Three modern presidential campaigns produced riveting, definitive chronicles: 1960 (The Making of the President), 1968 (The Selling of the President) and 1988 (What It Takes). Now there’s a fourth great campaign book, about 2008: Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann (of New York) and Mark Halperin (of Time).
Halperin and Heilemann, who finished the book just three months ago, conducted more than 300 interviews with over 200 sources, and got insiders to cough up astonishing artifacts, including emails and recordings. The story’s basic outlines are familiar, but tons of previously unreported details show how Sarah Palin was a more shockingly bratty ignoramus, John Edwards scumbaggier, the Obama campaign better-run and the Clintons’ contempt for Barack Obama deeper than we imagined. Some of the stories that will make news: Ted Kennedy’s distaste at an arguably racist remark by Bill Clinton about Obama; Elizabeth Edwards’ nutty rampages; and McCain operatives’ guilt about foisting Palin on the country. “This shit,” the president-to-be repeatedly said to his team, “would be really interesting if we weren’t in the middle of it.” Game Change is really interesting, and puts you deep in the middle of it.
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