"This shit would be really interesting if we weren't in the middle of it." Barack Obama, September 2008
In 2008, the presidential election became blockbuster entertainment. Everyone was watching as the race for the White House unfolded like something from the realm of fiction. The meteoric rise and historic triumph of Barack Obama. The shocking fall of the House of Clintonand the improbable resurrection of Hillary as Obama's partner and America's face to the world. The mercurial performance of John McCain and the mesmerizing emergence of Sarah Palin.
Based on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, Game Change is a reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, this is the occasionally shocking, often hilarious, ultimately definitive account of the campaign of a lifetime.
Heilemann, a columnist for New York magazine, and Halperin, the senior political analyst for Time, have conducted hundreds of interviews to provide the inside story of the 2008 campaign, longer on vignettes and backstage gossip than on analysis. But if their racy account provides little context for Obama's rise, it vividly shows how character flaws large and small caused his opponents to self-destruct. The narrative also reinforces the familiar argument that a presidential campaign provides one important test of a candidate's ability to govern.