The Promise: President Obama, Year One (Unabridged)
by Jonathan Alter
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Barack Obama's inauguration as president on January 20, 2009, inspired the world. But the great promise of "Change We Can Believe In" was immediately tested by the threat of another Great Depression, a worsening war in Afghanistan, and an entrenched and deeply partisan system of business as usual in Washington. Despite all the coverage, the backstory of Obama's historic first year in office has until now remained a mystery. In The Promise, Jonathan Alter, one of the country's most respected journalists and historians, uses his unique access to the White House to produce the first inside look at Obama's difficult debut. What happened in 2009 inside the Oval Office? What worked and what failed? What is the president really like on the job and off-hours, using what his best friend called "a Rubik's Cube in his brain?" These questions are answered here for the first time. We see how a surprisingly cunning Obama took effective charge in Washington several weeks before his election, made trillion-dollar decisions on the stimulus and budget before he was inaugurated, engineered colossally unpopular bailouts of the banking and auto sectors, and escalated a treacherous war not long after settling into office. The Promise is a fast-paced and incisive narrative of a young risk-taking president carving his own path amid sky-high expectations and surging joblessness. Alter reveals that it was Obama alone - "feeling lucky" - who insisted on pushing major health care reform over the objections of his vice president and top advisors. Alter takes the listener inside the room as Obama prevents a fistfight involving a congressman, coldly reprimands the military brass for insubordination, crashes the key meeting at the Copenhagen Climate Change conference, and bounces back after a disastrous Massachusetts election to redeem a promise that had eluded presidents since FDR.
Don't miss this one
I am an avid follower of the news and felt that I was generally in the know of governmental matters. How wrong I was. This book opened my eyes to the reality of what it must be like to be a president with an agenda of change and to be confronted with the Washington circle on day one. Admittedly, I am a supporter of Obama, but not because of his campaign message and his follow-through on that, but rather because of our country's dire need for him to be successful. If we had a Republican in office, my feelings wouldn't change, as our leadership must succeed, because our country is worth it, without question. What you will get from this book is what it must feel like to wear Obama's shoes in a very unfamiliar environment comprised of both our capital and capitol. Consider this book a new cable news channel, but with read meat and no fluff. Good job, Mr. Alter. I'll look forward to "Year Two."
Great Book - Period
This book is journalism in narrative form-- and great narrative and even better journalism at that. Jonathan Alter truly deserves the title of his profession.
I am a self-professed news addict, but I am far better informed for having ingested this fantastic read. I certainly plan to listen to it at least once more, especially the chapters pertaining to Obama's interactions with his top military commanders given recent upheavals in that quarter...
I sincerely hope that Alter is working on a second book covering Obama's second year, as between the resolution of Health Reform, the global economic crises, BP, and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there's certainly no shortage of material.
Mr Alter, great journalism at it's best!