Reviews for Double Down : Game Change 2012

Booklist Reviews 2013 December #1
Oh, political junkies, it's 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. Fellow Mormons Jon Hunstman and Mitt Romney did not care for each other (Mrs. Huntsman felt Romney was part of the "Morman Mafia"); Chris Christie endorsed Romney but, behind his back, mocked the candidate's Fred McMurray persona; and, on the Democratic side, nobody, except the Obamas, liked Valerie Jarrett, who was nicknamed The Night Stalker for her after-hour visits to the First Family. But this is more than tittle-tattle. 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. While the book focuses on the election, it also delves into decisions being made at the White House that affected outcomes. This one is more clearly sourced than the previous book, and one incident in particular gives a hint as to how connected the authors were: In an early scene, the president is meeting dozens of advisors about the upcoming election, despite the fact he had been warned that talking with such a large group would lead to leaks. Obama, however, told everyone in the room he trusted them and proceeded to list his regrets about his first term. Six weeks later, he was informed that his list had leaked to two reporters writing a book on the 2012 election--Halperin and Heilemann. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Choice Reviews 2014 September
Halperin (Time magazine) and Heilemann (New York magazine) completed over 500 interviews with over 400 participants in the 2012 presidential campaign as well as many more shorter phone and e-mail communications. There are neither footnotes nor citations as the interviews were all on "deep background," which means that the authors do not identify their sources. What emerges is the definitive narrative of the 2012 presidential campaign. Writing in a down-to-earth style, the authors report a tale that is fascinating even though readers all know the ending. Their focus is on the candidates (Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Romney's Republican primary opponents) and the reasons behind their strategies and tactics. Readers who seek to confirm their view that either the Democratic or Republican camp was populated by saints while the other camp had mostly sinners will be disappointed as the authors find ineptitude and mendaciousness as well as wisdom and restraint in both camps. Political scientists who think they already know everything about the campaign will be forced to rethink their assumptions. Scholars will use this book as a source of facts about the campaign, and everyone will enjoy reading it. Summing Up: Essential. All readership levels. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Professionals/Practitioners. R. E. O'Connor National Science Foundation Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 December #2
Gossipy insider's account of the presidential election of 2012, the sequel to Halperin and Heilemann's best-selling Game Change (2009). Time senior political analyst Halperin and New York national affairs editor Heilemann, who both serve as senior political analysts at MSNBC as well, are respected and connected in the media and political worlds and well-sourced at the upper reaches of the Democratic and Republican parties. Not surprisingly, their views are conventional and close to the center, their attention trained on politics as sport (or, as the title suggests, as a high-stakes poker game) and politicians as personalities. Their focus is always on the candidates with the most buzz among not just voters, but the Washington, D.C., cognoscenti. In the Republican primaries, then, former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman--a relatively moderate former governor of Utah whom the Obama administration picked for his knowledge of Chinese, to earn points for bipartisanship and possibly to take out of the running for 2012--warrants an entire chapter, though he made almost no impression at all outside of the Beltway. On the other hand, Ron Paul, who lasted until the Republican National Convention and arguably altered the ideology of the grass-roots Republican party more than any other candidate, including the eventual nominee, Mitt Romney, is dismissed for his "kookiness," which "made him more likely to end up on a park bench feeding stale bread to the squirrels than become the Republican nominee." Still, Halperin and Heilemann offer a highly entertaining, dishy read, full of astonishing revelations about the strengths and, most intriguingly, the foibles of the nation's political stars and egos, including unforgettable portraits of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in particular. "[W]e have tried," write the authors, "to render the narrative with an unrelenting focus on the candidates and those closest to them--with an eye toward the high human drama behind the curtain." Like crack for political junkies. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2013 June #2

National political correspondent for New York magazine and senior political analyst for Time, respectively, Halperin and Heilmann scored big with Game Change, a New York Times best seller that chronicled the 2008 presidential election. Now they're back with coverage of the 2012 election.

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