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The Real Romney Hardcover – January 17, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Real Romney pulls together lots of details into a narrative that’s absorbing and fair-minded.” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)

“Balanced and rigorous reporting on Romney’s life and career. . . . The authors are especially good on his close relationship with his father, a three-term Michigan governor who unsuccessfully ran for president in 1968.” (USA Today)

The Real Romney lays out Romney’s story in full and clear detail, including fascinating in-depth stuff about his family’s history, showing us a Romney for whom family and faith remain unshakable pillars and who knows that his ‘power-ally is money.’” (The Los Angeles Times)

“A timely, balanced new biography. . . . An impressively researched and thought-provoking portrait of a man many Americans may want to know more about in the coming weeks and months.” (The Boston Globe)

“Kranish and Helman are veteran and well-regarded reporters. . . . They give a comprehensive account of the Bain years -- the greatest contribution of their book.” (Michael Tomasky, The New York Review of Books)

“The writers have thoroughly trawled through the would-be-president’s history. The book charts the various stages of Romney’s polymorphic life in impressive detail. . . . All this is well done. The analysis of Romney’s time at Bain is balanced and fair.” (The Economist)

“Kranish and Helman have assembled a genuinely compelling story and a more thorough record of Romney’s life than has yet appeared.” (The Washington Post)

“A fascinating story [that] sheds new light on an elusive subject. . . . It illustrates well how in his private life and in business, he has relied on a tight, protective circle all his life.” (The Financial Times)

“A comprehensive and eminently fair-minded biography of the GOP’s fitful frontrunner.” (The New Republic)

“An excellent biography.” (David Frum, The Daily Beast)

“Balanced and informative. . . A well-written and useful resource for Romneyana great and small.” (Louis Menand, The New Yorker)

“The great service of this new biography is that it humanizes Romney. The authors sniff over their subject with bloodhound thoroughness, dredging up old report cards, housing deeds, and family records and videos. They interview seemingly everyone who had contact with Romney in every phase of his life.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“Who is the real Mitt Romney? This well-researched biography by two Boston Globe reporters offers useful clues.” (Katha Pollitt, The Guardian)

From the Back Cover

Mitt Romney has masterfully positioned himself as the front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Even though he’s become a household name, the former Massachusetts governor remains an enigma to many in America, his character and core convictions elusive, his record little known. Who is the man behind that sweep of dark hair, distinguished white sideburns, and high-wattage smile? He often seems to be two people at once: a savvy politician, and someone who will simply say anything to win. A business visionary, and a calculating dealmaker. A man comfortable in his faith and with family, and one who can have trouble connecting with average voters.

In this definitive, unflinching biography by Boston Globe investigative reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, readers will finally discover the real Romney. The book explores Romney’s personal life, his bond with his wife and how they handled her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, and his difficult years as a Mormon missionary in France, where a fatal car crash had a profound effect on his path. It also illuminates Romney’s privileged upbringing in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; his rejection of the 1960s protest culture; and his close but complicated relationship with his father.

Based on more than five years of reporting and hundreds of interviews, The Real Romney includes a probing analysis of Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, one of the world’s leading private investment firms, where staggering profits were won through leveraged buyouts that helped create jobs but also destroyed them. This penetrating portrait offers important new details, too, on Romney’s failed Senate race against Ted Kennedy, his role leading the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics, and his championing of universal health care in Massachusetts. Drawing on previously undisclosed campaign memos, e-mails, and interviews with key players, Kranish and Helman reveal the infighting and disagreement that sunk Romney’s 2008 White House bid—and his conscious decision to switch tactics for his 2012 run.

In The Real Romney, Kranish and Helman delve searchingly into the psyche of a complex man now at his most critical juncture—the private Romney whom few people see. They show the remarkable lengths to which Romney has gone in order to succeed in politics and business, shrewdly shifting identities as needed, bringing tough-minded strategy to every decision, and always carefully safeguarding his public image. For the first time, readers will gain a full understanding of the kind of man Romney is—the kind of man who may be running their country.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062123270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062123275
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,149,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Frederick S. Goethel VINE VOICE on January 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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.
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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.
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