Renegade: The Making of a President (英語) ペーパーバック – 2010/5/4
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Before the White House and Air Force One, before the TV ads and the enormous rallies, there was the real Barack Obama: a man wrestling with the momentous decision to run for the presidency, feeling torn about leaving behind a young family, and figuring out how to win the biggest prize in politics.
This book is the previously untold and epic story of how a political newcomer with no money and an alien name grew into the world’s most powerful leader. But it is also a uniquely intimate portrait of the person behind the iconic posters and the Secret Service code name Renegade.
Drawing on a dozen unplugged interviews with the candidate and president, as well as twenty-one months covering his campaign as it traveled from coast to coast, Richard Wolffe answers the simple yet enduring question about Barack Obama: Who is he?
Based on Wolffe’s unprecedented access to Obama, Renegade reveals the making of a president, both on the campaign trail and before he ran for high office. It explains how the politician who emerged in an extraordinary election learned the personal and political skills to succeed during his youth and early career. With cool self-discipline, calculated risk taking, and simple storytelling, Obama developed the strategies he would need to survive the onslaught of the Clintons and John McCain, and build a multimillion-dollar machine to win a historic contest.
In Renegade, Richard Wolffe shares with us his front-row seat at Obama’s announcement to run for president on a frigid day in Springfield, and his victory speech on a warm night in Chicago. We fly on the candidate’s plane and ride in his bus on an odyssey across a country in crisis; stand next to him at a bar on the night he secures the nomination; and are backstage as he delivers his convention speech to a stadium crowd and a transfixed national audience. From a teacher’s office in Iowa to the Oval Office in Washington, we see and hear Barack Obama with an immediacy and honesty never witnessed before.
Renegade provides not only an account of Obama’s triumphs, but also examines his many personal and political trials. We see Obama wrestling with race and politics, as well as his former pastor Reverend Jeremiah Wright. We see him struggling with life as a presidential candidate, a campaign that falters for most of its first year, and his reaction to a surprise defeat in the New Hampshire primary. And we see him relying on his personal experience, as well as meticulous polling, to pass the presidential test in foreign and economic affairs.
Renegade is an essential guide to understanding President Barack Obama and his trusted inner circle of aides and friends. It is also a riveting and enlightening first draft of history and political psychology.
From the Hardcover edition.
“The first of the President Obama books–and a good one–insightful, thorough, and straight.”
—Ben Bradlee, Washington Post
“If you really want to know what happened inside the Obama campaign, this is the one book that will take you there. My jaw dropped time and time again reading details that, despite the coverage, were never revealed in the long campaign. A clear-eyed, up-close look at the campaign, Renegade is the one Obama book that should not be missed.”
—Michele Norris, All Things Considered
“A superb achievement. With an almost painterly eye, compelling insights, and extraordinary access to Barack Obama and his inner circle, Richard Wolffe’s Renegade tells the hidden, dramatic story of the 2008 campaign and also reveals much we did not know about the 44th president’s life before politics. Wolffe’s brisk, well-written narrative is fully in the tradition of Theodore White and Richard Ben Cramer, capturing a pivotal presidential contest dominated by one of the most luminous figures in modern American history.”
—Michael Beschloss, author of Presidential Courage
“Many journalists covered the 2008 presidential campaign for newsrooms and blogvilles. Not the intrepid Richard Wolffe. With gumshoe persistence he tracked Barack Obama’s historic march to victory with grace and cunning. Renegade offers a deft mix of biography, personal reflection, British wit, and old-style journalism. Destined to be a classic in its genre.”
—Douglas Brinkley, professor of history, Rice University
“Politics is a lot like basketball–complete with drives up the middle, clutch rebounding, and smart head fakes. In Renegade, Richard Wolffe takes us inside the game through unparalleled access to candidate-turned-president Obama and through his own canny eye and wit. I learned something new on practically every page.”
—Gwen Ifill, Washington Week in Review and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
“This is an insightful, unusually moving, fully observed portrait of the improbable candidate and complicated man who would be president, a riveting backstage drama set just at the moment America’s third act prepared to debut. If Jefferson started the exalted but flawed exercise and Lincoln enlarged it, then with Richard Wolffe’s wonderful book–graced as it is with a journalist’s eye and a historian’s breadth and command–we are granted the gift of access to the second skinny lawyer from Illinois who would save our country. Marvelous.”
—Ken Burns, award-winning filmmaker
From the Hardcover edition.
Two days after this address, he approached award-winning journalist Richard Wolffe, who had been covering the Obama campaign for Newsweek Magazine ever since the candidate announced his run for the presidency on January 16, 2007. Wolffe, while interviewing Obama, told him that his story was largely unknown, even though he had written a bestselling memoir, Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. Wolffe said, “People want to know who you are. Who are you? That’s the question people are going to ask six months from now, and six years from now.” The candidate agreed with Wolffe’s assessment, and asked the journalist to write a “Theodore White kind of book” about the campaign. Mr. White won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 1962 for his book, The Making of the President, 1960, about the campaign between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy. He then went on to write outstanding books about the 1964,1968 and 1972 presidential campaigns.
Wolffe dismissed the notion of authoring a “Making of a Present-type” book. He said there was already too much press coverage. He told the future president, to my great dismay, that “publishers want partisan screeds nowadays. They don’t want reporting.” Wolffe then went on to say or think, “Teddy White. How archaic. The poor man, (Obama), doesn’t understand the media.” The condescension of the author is outrageous, as he terms obsolete the ever relevant Mr. White, and the “what sells in print naivetee” of Obama. That was a real turn-off for me.
Given the very nature of candidate Barak Obama, his lovely family, the historical significance of an African-American man entering the presidential campaign, with a woman, Hillary Clinton, as his leading contender, his eventual opponent, John McCain, with his own historic and dramatic story, and the unlikely choice of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential candidate – a journalist would have to be a total flop to write a bad book about such events. And Richard Wolffe is certainly no slouch.
Drawing on some twenty-four months of coverage and countless interviews with Barak Obama, Wolffe has attempted to answer the “Who is he?” question.
Because of all the media coverage of all the candidates and campaigns, there is little that surprised me in “Renegade,” which, by the way, was the Secret Service’s name for Obama during his candidacy. There are a few new tidbits, especially about events surrounding Hillary Clinton’s appointment as Secretary of State. I did find myself wishing for a Theodore White kind of book, however, with more objective coverage about both Democrat and Republican campaigns, their conventions and platforms, and more gossipy details of infighting, etc., from behind the scenes.
“Renegade gives us a more biased look at the amazing story of Barak Obama’s presidential run and his big win in November 2008. The reader is given a ring-side seat to the candidates long journey – from freshman senator, (99th out of 100 senators in seniority), who had trouble gaining admission to the Democratic convention in 2000 – to President of the United States. What a ride! Yet, there is something lacking here – perhaps the tension and excitement which would have come from a more bipartisan coverage.
I enjoyed the read, but I was a Hillary supporter long before I fell in line and campaigned for Obama. I would have liked to read, at the very least, an Obama & staff summary of why she lost the nomination. What were her biggest mistakes? The biggest mistakes her staff made? I’d like to know why in the world John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential candidate.
There are portions of the book, however, which are quite moving. I learned that the future President Obama is, in fact, a man of moral character, a family man and a brilliant man, with a natural ability to lead and the strength to tackle difficult issues with tremendous energy, and an openness and realistic optimism that inspires.
There are passages like: “His memoir revolved around something and someone not present in his childhood: his African father and his African American identity. Even that was a partial view, obscuring the role of his mother and grandparents: the white family that raised him. He was obviously black, yet he grew up with a white perspective. He was American, yet he grew up with an international perspective. He was a Democrat who sought to understand the Republican perspective. He was a moderate who spoke the language of radical change, and a progressive who spoke in moderate tones.” Now that is wonderful descriptive writing and right on target!
Unfortunately, Mr. Wolffe’s prose does not flow. He is all over the place with his timelines. In one paragraph he writes about an incident which takes place during the campaign for the Democratic Party’s nomination, and two paragraphs later he has the now president-elect making cabinet decisions. A few pages along, the reader gets excerpts of Obama debating McCain, and then we are back at the Iowa, and Nevada caucuses. There are few segues which allow the reader to smoothly make the transitions in time and place. I really expected more from this journalist, whom I respect and admire. And I would like to know who edited the book!
So, if you are an Obama fan, as I am, wait for this book to come out in a paperback, or buy it used, or borrow it. Save yourself the money of the hardback copy, because even though the book is interesting, it is not a “Must Read!” I give it 3.5 Stars for the writing and 4 Stars for the content.
wonderful feature provided by Amazon.com. Now it is not available. I may have errors
in punctuation or spelling and for that I apologize. Thank you.
Witness the opening scene of RENEGADE: "Election day starts in the samll
hours where the candidate has spent most of his last 626 days - on a plane.
Stuck to the gray plastic walls of the pressurized cabin are snapshots of his odyssey
across cities and fields, mountains and deserts, continents and oceans."
With this scene we are transported inside the presidential campaign of Barach
Obama, not through one-dimentional snapshots, but through a multi-layered portrait of the
man the Secret Service code-named "Renegade."
It is a campaign Wolffe calls a "hybred of corporate management and community
organizing, drawing half its drive from an executive boardroom and half from the street
politics of his young staff," a campaign based on "organization" and "inspiration," a
campaign staffed by hundreds: state directors, deputy state directors, caucus directors, field organizers, congregation captains at churches, and "Barack's Stars" at
high schols. a campaign considered "a giant self-help group where the therapy was politics." The stump speeches, the Race speech in Philadelphia, the warts and words of
the other Democratic and sometimes Republican candidates, and the stories behind the words: "All Fired Up. Ready to Go." And, "Yes, We Can." All are part of the book.
On a personal level, Wolffe's account took me back to 1960 and my first vote and my first campaign. I was a twenty-year-old college student in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
working night and day for JFK. I sat with his brother, Bobby, reading street names out
loud from bus schedules, repeating them until Bobby knew, without a doubt, how the locals
pronounced them. I sat with his sister, Eunice, carefully checking periods and commas in
press releases. When I was invited to work at the national convention in Los Angeles as
the Information Person at the Kennedy headquarters, I was ecstatic!
The campaign is only part of the story. Wolffe carefully details the self-
re creation of Barack Obama: his background, the how and why and when "Barry" became
"Barack." From the writings of Obama, the following passage touched my heart: "My
fierce ambitions might have been fuelled by my father, by my knowledge of his achieve-
ments and failures, by my unspoken desire to somehow earn his love, and by my resent-
ments and anger toward him, but it was my mother's fundamental faith in the goodness of
people and in the ultimate value of this brief life we've each been given that channelled
The real man is revealed in his relationships with his family, as well as in
his reactions to and opinions about a vast array of personalities. The following is an
alphabetical list of ten men, some surprising, some lesser-known, but all important to
Barack Obama: (1)George W. Bush (2)Frank Davis (3)W.E.B. DuBois (4)Brett Favre
(5)Jerry Kellman (6)Martin Luther King, Jr. (7)Bobby Rush (8)Cornell West
(9)Jeremiah Wright (10)Malcolm X.
To Richard Wolffe "synthesis," "compromise," and "sacred, shared stories" are
keys to understanding and answering the question: "Who is Barack Obama?"
Wolffe first came to my attention when I saw him on Countown with Keith Olber-
mann." Thank you, Keith! the book is based on 12 in-depth inteviews with Obama and
21 months of travel with his campaign for NEWSWEEK. Thank you, NEWSWEEK. The end
result is a fantastic Bob Woodwardesque narrative.