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The Gospel According to the Fix: An Insider's Guide to a Less than Holy World of Politics Paperback – July 10, 2012
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“The Gospel According to the Fix is a great read and guide for both amateur and professional political junkies alike.” —Chuck Todd, chief White House correspondent, NBC
“This is a smart, funny road map through the maze of presidential politics, replete with Chris Cillizza’s trademark insights and keen wit. If you have time for one guide to politics, The Gospel According to the Fix is it.” —Andrea Mitchell, chief foreign affairs correspondent, NBC
“The Gospel According to the Fix hits its stride in several ambitious explorations of various aspects of the political scene….The speed, volume and reach of [Cillizza’s] take on matters not only chronicles the daily grind but influences it, too: Consultants read him, and their candidates react.” –Ken Kurson, Wall Street Journal
About the Author
CHRIS CILLIZZA writes The Fix for the Washington Post. He is an MSNBC contributor and political analyst who appears regularly on the network in addition to NBC, PBS, and NPR’s Diane Rehm Show. Chris has worked for Roll Call, the Cook Political Report, and Congress Daily. His freelance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The Atlantic, Washingtonian, and Slate.
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Top customer reviews
I agree with another reviewer that Cillizza is not overly partisan. I'm sure he fights those tendencies because he is an MSNBC contributor and on multiple shows each day, but he does a good job in this book of looking at both parties, handicapping their chances, recognizing their up-and-comers, and leaving it for readers to decide where they stand. The people he skewers deserve to be skewered -- by their actions and not their affiliations.
I wanted to see how the blogger/contributor perspective compared to these other authors. I'd agree that Cillizza didn't do all the reading and footnoting that others have (hence no index), that he's not hosting a daily show or a former elected official himself, but his book shows you how people think and cope who follow the details of day-to-day politics and campaigns and immerse themselves in seeing close up how politicians act, keep or lose their way. It also shows how we as citizens and periodic voters choose to care or not care about the issues they talk and blog about every day. So from that angle of making politics more understandable, this book does the job it promises.
Instead, the book reads like a set of blog posts, assembled in no particular order, and with no real narrative arc. Some material, like his Fix Endorsement Hierarchy, is actually recycled from the blog itself. Most chapters read like blog entries, even if they are in fact new.
What seems insightful in a series of daily blog posts, becomes shallow when assembled in book form. If you're a regular reader of The Fix online, you'll probably find that this book contributes very little that Cilizza hasn't already said elsewhere.
Although Cilizza has a wealth of knowledge of political campaigns past and present, this book focuses predominantly on the 2012 presidential campaign. Due to the book's timing, of course, that campaign is not yet over with. Therefore whatever value the book may have is short-lived. Years from now (or even one year from now), very few people will be interested in a book that chronicles only HALF a campaign.
Of course, Cilizza does have broader points to make, but his heavy focus on 2012 gives the book an early sell-by date.
As a loyal reader of The Fix, I have come to rely on Mr. Cillizza to deliver timely and well crafted insights into the story behind the story. Unfortunately, for readers like me, the book introduces no new insights. In addition, the writing style that has made The Fix easy to read simply does not work in a book format. There are extensive and circuitous analogies (e.g. the link to Friday Night Lights), overuse of the m-dash, introduction of non-words (what's "cashola"?), and other such offenses against the English language. The chapters appear to be in some random order that don't tell a cohesive story: for example, the first few sections about the recommended blogs should really be appendices. Finally, there's wild speculation about candidates for 2016 with a justification of how such a discussion appeals to political junkies--this is a far cry from the thoughtful commentary that has made The Fix a destination for analysis versus opinion.
Chris Cillizza is an important voice in an increasingly noisy world of political journalism. Mr. Cillizza will do well to fire his editors and work a professional team for his next book (which I'll be borrowing from the library rather than purchasing!).