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Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House Hardcover – November 16, 2010
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“Destined to be a classic in its genre.” —Douglas Brinkley
“Insightful …A thoughtful meditation on Mr. Obama’s life and character.” —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
“There is enough drama, and then some, in Renegade. It is surely not the final word—but it is as close as we are likely to get.” —Ted Widmer, Washington Post
“A superb achievement …Wolffe’s brisk, well-written narrative is fully in the tradition of Theodore White and Richard Ben Cramer.” —Michael Beschloss
“An insightful, unusually moving, fully observed portrait … Marvelous.” —Ken Burns
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
For those of us who will never play basketball with Obama like Wolffe has, this is as close-up and personal as you can get to the leader of the free world without being in his inner circle.
Most interesting to me was the personal side of Obama that we never see; when Obama is 'close to tears' as he remembers Td Kennedy during one of his last public appearances during th health care debate; the emotion he tries to hide when health care legislation is actually passed; & the strain evident on him to remain composed when his grandmother died just days before his election.
Getting a look into Obama's inner circle is extraordinary as well. Reading anecdotes about Gibbs, Axelrod & Emanuel ('deelply insecure') gives insight not only to his most trusted advisors, but to Obama himself. I particularly like the insight into Joe Biden & Hillary Clinton & the 'Clinton clique' (source of leaks?). For those of us who always want to know, 'What is REALLY going on in the White House?', this book offers us some insight.
But the most interesting part of this book is the struggle between the 'Revivalists', 'who want to return to the high minded spirit of the ...campaign' and the Survivalists, 'who believe that government demands a low-minded set of compromises and combat'. No wonder things have not gone smoothly for team Obama this year. Fascinating.
"Revival' helps us understand how Obama has changed. Wolffe seems to see the religious fervor of the 'Revivalistis' at odds w/the pragmatic 'Survivalists'.
It is so refreshing to have a serious, factual book about our current presiden even if we know that Wolffe is left leaning. So what? 'Revival' is; INFORMATIVE, INTERESTING, INSIGHTFUL & just plain good reading. Anyone interested in American politics needs to read this.
Five REVEALING Stars!! Probing, detailed, fair-minded, sometimes unflattering, and highly informative. Presidential biographer, senior correspondent, and journalist Richard Wolffe's latest book captures President Barack Obama and staff after the successful run for the White House as detailed in Renegade: The Making of a President. During several months, beginning in January 2010, the author had a great deal of access: interviewing "every senior West Wing official from the president and vice president on down" in oral and written "real-time and rearview observations": literally a "rolling conversation" with them. In 5 chapters (Destination, Terminal, Redemption, Recovery, and Survival, and when you reach the Epilogue, do keep reading through the Acknowledgements), he starts at the triumphant period with the passing of Obama Health Care legislation in the Prologue, and then going back to the beginnings of the Obama administration, he writes a fascinating non-partisan analysis of Obama's administration personnel, goals, strategy, successes and failures: coming out of campaign mode to actually governing the nation. He lays bare the politics and posturing, while Obama's inner circle attempted to take advantage of what was perceived at the election as a mandate for change. But a year later, much of it was virtually stalling out due to unemployment, the financial crisis, and the wars. Then in March came the long-sought passage of the health care act to raise spirits. They were longing for the revival of the high energy renegade 'campaign mode' of operating, while they themselves were becoming what they seemed to loathe during the campaign: Washington insiders, targets for the Republicans, the press, and even his own party at times. But they find at least the spirit of revival through governing by the end of the book.
The author reveals a White House that can be, in the words of a White House senior insider, sometimes "terrible" at the game of politics while amassing "historic" amounts of achievements. Along the way we get some significant 'word-pictures' and 'inside information': President Obama voraciously reading virtually everything written about his administration in the media; the President's awkward first reaction to winning the Nobel Peace Prize; the inability to execute the "Bush Gift Bag" by closing Guantanamo, ending the wars, lowering unemployment, and jumpstarting the economy; amid failures, there were the triumphant Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka "ObamaCare"), the Recovery Act, credit card reform and the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act where even 13 Republican Senators gave support; Rahm Emanuel being praised for his energy but derided for his inefficient management and changing goals; one of Nancy Pelosi's shocking negative answers to what the House proposed on health care; the Obama approach to dealing with Islam; the difference between 'this' entrenched Republican Party and the party 10 years ago, David Axelrod and the DNC blindsided by the final polls of the special election where Martha Coakley lost Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, Presidents Bush and Clinton standing in the Rose Garden closing ranks with Obama on Haiti disaster relief; White House critical self-analysis of the BP Gulf disaster, the inner circle Revivalists and the opposing Survivalists, and much more. There are some topical, non-chronological 'switchbacks' where author Wolffe reveals more detail on a subject from a different angle in different chapters, mainly Health Care. The constant question of whether President Obama could "bring change to Washington without Washington changing him" reverberates across the landscape of this frank, insightful book that ends on a spirit of hope, but with the mid-term elections looming. "Revival" is Highly Recommended. Five INFORMATIVE Stars!! (This review is based on a Kindle download in Mac and iPhone modes.)