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The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down Hardcover – 2010
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From the Back Cover
John Edwards’s longest-serving former aide gives us the inside story—in shocking, explosive detail—about the meteoric rise and scandalous fall of
Andrew Young volunteered for the Edwards campaign for U.S. Senate in 1998 and soon became the Democratic candidate’s right-hand man and most trusted friend. As Edwards became a national star, Young’s responsibilities grew to include a series of questionable assignments that culminated with being asked to conceal the Senator’s ongoing adultery. Then, days before his run in the 2008 presidential primaries began, Edwards was faced with a publicity nightmare: Rielle Hunter, the campaign videographer with whom he’d been having an affair, was pregnant. Edwards insisted that Young claim paternity—but America would eventually learn the truth…
“A book worth reading for its larger drama. Mr. Young’s book examines what a politician really is.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Young believed that Edwards could be a great president, and was assured throughout the cover-up that one day Edwards would come clean to his cancer-stricken wife, Elizabeth—and the rest of the country—and take responsibility for his actions. Instead, Young watched as his own career and family life fell apart. With this memoir, he finally has the chance to share his account of what really happened—and go beyond the headlines to show who John Edwards really is.
“Mesmerizing...This is not a political memoir. It’s a morality tale with the chill of Hitchcock.” —Tina Brown, The Daily Beast
Top Customer Reviews
John Edwards is portrayed as a sociopath with a Cheshire grin. Elizabeth Edwards, (with her creepy voicemails), comes across as menacing and unstable. From where I'm sitting, the author appears to be a spineless, yes-man, flunky who repeatedly cites his "need for healthcare" as an excuse for his questionable behavior.
Not only is this book a devastating indictment of the Edwards family and their cronies -- it really gives one pause as to what is going on in Washington, in general. How can government ever improve when the inmates are literally running the asylum?
I wouldn't let any of these people within 100 yards of my family much less give them a vote for anything.
This is 301 pages of lying, cheating, power-grabbing and backstabbing. It is a veritable encyclopedia of how not to live your life.
I remember first hearing about the affair back in 2008. I couldn't believe it--not because I enjoy judging people who cheat--that's none of my business--but rather for the unforgivable timing of it...and I think most Americans felt the same way. His wife had incurable cancer for God's sake! And he had been a serious candidate for the democratic nomination. His asking for my vote made the affair "my business" because in most cases (save Clinton) cheating on your wife is an automatic political disqualifier--and Edwards knew this yet did it anyway. I remember saying, "You mean to tell me that this guy was running a serious campaign with the complete knowledge that he had had this intense affair?" What if he had gotten the nomination, won the presidency, and just before the inauguration this had all come out? Democrats would have been ROYALY screwed and Republicans would have been dancing in the streets.
The book makes this point well beyond what I just said. Young not only points all of this out with great depth, but he tells us much more, and it is so shocking that it's hard to believe. But considering that ever since the book's release date was made public, Edwards has admitted fathering the child and the Edwards' have split up, I think the book has solid credibility as a result. They wanted to air all of their dirty laundry before the American people could read about it. Perhaps they were thinking that this would take some of the shock value away. Well, it did no such thing. Most of what is in the book is news to me and will be news to you. It will be interesting to see what parts of it the Edwards' try to deny and discredit, because right now, I want to believe that a lot of this is false.
At first I couldn't believe that a close Edwards ally was disgusting enough to spew all of this private information in a book. But it needed to be written because the Edwards' ran for the presidency while deceiving the American people. And they will pay a painful price for the rest of their lives. They don't need me to pile on. I have compassion for them. People don't have to be perfect for me to like them. Unfortunately, for the Edwards', many people want to worship unflawed individuals. But the book made me realize how the world of high stakes politics can tear even the most decent people down, eat away at them, and lead them to do the unimaginable. It made me wonder if Elizabeth wanted the White House more than John did. I read just about everything to do with the current political discourse and climate. I'm a political junkie. And if you like reading about the intimate details of a family clawing its way to the powerful, political top, and want to understand the mind-blowing things that can happen on that journey, "The Politician" is for you. I've read two books this year that stopped me in my tracks and shook the heck out of me--71 Days: The Media Assault On Obama by Michael Jason Overstreet and this one. Both are extraordinarily and shockingly eye opening and historically powerful. 71 Days: The Media Assault On Obama will likely get some people in the media FIRED!!!
John Edwards failed to man-up and admit he lied in increments to his wife, his jack-of-all-trades Andrew Young, and the american people when he confessed paternity re: Frances Quinn Hunter through a spokesman. Naturally he was in Haiti saving the people with his $400 haircut and his toothy grin. I bought this book because I figured his contrite prepared announcement was timed to deflect the publication of this tell all. What did he fear? Apparently there was a lot he hoped people would ignore such as this book which is fairly straightforward.
The Politician is a compeling and factual account of John Edwards' grab for power and his subsequent downfall. It reads like a political thriller, but is somewhat creepy and frightening re: the depths of ambition, greed, lust, narcisism, and privilege that extends into the world of modern day american politics. I kept thinking how sincere Edwards came across while he was lying into a tv camera. Geez, he could have been president. Wasn't Bill Clinton enough? All these folks are hypocrites. No wonder most people don't trust politicians.
Andrew Young portrays himself as an Edwards worshipper who thinks the man is going to save the world when he becomes president. Andrew might aptly be described as a gofer who hitches himself to the Edwards bandwagon in hopes of sunning himself in Edwards' reflected glory while incrementally increasing his personal income. It appears as if Edwards accurately sizes up Young as the perfect fall-guy as his affair with the implausible Rielle Hunter picks up steam without much discretion. The rest might be tacked up as tabloid history except Young started documenting the Edwards' activities and retaining voice mails. When Edwards unceremoniously ditches Young, he decides to set the record straight with this book. The Politician manages to make sense of Edwards' half truths in increments and Mrs. Edwards frenzied communications with Young and his wife.
Not surprisingly, no one comes off well in this book including the author and his wife. Even Elizabeth Edwards is portrayed as erratic, suspicious, angry, and crazed. Sadly, considering all she had to put up with re: her sleezy husband, it is amazing that she's managed to survive. Ultimately the real victims in this story are the children involved.
This booked managed to nail it for me regarding what actually happened and when. I recommend this book to any political junkie or anyone who wants to know the facts surrounding this mess. The Politician proves that truth is stranger than fiction.