Customer Reviews


59 Reviews
5 star:
 (24)
4 star:
 (21)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


108 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would The Real Mitt Romney Please Step Forward?
The authors, two reporters for a large New England newspaper, have written the most definitive biography of Mitt Romney that I have seen to date. Several book were written about Romney prior to the 2008 election, but none were nearly as complete nor did any have a true history of his life.

Beginning with Romney's ancestors, and proceeding to this day, the...
Published on January 26, 2012 by Frederick S. Goethel

versus
45 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great on Early Biographical History, Weak on the Campaigns
I write as a Romney supporter who has followed both the '08 and '12 campaigns very closely. The book started out strong: very informative, quite impartial, the authors clearly somewhat impressed by the man's strengths. The tactful handling of the LDS religion background was particularly impressive.

Unfortunately, about halfway through, as political issues and...
Published on April 14, 2012 by Heather Martin


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

108 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would The Real Mitt Romney Please Step Forward?, January 26, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Real Romney (Hardcover)
The authors, two reporters for a large New England newspaper, have written the most definitive biography of Mitt Romney that I have seen to date. Several book were written about Romney prior to the 2008 election, but none were nearly as complete nor did any have a true history of his life.

Beginning with Romney's ancestors, and proceeding to this day, the authors cover almost every aspect of Romney's life. He has, by all measures, led a pretty good life without the challenges that most people face as they go through life. He was in a severe automobile wreck when he was serving on his Mormon mission, but short of that, his life has been good to Mitt.

While reading the biography, it struck me that there are really three distinct Mitt Romney's. One side is the Mitt Romney that his wife, kids and friends know at home, one is the distinct "work" Mitt that is known to fellow workers and colleagues and then there is the "Mormon Church" Mitt that fellow members of his faith see when he is in leadership positions within the church. Each is different and distinct from the others, and makes figuring out the real Mitt a challenge.

When Romney is at home, he is a loving father who is devoted to his wife and children. He also appears to have fun, leaves his work at the office and is a prankster. He has no problem going on vacation and relaxing when it is appropriate. The fact that he is still strongly in love with his wife after over 40 years speaks volumes about him as a family man and he deserves credit for that. In addition, he is giving and regularly helped neighbors who had problems, without seeking any attention or credit for his actions.

The work Romney is a different creature: he is driven, focused like a laser light on success and surrounds himself with talented people. He is extremely data driven and only makes decisions after completely crunching and mulling over the numbers. He is somewhat risk averse and is not a person to act on the spur of the moment. He also enjoys the roll of making the final decision. Tellingly, he didn't undertake the usual politics when he was governor of Massachusetts. Almost all politicians know that to survive and be successful in such a position, you need to know the other side and work towards compromise. That wasn't Romney. He didn't want to know the other side, and he acted as though he were the CEO of the State. He seemed to forget that there was a legislature that he had to work with, and by many accounts, he got little accomplished in his time in the State House for that very reason. In addition, he had a history of being one sided that was beginning to catch up with him near the end of his term. This is also the Romney that many people saw in Salt Lake City when he worked to get the Olympic Games back on track.

Finally, there is the Romney people see when he is in a leadership position in his church, which was the case for a number of years. He is considered to have strong faith and worked hard in his "spare" time for the church. Most disturbing about his church time appears to be his lack of questioning or thought about the tenants of the church. There is some leeway with church doctrine in certain cases, but Romney appears to have taken the strongest, simplest line with the doctrine and not varied, although he had that power. For instance, the church allows for abortion in several narrowly defined areas, including rape, incest, when the life of the mother is in jeopardy or when it is believed the baby will not survive the birth. Yet, when a member of the church need guidance on an abortion issue, where her life was threatened, Romney stuck to the strict side of the doctrine and warned her she could be excommunicated. There didn't appear to be any thought or human emotion put into the decision. He read the book, and followed it to the letter.

As a result, we have three fairly distinct personalities and one must wonder which one we will get if he is elected president. Or, will is be an amalgamation of all three depending on the circumstances? I guess that is up to the reader and voter to decide.

I highly recommend this book to all voters. It is always important to be informed when voting, and this is the least biased and most honest biography one could hope for. It will allow the voter to decide if Romney is presidential material or not and allow the reader to judge any statements Romney makes against his past record.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


65 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Romney Like You've Never Seen Him Before, January 19, 2012
By 
H. P. (hic et ubique) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Real Romney (Hardcover)
I think an evaluation of The Real Romney turns on whether it provides new information to the reader, information that would help a swing voter make up his or her mind. I think Kranish & Helman succeed on that metric. We learn that Romney's family history is deeply intertwined with the history of Mormonism and that he served an important role as a lay leader in the church. We learn that as a lay leader Romney counseled a woman facing a difficult birth against having an abortion. We learn that Romney keeps most acquaintances distant, but can be silly (or more, dorky) with his family and close friends. We learn that Romney assiduously courted gay voters during his run for the U.S. Senate. We learn that Romney ran the first post-9/11 Olympics (ok, I probably already should have known this one). We learn that Romney's advisors counseled against his ill-fated decision to focus on social issues during his 2008 presidential run.

Most of the book is devoted to the history of Romney's patriline post-Mormonism conversion sparked immigration, his work for his church, his career at Bain, his U.S. Senate run, his tenure as head of the Winter Olympics, and his tenure as governor of Massachusetts. His 2008 and 2012 presidential runs are given pretty cursory review. An entire chapter is devoted to Romneycare.

The Real Romney compares very favorably with a similar just-in-time-for-the-election biography from 2008--Obama: From Promise to Power by Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendell. Mendell's biography was pretty thin and wound up relying heavily on Obama's own book to cover Obama's early life. Romney has a much longer political career (going back to his U.S. Senate run) than Obama did in 2008, and the Boston Globe has been covering him much longer than the Chicago Tribune had Obama. It shows. This isn't a Robert Caro work, but it's an extremely valuable voice about Romney right now.

The Real Romney very much reads like a series of long newspaper articles. That's both good and bad. Kranish & Helman give the facts. But they don't engage in a lot of in-depth analysis. So the critical portions consist of repeating the attacks of his critics. This is unsatisfactory for a couple reasons: those statements are not explored in greater depth and they come off as sour grapes, both of which makes them difficult to judge.

This review is of the Kindle edition. Kranish & Helman don't provide footnotes or endnotes, but copious notes and the index take up about 40% of the Kindle edition. Unfortunately, the notes don't allow the reader to jump directly to the applicable text as endnotes and some Kindle notes do. The page numbers in both the notes and the index refer to the hardcover edition, so there is no way to use either to find something on the Kindle.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


46 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story of a Man, not Sound Bites or Newspaper Headlines, January 17, 2012
By 
Bill Makar (California - United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Real Romney (Hardcover)
A fair assessment of Mitt Romney's life and times is a bit of a surprise coming from Boston Globe writers, a company owned by the New York Times and the leader in criticizing his tenure as Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Still, they offer the reader a fairly well-rounded knowledge of the man, his relationship with his father, and his experiences that have prepared him for the leadership role he seeks and also given his opponents ammunition.

The book is not a headline grabber in the sense of propelling or halting his ongoing campaign. It instead explores the many facets of a man who has struggled to merge his private and public life, the legacy of his father, the demands of his business concerns, the Massachusetts voting base, expectations of the conservative base in the national GOP primary, and what Romney sees as the expectations of the general electorate.

The stories and accounts from his personal life, Bain & Company, Bain Capital, the 2002 Olympics, Governor's Office, to becoming National Candidate are not those that have remained untold, they are known. But "The Real Romney" offers context and a steady hand. The candidate that was in the media's view the conservative alternative to McCain in 2008 and now without any major policy shifts, the "moderate" frontrunner in 2012 shows how the mainstream media can frame these candidates into characters to fit their storylines and ratings. Hopefully, voters will look beyond the 10-second sound bites and distortion from other campaigns (including Romney's) when they assess a candidates ability to lead.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


45 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great on Early Biographical History, Weak on the Campaigns, April 14, 2012
By 
Heather Martin (The Republic of Texas) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Real Romney (Hardcover)
I write as a Romney supporter who has followed both the '08 and '12 campaigns very closely. The book started out strong: very informative, quite impartial, the authors clearly somewhat impressed by the man's strengths. The tactful handling of the LDS religion background was particularly impressive.

Unfortunately, about halfway through, as political issues and campaigns entered the story, the authors were no longer able to disguise their own political leanings. The objections of every critic, credible or not, begin to be taken at face value and woven in to the narrative. Incredibly, by this reading, McCain (by all accounts a lousy debater) is portrayed as thrashing Romney soundly in the debates. Quality research was replaced with tedious group think (e.g. Romney only won Nevada because of its heavy LDS population--then only 7%). Even very considerable accomplishments (moving from being a political unknown at mere 4% polling to knocking out household names polling at 44%, namely Giuliani, and also McCain until his fluke last-minute bounce) was completely discarded.

The writers at The Boston Globe have always looked down their noses at this candidate who has more successes under his belt than any other candidate in recent memory, Republican or Democrat, having rescued dozens of troubled enterprises at the private, Olympic, and state levels.

The authors offer an unusually deep and thorough background--then disappointingly jump right back into lockstep with their colleagues at the Globe.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Who is the "Real" Romney?, February 14, 2012
By 
J. Kimbrough (Bavaria, Germany) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Real Romney (Kindle Edition)
I first came across this book in "The Economist" and purchased it. See also "The Economist" book review (link in comment).
Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, reporters for the "Boston Globe" have written a well-researched, detailed and unbiased biography of the Presidential Candidate Mr. Romney.

The book details Mr. Romney's early life and education to include his time as a Mormon Missionary and beliefs. It examines the influences on him coming from an "upper middle class" family which was the result of a very successful father as an executive in the Auto Industry and later the Governor of Michigan.
The book details his time at Bain Capital where he was very successful and made his fortune, at this writing it is estimated at somewhere between $ 190-250million. That was the move from the middle to the upper class and the "changes" it brings with it.

The book continues on to his start into politics where, Mr. Romney according to the authors is a "driven" man for success as seen with his run against Sen. Ted Kennedy for the Senate seat in 1994, but he lost. It continues on to his managing the 2002 Winter Olympics followed by his successful run for the Governor of Massachusetts and a detailed account of his controversial reform of the state health care system.

The book examines in the final chapters his unsuccessful run for the 2008 Republican Presidential candidate and ends with the start of the 2012 campaign in early 2011.

And we both agree, "What he would do with America's greatest prize is still unclear?" The book gives you a very good detail on Mitt Romney's life, what he is "made of", but cannot get inside his inner thoughts.

Nobody seems to know who the Real Romney is.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


80 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars See Mitt Romney as you've never seen him before, January 17, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Real Romney (Kindle Edition)
I have to start this review by stating my personal bias against preppies. If you've read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, you'll know how shallow they are or, at least appear to be. And Mitt Romney is, in my opinion, a preppie. Having said that, I read this new book with keen interest and an open mind.

I find it a well-written book and a rather authoritative one sans the fact it contains no interviews with people who have anything but glowing things to say about Mitt Romney at best or neutral things at worst. On the other hand, there are some revealing things we learn about Romney that are less than flattering.

While we do see into his personal life, I still felt as if he is a rather shallow fellow. Albeit, a shallow fellow who would be a good, perhaps even a great, president. Or, perhaps not. The reader has to judge.

Not unlike Reagan, Romney is underestimated and misunderstood.

Some see Mitt Romney as a politician who changes his policy views with the winds. While this is somewhat true, it likely is because his father lost elections because of his blunt views that he was quick to express. This honesty cost the
senior Romney the presidency. Mitt Romney doesn't want a repeat of that in his own run for that office.

"If George Romney shot from the hip, his son, before he shoots at all, carefully studies the target, lines up the barrel just right, and might even fire a few practice rounds," say the authors.

"Strategy can take a candidate only so far and sometimes to the wrong place entirely. Romney has, to date, lost more political races than he's won, and his failure to see past the limits of his strategic outlook is one reason why."

The book goes into detail about the Romney family and its Mormon history, complete with Mitt Romney's great great grandfather and his many wives. It discusses how they did exactly as the church --- namely Brigham Young --- told
them to do. They gave no thought to their own needs or desires but were slaves to the church. (My words, not the author's words.)

Romney's great grandmother left a considerable amount of family history, including her own feelings about the other wives and their living together. Some of the Romney family -- at least the men -- were arrested and confined to "The American Siberia", Detroit, Michigan. The book points out that Mitt Romney left all these details out of his aubiography. I suspect it's quite an embarrassment to a family to have ancestors who participated in this illegal and immoral type of activity.

The authors interviewed an incredible number of people for the book, including the Romney sons. It's an intriguing read. It's really a page-turner in many ways and, moreover, it's a wonderful historical account of the Mormon Church. I knew little of that history and appreciated learning about it.

A few things about Romney were disturbing to me. When we look at a potential candidate, we have to wonder about their beliefs as they relate to how he would govern. For example, would they include minorities and women in their close circle of advisers? Or, would they select only those of their own ilk with whom they are comfortable?

One woman tended the Romney children as a teenager. She married young, had a child, got divorced, and at 23 was living in the Boston area as a single mother. She became pregnant again. Romney was the bishop of her ward. Catholics would call it a parish. Romney told her that, because she was unmarried, the church expected her to put the baby up for adoption.

The authors write, "She told him she would never give up her child. Sure, her life wasn't exactly the picture of Rockwellian harmony, but she felt she was on a path to stability. In that moment, she also felt intimidated. Here was Romney, who held great power as her church leader and was the head of a wealthy, prominent Belmont family, sitting in her gritty apartment making grave demands. `And then he says, "Well, this is what the church wants you to do, and if you don't, then you could be excommunicated for failing to follow the leadership of the church,"' Hayes recalled." Romney later denied that he'd made this threat. Hayes soon left the church on her own.

The authors relate several other disturbing stories like this one about Romney. It causes a thoughtful person to be concerned.

If you want to look into Mitt Romney's life and see it in a different way, a more personal way, you need to read this book.

- Susanna K. Hutcheson
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


38 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbiased look at Mitt Romney., January 18, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Real Romney (Hardcover)
"The Real Romney", written by Boston Globe reporters Scott Helman and Michael Kranish, is an unbiased attempt to capture the "real" Mitt Romney. Let me say that I am a Democrat and would not vote for Mitt Romney, but I considered him important enough in our political life that I wanted to know more about him. So much has been tossed around - as indeed it is about all political candidates - about Governor Romney that the "truth" about what happened at Bain Capital, at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, and his tenure as governor in Massachusetts that the facts are often a long-lost commodity.

Reporters Kranish and Helman wrote their book in a calm, even-handed way. The good was presented with the bad, and the nuance with which the book was written left me wondering about the reporters' own political leanings (not that they matter, actually). And that's a good thing for the average reader, who IS looking for information, not inflammation. Partisans both for and against a candidate can find biased books that confirm their views. I was looking for - and found - a book that helps explain why and who Mitt Romney is. I won't vote for him in November if he's the Republican candidate, but with "The Real Romney"'s help, I can put him into context.

Please note that I am reviewing the BOOK, and NOT the candidate.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Real Romney, October 12, 2012
This review is from: The Real Romney (Kindle Edition)
After reading this book, I know vey little more than I did before reading it. While it goes into (sometimes excruciating) detail about some business dealings, it does not get into Mr. Romney's personal life. It is apparent that his wife is the most important person in his life, but why??? While it mentions Mrs.Romney's MS, it doesn't mention her breast cancer or how the family dealt with it. It does not even mention the names of all of his sons. I am still wondering: Who is Mitt Romney??
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable, fun, April 10, 2012
By 
J Kragt (Fort Washington, Maryland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Real Romney (Kindle Edition)
This is not an ideological book -- thank God. I feel I got to know Romney and better understand him. It's a great anecdote to the interminable "news" about the race, the contest, the fight, for President. What if instead of the polls and constant effort by reports to catch the candidates up, we actually got to know them?

I lean more liberal yet think we all should weigh Mitt Romney seriously as a candidate; this book offers an objective narrative. The writers put Mitt's strengths front and center; His life is clearly an extension of a larger story, inspiring, yet individual and uniquely human.

He has been driven to live out his father's dream and shaped by the Mormon persecution and drive to excel in this world, and to exercise strong leadership. His main weakness is he lived in fear of reporters because early on he knew he wanted to be President. In fact his father George's verbal mess ups magnified and echoed and re-echoed by the press were central to Romney's choices.

The amount of time we spend on the election, the bloody fight, makes me question if the role of President is, or should be, that central. What if we all put that time and energy into something actually productive? (This book stands on its own as worth reading nonetheless: the goal of President is shown as a touchstone for the development of a person's life.)

These Boston Globe reporters -- Kranish and Helman -- did an excellent job as biographers of their governor. I especially like the way Romney was finally able (it took a while) to work with the dominant Democratic legislature to enact historic health care reform in his state. Perhaps it's wishful thinking, but I saw Romney's ability to see both sides and to change his views as an asset -- perhaps useful in leading the country.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unabashed Unbiased view on Romney, January 29, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Real Romney (Hardcover)
Reading this book, I was impressed by the authors positioning of Romney. Very unbiased; no overt of explicit axe to grind against him or people against Romney. I found that to be refreshing. I have no intention of voting for Mr. Romney for President, but I am always intrigued by what makes people tick and their histories, especially of people who may lead the country. I found this very timely book a fascinating read and took a lot away that i would never have found in the mainstream media.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Real Romney
The Real Romney by Michael Kranish (Hardcover - January 17, 2012)
$27.99 $25.19
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.