb. Obviously, there was no price tag on John & Elizabeth Edwards' efforts to protect their image. It is so sad now - they both were delusional - they both deceived themselves and blamed everyone else. I read Elizabeth's book "Resilience" and was so moved by it that I ordered it as a gift for 2 friends. My 45 year marriage ended 2 years ago when my husband died with cancer 8 weeks after a terminal diagnosis. In my journey of grief recovery, - quotes from her book "Resilience" ended up in my journal many times. With her "Gift" of insight expressed in her book, - there is NO WAY that her Heart did not know from day one that John was decieving her constantly. How???? could someone who wrote "Resilience" be so damn delusional?? My favorite quote is: "If you don't deal with it, - you will deal with it!!" I think Mrs. Edwards needs to write another book about husbands who are a mock-up of a real man AND the wives who support the Mockery!! Andrew Young is redeemable because he's humble and honest. I can forgive him for the "error of this way" as long as he Owns it! Here's to Andrew's wife Cheri who saw thru it all and comes out smelling like a rose - he should have listened to her from the beginning. I respect "realness" - this is real. I hope Andrew Young makes a lot of money on this book because he needs to benefit from standing up for the truth. Sharon Sprunger, Las Vegas NV
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2010
Let me start by saying that I am a native North Carolinian and also a democrat. With that being said I must also state that I was never fooled by John and Elizabeth Edwards for one moment because I never believed the picture perfect, christian,devoted husband and loving father image that John and Elizabeth Edwards tried so hard to sell. This is a very, very well written book and I applaud Andrew Young for his courage in writing what had to be written (and truthfully). Andrew,his wife Cheri and their three children suffered at the ruthless hands of Elizabeth and John. Both of the Edwardses used these people and then cast them off as no more than garbage and that makes me mad as hell. If I were Andrew Young I would sue both of them for slander because they deserve to pay for what they have done. Elizabeth Edwards should seek a mental health professional because of all of the threatening and harrassing phone messages and e-mails that she sent to these poor people.It appears that she is not as intelligent as I gave her credit, if she believed all of the lies that John Edwards told her about the Youngs. If my husband of 30 years were doing what John Edwards had done, I feel assured that I would be intelligent enough to figure out that it was no ones fault and failures but my husbands. I would not go on a campaign/rampage to slander and destroy innocent people. Is Andrew completely innocent? No, but I can understand doing things for a boss that we don't necessarily want to do to keep a job. We all do it. He got caught up in it and it just become a run away train before Andrew and Cheri could stop it (and John Edwards didn't want to stop it). I am not only disgusted by John and Elizabeth Edwards I am more than digusted in the character of Rielle Hunter. This shows what poor taste and what poor judgement skills John Edwards really has, and he thought he was presidential material. What a joke. Rielle Hunter is a lazy,low life nut case, piece of trash. She and John Edwards deserve each other. My hopes and prayers are for the Young family. I hope that with God's help they will get their normal lives back and Andrew will find an employer who will respect, value and appreciate him. I also pray that Elizabeth's cancer will remain in remission but that she will learn humility, grace and forgiveness. Stop trying to destroy the Young family. Remember Elizabeth that God is taking notes. As for John Edwards and Rielle Hunter, I wish they would move out North Carolina and stop stinking up the state. I hope Andrew and Cheri make a boat load of money off of this book because they deserve it.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The most enlightening theme of this book is the ultimate dedication of Andrew Young to John Edwards and his family. He seemed to really believe Edwards would change the direction of the country despite knowing him up close and personal. Andrew Young educated the reader on the day-to-day work of running a campaign and his shocking loyalty to the Edwards family. The Edwards' knew no bounds when it came to service (Christmas card photo and fixing bed to name a few). He was on call all the time, doing anything for Edwards with the final sacrifice of declaring he is the father of Edward's mistress baby. There is not much to like about John and Elizabeth Edwards in Young's final analysis. They were/are both power hungry and quick to demean others.
As a cheater, Edwards had the audacity to think the American people would elect (let alone nominate) an unfaithful spouse whose wife has terminal cancer. Americans seem to tolerate murder and wars but never adultery, i.e. Tiger Woods, Jesse James. Elizabeth has garnered the sympathy of most women in this country and it is disappointing to learn in this book and "Game Change", that she is a calculating shrew. It also disturbed me that Edwards, as a senator, never took the time to read the background and details of the bills before him. He proved he was out for himself and relied on his charm, connections and a very smart staff.
I do think Young wrote well and tried to present a fair presentation. However, his goal was to outline his case to defend himself and he needs the money. I appreciated his honesty that no one would give him a job after the Edwards fiasco, and Young needs a best seller to pay his bills. He is tenacious and detail-oriented given his ability to master the art of running a tight, brilliant campaign. Young is an extremist himself. He worked later than anyone, he would drop everything to "step and fetchit" for the Edwards. His lauds the love of his life, Cheri, his wife and loyal companion ad nauseum. I think he apologized to her enough without us hearing about how wonderful she was all the time.
John Edwards' fall from grace was a shock. Many Americans believed in him and he shattered the lives of many of his staff and depleted the net worth of many contributors. Young proved Edwards is a sad commentary on American politics.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
First, I almost gave this book 3 stars because from the very outset of the book I had the belief that Andrew Young (the author and former aide to Edwards in his campaigns) is writing this book to help cleanse his own soul of the pathetic nature of politicians and those who make their living in the political world of today.
Andrew Young spends a great deal of time in the book confessing that he spent too much time running errands for the Edwards while neglecting his own wife and children. Okay, I get it. He was sucked in to the power and the charisma of John Edwards who, according to Andrew Young, was about as hypocritical of a politician as there is in our nation today. Well, surprise, surprise, huh?
Edwards and his wife were determined to be in the White House. Make no mistake as the author uses his first hand knowledge to paint a picture of two people (the Edwards) who were determined to be all powerful no matter what it took. Edwards driving around in a beat up Buick while living in his mansion just so he could like like "a common man" all the while begin a snob about anything and anyone who didn't have money or status. Meanwhile, the affairs and hypocrisy of John Edwards reaches a boiling point when he wants Young to claim that it is Young (not Edwards) who is the father of the baby that Rielle Hunter is carrying.
John Edwards' political career is over. Done. Finished. Kaput. This, however, was a book that shows that politics in this nation is out of control. It's not about making this nation great. It's about people wanting power and being frauds while in office all the while acting like they care about our nation. This book is a warning for all of us that we need real leaders. Not the drivel that keeps being shoved at us by both parties.
I don't think Andrew Young is innocent. This is his book to apologize to his wife and maybe to us (the voters). He was part of the hypocrisy and maybe he was too deep into the insanity of being their "errand boy" to realize just how absurd his life had become, but it's a revealing account into a man (Edwards) who believed he was above every rule and whose pride and ego was his downfall.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2010
This is a scary book... what if this man had been elected president??? A liar, a cheater, a manipulator, a manufactured "image". What we saw is not what he is. I never liked John Edwards and this book proved my intuition to be 100% right. And to be honest, I never liked his wife either. When they announced that her cancer had recurred while he was running for president, I have to admit that I wondered if that was only a story made up to get the sympathy vote. After reading this book, I wouldn't put it past them.
If there are any more despicable things to be added about John Edwards than the ones recounted here, I can't imagine what they would be. I think his admission just before the book came out that he is indeed the father of Rielle Hunter's child puts the stamp of truth on all that Andrew Young has written. While it is hard for me to understand why Young and his wife would put up with all that they did from John Edwards (even to claiming for a while that he was the father of the child, among other things, to try to protect Edwards), I'm sure that the need to have a job was a major factor. And yes, he was apparently snookered for a while by the Edwards "image".
Although they weren't mentioned extensively in the book, I feel sorry for Edwards' parents if they have learned all of this stuff about him. They seemed very genuine, ordinary people and I know it is hurtful to them to see him unmasked.
I read this book in a day and recommend it highly. It is just as good as "Game Change" but different in that it is focused on only one candidate rather than several. Will there ever be a politician that we can trust?
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2010
I am a native North Carolinian. I still live in NC, and everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, should read this book to know what really goes on in politics and I'm not just talking about the Edward's disgrace and scandal. The Edward's ambition, yes, both John and Elizabeth, was the most powerful thing in their lives and it didn't matter who they stepped on to get it. Total hypocrites and where do people like this get this sense of entitlement? If that is what money does for you, I'm much better off being poor but then who is really the poor one in this life, me or them?
Anyway, the other thing that really kills me and why everyone should read this book is to show how MOST senators are pampered and have this sense of entitlement. Where do they get it??!!! We, the people, put them there and they really shouldn't be living ANY BETTER THAN us!! It is a sad commentary on politics in this country that only someone with LOTS of money can run for political office. I think the majority of them are complete fakes and frauds. (ie: Congresswoman Eva Clayton grabbing the mask from Young for a photo-op in the book)
I wonder how many honest men and women there really are in our state houses and in Washington? I bet you could count them on two hands. As I said, anyone that votes needs to read this book and thank Andrew Young because he has revealed that politics, as many of us have always suspected, is dirty business but now we have found out it is in reality even WORSE than we thought!!
This makes me never want to cast another vote in my life and that is sad because too many honorable men and women have died to give me this right. Thank you Andrew Young. You are a hero in my eyes for writing this book and I hope it will wake up much of the electorate in this country!!
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
First, for those of you who note that I did not buy this book from Amazon (which is unusual for me), I succumbed to temptation at the airport as I left on a business trip. By the time I returned a few days later I was in the closing pages.
For 99% of the readers the most fundamental question is why, with such promise, did Edwards become involved with the woman and why did he continue when he might have been able to leave the story behind?
I think the answer is clear, Edwards believed he had the power to "manage" the problem the same way he could manage he evidence before a jury to have them overlook unfavorable testimony. Taking that predisposition to the US Senate, where the daily lifestyle only nurtures arrogance among many and humility among some, it was unremarkable that he believed he could prevail. A close associate who worked with Congress on a daily basis confirmed that the temper tantrums over the slightest deviation ( wrong colored M&M's on the aircraft) are widespread.
Young drops some tidbits along the way which would probably not raise eyebrows in most litigation firms, but nonetheless, to most would indicate to most a lack of character.
Edwards' loan of computers to other campaigns with the expectation that upon return the computers could be mined for confidential data on donors and other intel was a sad chapter that has gone unnoticed in the press.
The political infighting within the Edwards office and the other Congressional offices is symptomatic of the problems which have brought Congress to such a low approval rating. There seems to be no Team America spirit anywhere. In too many cases it is about egos and power and not about performance.
The widening gulf between the real Edwards and the manufactured Edwards being sold to the public is scary. There is no other way to describe the willingness of the staff and some of the press to overlook traits which should be red flags.
For Young there is very little time to reflect upon where he is going and taking his young wife. it's not uncommon as we have seen in too many other stories, including the actions of bankers and people in our government who have brought so much suffering to our people. Much of the anger which spreads from the ends of the political spectrum and across the middle comes from the recognition that there are two Americas as Edwards postulated, those, like Edwards who believe they are exempt from scrutiny.
Like so many, including Nixon and Clinton, Edwards attempts at a cover-up only add to the stupidity. His even asking Young to assume the role of father of the child caused, as Young acknowledges, such grief within his wife's family.
There are those who postulate that all powerful men are incapable of being faithful to their wives and we should not concern ourselves with such matters. There are perhaps momentary lapses of judgment that can be excused. However, one thing that 40 years in business has taught me is that people who live by deception in their marital lives usually engage in deceptive and self serving activities in their professional lives. When we give the same people the enormous power of high elected office and cover them and lay at their feet the jewels of power (jets, staff, friends with lots of cash, military officers assigned to cater to every whim) we should not be surprised that their weaknesses become our burdens.
From college athletes to young lawyers and mba's the temptations of power often overcome the lessons of history. Young's story is not unlike that of some of Nixon's aides who convinced themselves that actions well beyond the limits of the law were just an extension of the fraternity pranks they loved so well. It's not just politics as we have seen with Eneron, Wall Street and Madoff.
The story of Elizabeth winds through the book. It's hard not to feel compassion, contempt, sorrow and thankfulness all in one paragraph. Personally I would have more respect had she leveled with the American public rather than continuing to help campaign for someone whom she knew to be deceitful and not worthy of their trust. When I hear that she is threatening to sue Andrew for destroying their marriage I wonder if she feels any guilt relating to her participating in the campaign to deceive voters.
Over the past 10 days the newspapers and internet have been filled with reviews that remind us Young lied and should not be trusted. That his lies were told at the instigation of Edwards somehow does not seem to register. If there's no sex tape why is she seeking a court order to obtain tapes which in her words contain very personal scenes. That Edwards allowed or encouraged the making of the tapes defies explanation. It's like a rerun of the Blue Dress story.
The hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash and in kind financial assistance given to Hunter raises both campaign contribution issues and tax issues as the support was clearly given to benefit and for the benefit of Edwards campaign. Sadly it is unlikely that DOJ will press hard on either issue.
Young's quote of Edwards saying that America was not ready for a black or a female President reflects some of the arrogance that lead to his downfall.
It's hard not to put the book down without feeling sorry for the real victims, those hard working, law abiding citizens who believed that this politician was who he said he was and would work for them. They believed that he stood together with his cancer stricken wife while he lead a life of lies and relied on supporters to pay for Hunter's extravagant life in California. Edwards' "secret" meeting with Hunter at the Beverly Hills Hotel was too stupid for words. One wonders who tipped off the tabloids to their schedule.
The greatest betrayals which come to light in the book are the betrayal of the trust of the American public in general and more specifically the many small donors who wanted nothing more than honest leadership.
Neither party has a monopoly on virtue or vice. These stories are a reminder that absolute power is absolutely corrupting. Perhaps we will end up a wiser electorate and manage our elected in a way that makes clear that they do not possess such vast powers, but rather are granted the privilege of temporarily exercising the power of our people so long as they are worthy of the trust.
In the words of another, let this be a teaching moment.
Great read-highly recommended.