- Hardcover: 432 pages
- Publisher: Viking Adult (August 4, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670021113
- ISBN-13: 978-0670021116
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 50 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #885,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election Hardcover – August 4, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Political reporter Balz and author Johnson (The Age of Anxiety: McCarthyism to Terrorism) have produced an exhaustive yet fascinating review of the 2008 election, from the 2006 contending lineup through the 2009 inauguration, sure to catch the interest of those who follow politics, from Capitol Hill on down. For readers who think the news media's wall-to-wall coverage was plenty, this behind-the-scenes study is a sharp reminder of everything left out in their horse-race reporting: discussion of the issues, citizens' reactions, the real influence of President Bush, and the complex mechanics (strategy, missteps, serendipity) of the campaign trail. Without taking sides, Balz and Johnson review the numerous candidates, and the many topics at play-the Iraq war, the economy, health care and various personal concerns-while extracting cogent lessons from a season that became more an "endurance test" than anything. Addressing perennial flaws of the election process-including the prominence of money, race and gender discrimination, the impact of nonstop media coverage, and the government's role in the outcome-Balz and Johnson also label this past election one "of great consequence and a dramatic turn in direction," and illustrate why.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"A superior piece of political reportage and interpretation...Essential for watchers of politics and a model for similar electoral analyses in the future."
Even readers who followed the election closely will find revelations and new perspectives in this gripping account of a fascinating election season. -- Vanessa Bush
New York Times Review
"Makes for engaging reading--for both politics addicts interested in small new details and the more casual reader interested in a broad, savvy overview of the run-up to a historic election." --Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
Time Magazine Review
"Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson...capture the momentous contest in a polished account refreshingly free of last year's breathless sound bites, pundit insta-reaction or fixation on trifling gaffes...an evenhanded and comprehensive account of the race..." --Randy James
Los Angeles Times Review
"Balz and Johnson's material is rich and built upon extensive firsthand interviews... [filled] with details that range from poignant to chilling." --Art Winslow.
"The classic political campaign of our time has its classic retelling now in Haynes Johnson's and Dan Balz's Battle for America 2008. In addition to the compelling narrative of the events we remember, they have, through their post-election reporting, solved almost all the mysteries about what was happening behind the scenes in the Obama, Clinton, and McCain camps." --David S. Broder, Washington Post
"Magisterial...Captures the thrill of the campaign and its meaning. Balz and JOhnson are the true heirs to Teddy White..." --George Stephanopoulos. ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos
"It's not often that you take a nonfiction book about politics with you on a summer vacation--unless you're having trouble sleeping. But you should take The Battle for America 2008...It's fast-paced and beach-worthy, as good a page turner as any mystery thriller." --Al Kamen, Washington Post
"...a riveting account, combining big-picture analysis, important revelations and intriguing anecdotes." --Roger Simon, Politico
"...told masterfully and fluidly...by two of the best political journalists of this or any era...stocked with scoops and original insights from an incredible campaign--a must-read for political junkies." --Rick Klein, ABC News
"Buy it. Keep it on your shelf. This is a book you want to keep for awhile and savor." --Chris Matthews, Hardball MSNBC
"Every four years there's one great book written about a presidential campaign. For those of us who grew up with Teddy White, it's always exciting when we find that book. I think this is the one." --Joe Scarborough, "Morning Joe" MSNBC
"...extremely well-reported history of the 2008 presidential campaign...There are plenty of scoops..." --Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic
"Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson report a lot of new behind-the-scenes details, so the story feels fresh. What feels familiar are the problems Sen. Obama faced on the campaign trail, which mirror the ones President Obama faces today in selling health care reform." -- John Dickerson, Slate.com.
Top customer reviews
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Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson structure their story in a series of books or segments dealing even handedly with both parties' candidates. Having been on the scene themselves as reporters and observers, and with numerous contacts among the campaign staffs of all the candidates, they were able to reconstruct conferences and dissect decisions which eventually became irreversible turning points. As I read the book, inevitably I was reminded of much that I had forgotten: how both Obama and McCain nearly had to end their campaigns in 2007; how inevitable Hillary Clinton's nomination and election seemed; and the seemingly never ending primary election season. Balz and Johnson also do a fine job of covering the general election campaign, giving good coverage to the financial crisis which erupted that fall and its impact on the election.
Balz and Johnson do not write with the grace of Theodore H. White, and I doubt that this book will be remembered as a classic of campaign reporting on par with The Making of the President, 1960, but The Battle for America is a masterful and thorough account of 2008.
To those of us "political animals", 2007 and 2008 were almost made perfect by the machinations of the Democrats and the Republicans. Every day was interesting, politically, in one way or another. Johnson and Balz capture almost perfectly the politicians, the aides, the focus groups, and the electorate. I've read only one other campaign book, so far, Richard Wolffe's Renegade, which I also gave five stars.
Oh, and I wish the publisher would price the audio version of this book at a price lower than the $69.00 it's currently priced at.
As a side note, I read the Kindle edition of this book. Besides a few small typos, the formatting was very good. It was also easy to navigate from chapter to chapter (which not all Kindle books are). There were no pictures in this Kindle edition, but *I don't think* there are any pictures in the print edition either.
I was hoping it would have some description into Obama's thought process on his selection of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State and some information on her reaction towards that gesture but it was never mentioned in the book.