Synopses & Reviews
In their runaway bestseller Game Change
, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann captured the full drama of Barack Obama's improbable, dazzling victory over the Clintons, John McCain, and Sarah Palin. With the same masterly reporting, unparalleled access, and narrative skill, Double Down
picks up the story in the Oval Office, where the president is beset by crises both inherited and unforeseen facing defiance from his political foes, disenchantment from the voters, disdain from the nation's powerful money machers, and dysfunction within the West Wing. As 2012 looms, leaders of the Republican Party, salivating over Obama's political fragility, see a chance to wrest back control of the White House and the country. So how did the Republicans screw it up? How did Obama survive the onslaught of super PACs and defy the predictions of a one-term presidency? Double Down
follows the gaudy carnival of GOP contenders ambitious and flawed, famous and infamous, charismatic and cartoonish as Mitt Romney, the straitlaced, can-do, gaffe-prone multimillionaire from Massachusetts, scraped and scratched his way to the nomination.
Double Down exposes blunders, scuffles, and machinations far beyond the klieg lights of the campaign trail: Obama storming out of a White House meeting with his high command after accusing them of betrayal. Romney's mind-set as he made his controversial 47 percent” comments. The real reasons New Jersey governor Chris Christie was never going to be Mitt's running mate. The intervention held by the presidents staff to rescue their boss from political self-destruction. The way the tense détente between Obama and Bill Clinton morphed into political gold. And the answer to one of the campaigns great mysteries how did Clint Eastwood end up performing Dada dinner theater at the Republican convention?
In Double Down, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann take the reader into back rooms and closed-door meetings, laying bare the secret history of the 2012 campaign for a panoramic account of an election that was as hard fought as it was lastingly consequential.
"Those hungry for political news will read Double Down for the scooplets and insidery glimpses it serves up about the two campaigns, and the clues it offers about the positioning already going on among Republicans and Democrats for 2016....The book testifies to its authors energetic legwork and insider access...creating a novelistic narrative that provides a you-are-there immediacy....They succeed in taking readers interested in the backstabbing and backstage maneuvering of the 2012 campaign behind the curtains, providing a tactile...sense of what it looked like from the inside." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Compulsively readable. Once begun, you cant put it down....Deeply and knowledgeably reported and presented with all the cool sophistication one would expect from two accomplished political reporters.” Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times
“What makes their book different from others, and so riveting, is the depth of their material....This is no dry history...Its pages brim with scandalous tidbits....This is a must-read for anyone interested in the cutthroat backroom hows and whys of a presidential campaign....And it doesn't hurt that Game Change reads more bodice ripper than Beltway.” Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly
“An amazing piece of work....It's the best book on a presidential campaign I've read by a mile. And its one of the best books on politics of any kind Ive read. As for entertainment value, I put it up there with Catch-22. It is in the top percentile in three quite separate dimensions. First, it is a remarkable feat of reporting. Where was everybody else while all this was going on? Second, it is politically sophisticated: Heilemann and Halperin are extremely smart. Third, it is an absolutely gripping read, because on top of everything else, they can write.” Clive Crook, Financial Times
John Heilemann and Mark Halperin set the national conversation on fire with their bestselling account of the 2008 presidential election, Game Change
. In Double Down
, they apply their unparalleled access and storytelling savvy to the 2012 election, rendering an equally compelling narrative about the circus-like Republican nomination fight, the rise and fall of Mitt Romney, and the trials, tribulations, and Election Day triumph of Barack Obama.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Heilemann and Halperin deliver another reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, Double Down offers a panoramic account of a campaign at once intensely hard fought and lastingly consequential. For Obama, the victory he achieved meant even more to him than the one he had pulled off four years earlier. In 2008, he believed, voters had bet on a hope; in 2012, they passed positive judgment on what he'd actually done, allowing him to avert a loss that would have rendered his presidency a failed, one-term accident. For the Republicans, on the other hand, 2012 not only offered a crushing verdict but an existential challenge: to rethink and reconstitute the party or face irrelevance — or even extinction. Double Down is the occasionally shocking, often hilarious, ultimately definitive account of an election of singular importance.
About the Author
Mark Halperin is an editor at large and a senior political analyst for Time
magazine, and a senior political analyst for MSNBC. Halperin, who has covered seven presidential elections, received his B.A. from Harvard University and resides in New York City with Karen Avrich.
John Heilemann is the national affairs editor for New York magazine and a political analyst for MSNBC. An award-winning journalist and author of Pride Before the Fall, he is a former staff writer for The New Yorker, Wired, and The Economist. He lives in Brooklyn.