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.
Praise for Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's Game Change
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“A fascinating account... Heilemann and Halperin serve up a spicy smorgasbord of observations, revelations, and allegations... The authors mix savvy political analysis in these pages with detailed reconstructions of scenes and conversations... Game Change leaves the reader with a vivid, visceral sense of the campaign and a keen understanding of the paradoxes and contingencies of history.”
Tim Rutten, Los Angeles 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.”
Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly
“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 doesnt hurt that Game Change reads more bodice ripper than Beltway.”
Clive Crook, Financial Times
“An amazing piece of work... Its the best book on a presidential campaign Ive 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.”
Praise for Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's Double Down
Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times:
"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."
Michael Kinsley, The New York Times Book Review:
“Chock-full of anecdotes, secret meetings, indiscreet remarks ... No one can compete [with Halperin and Heilemann]. Thats what it means to own the franchise. Its a small club: these two guys and Bob Woodward. And with this book, theyve earned their admission.”
“Sharp insights buttressed by startling indiscretions fill Double Down, a new account of Barack Obamas win over his 2012 Republican rival, Mitt Romney. This gripping book—a sequel to Game Change, a bestseller about Mr. Obamas 2008 path to the White House—cements the status of the authors as unrivalled chroniclers of campaign politics.”
“Many juicy disclosures ... [a] near-flawless narrative.”
Jeff Labrecque, Entertainment Weekly:
“Journalists Halperin and Heilemann dont lack for access, delivering another down-and-dirty account of an election that plays out like high-stakes high school cafeteria politics…. Double Down looks less like a sequel to 2008 than a tantalizing prequel to 2016. Im all-in.”
Peter Hamby, The Washington Post:
“Page-turning…. translat[es] insider politics for mass-market readers with behind-the-scenes reporting and Gonzo flair."
"Oh, political junkies, its time to feast on the red-and-blue deliciousness that was the 2012 election. As they did in their book about the previous presidential joust, Game Change (2010), the well-connected authors have worked their sources thoroughly to give readers a warts-and-all look at what went on behind the scenes. … Halperin and Heilemann give readers a real sense of why things shaped up the way the did, why events fell one way or the other, and who got clobbered as a result."
“Double Down succeeds by sticking to its story and having the main characters—Obama, Romney, Joe Biden and their key aides—reveal themselves through their actions. The result is a much more coherent experience of the campaign than readers could get by living through the contemporaneous news coverage. By letting the story do the work, the authors show us a lot.”
“Sharp writing and intriguing behind-the-scenes nuggets that are sure to get tongues wagging."
“Their in-depth look at the chaotic GOP primary also sheds light on the emerging schism between establishment Republicans and the Tea Party movement, which bubbled to the surface during the recent government shutdown. These insider insights help to breathe new life into old news, and make Double Down a must read for political junkies.”
“[Halperin and Heilemann] are without question two of politics ultimate insiders…Their first book about the 2008 election, Game Change, took the world of Washington by storm. Well theyve done it again. Their brand new book Double Down is stirring up just as much controversy.”
Ezra Klein, The Washington Post:
“Double Down... is a joyous romp through the seedy underbelly of presidential campaigning....Its also a marvel of reporting. Any time three staff members met in a room to badmouth a colleague or a candidate admitted to a moment of stress or self-doubt, ... John Heilemann and Mark Halperin appear to have been sitting in the corner, scribbling notes."
Joe Scarborough, MSNBC/Morning Joe:
“Done it before, and have done it again.”
“In many ways, an insight into America.”
Chris Matthews, MSNBC/Hardball:
“Great new book…. Great reportage.”
Barbara Walters, ABC-TV/The View:
“Authors of the bestselling book turned Emmy-winning HBO movie Game Change are telling all in their latest book ... It is terrific.”
“This is a great read.”
Lawrence ODonnell, MSNBCs The Last Word:
"I love this book.”
Anderson Cooper, AC360:
“Really fascinating details.”
Andrew Ross Sorkin, CNBC's Squawk Box:
“Buzz book of the moment.”
Dylan Byers, Politico:
“In an era when the most minute details of a presidential campaign are chronicled in endless tweets and seemingly instant eBooks they have published an old-fashioned print product filled with new revelations.”
Howard Kurtz, Fox News:
“Youd think there were no revelations left from the 2012 campaign, but Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, the Game Change duo, strike again in their new book.”
“Fascinating new insights.”
"Sizzling... They've done it again."
Willie Geist, MSNBC/Morning Joe:
"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.