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The promise : President Obama, year one /
Jonathan Alter.
imprint
New York : Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2011, c2010.
description
xviii, 475 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
1439101205 (pbk.), 9781439101209 (pbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2011, c2010.
isbn
1439101205 (pbk.)
9781439101209 (pbk.)
contents note
Obama takes charge -- White House-in-waiting -- Grant Park -- The Cabinet maker -- Picking Hillary -- Instant President -- Historic inauguration -- Sea legs -- Zen temperament -- Rahmbo -- The shovel brigade -- Larry and Tim -- The un-Bubba -- The global reset -- Tyrannosaurus Rx -- Professor-in-chief -- Off-hours -- The skinny guy and the fat cats -- Modus Obama -- "Don't blow it!" -- Chaos-istan -- The perfect and the good -- Achievements.
abstract
Jonathan Alter, one of the country's most respected journalists and historians, uses his unique access to the White House to produce the first inside look at Obama's difficult debut. In Alter's telling, the real Obama is an authentic, demanding, unsentimental, and sometimes overconfident leader.
catalogue key
7318893
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [457]-462) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Jonathan Alter, a Chicago native, is the author of the bestseller The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope. He is a national affairs columnist for Newsweek and an analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. Alter lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with his wife, Emily Lazar. They have three children, Charlotte, Tommy, and Molly.
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, USA, 2010 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2010-07-26:
Alter's sharply observed narrative follows Obama and his dedicated staff through a difficult, turbulent, and mostly successful first year in office. He reads his book in pedestrian fashion, adding little in the way of color or emphasis. Still, Alter takes us through the material ably enough, and the recording's interest is boosted significantly by an interview appended to the end of the book with President Obama from late 2009. The president is calm and assured in making a case for his first year in office, but it is particularly illuminating to hear Alter subtly prod Obama into considering his successes-and his missteps. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Choice on 2011-02-01:
Alter, Newsweek columnist and analyst for NBC News, is an astute observer of presidents and the author of The Defining Moment (CH, Apr'07, 44-4624), an account of FDR's first 100 days. Here he presents an ably written, dispassionate account of Barack Obama's first year in the Oval Office. The book is aptly titled for an electorate that expected far-reaching changes after eight disastrous years with George W. Bush. In truth, Obama has accomplished a great deal but seems dogged by disappointed voters who expected more. Perhaps it is Obama's style, somehow chilly and devoid of feeling. Much was expected from John Kennedy, but his inventory is slight. Yet Obama comes up short despite many substantive accomplishments when weighed against the recalcitrant GOP opposition. Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Kennedy displayed anger and emotion when confronting their villains; Obama portrays himself as Mr. Cool. He wears a Nixon-like US flag lapel pin, oblivious that campaigning is over, risking media overexposure. Alter's convincing portrait of a president in search of his bearings will prove valuable to future historians if disappointing to Obama's supporters, who await promises fulfilled. Summing Up: Recommended. All readership levels. S. L. Harrison University of Miami
Appeared in Library Journal on 2010-06-01:
Alter's book takes up where David Remnick's The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama ends, closely scrutinizing all aspects of the Obama administration's first year. For this "journalistic history," Alter (senior editor, Newsweek; The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope) made use of over 200 interviews he conducted with legislators, staff, and the President himself. He assesses how successfully Obama has lived up to his own and the public's high expectations. Alter devotes several chapters to how the President and his economic point men, secretary of the treasury Timothy Geithner and director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Summers, framed domestic policy relating to the stimulus, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), bailouts, and job creation. The book's highlights include the health-care debate and details about how the President spends his downtime. Ultimately, Alter believes that Obama has received less credit than he deserves for saving the country from another depression, but he faults Obama for not using the bully pulpit effectively to connect with a fearful public and evade conservative criticism and the right-wing media. -VERDICT Although the details about economic policies may overwhelm the general reader, this thorough account will appeal to serious readers of current affairs and as a complement to Remnick's book.-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A deeply reported, soberly appraised account of the president's tumultuous first months in office. . . . The book is rich in the kinds of insider detail that make for an entertaining, as well as informative, reading experience. . . . When it comes to what we've all come to call the first draft of history, The Promise is more polished, and far more thoughtful, than most. For those attempting to get a fix on a fascinating but strangely elusive chief executive, it's essential reading." --Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times
"A deeply reported, soberly appraised account of the president's tumultuous first months in office. . . . The book is rich in the kinds of insider detail that make for an entertaining, as well as informative, reading experience. . . . When it comes to what we've all come to call the first draft of history,The Promiseis more polished, and far more thoughtful, than most. For those attempting to get a fix on a fascinating but strangely elusive chief executive, it's essential reading." --Tim Rutten,Los Angeles Times
“A deeply reported, soberly appraised account of the president’s tumultuous first months in office. . . . The book is rich in the kinds of insider detail that make for an entertaining, as well as informative, reading experience. . . . When it comes to what we’ve all come to call the first draft of history, The Promise is more polished, and far more thoughtful, than most. For those attempting to get a fix on a fascinating but strangely elusive chief executive, it’s essential reading.” --Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times
"An engaging, blow-by-blow account of the infancy of the Obama presidency. . . . Manna for political junkies. . . . Thoroughly researched . . . humanizes a figure considered periodically out-of-touch even by some of his admirers." --Carlo Wolff, The Boston Globe
"An engaging, blow-by-blow account of the infancy of the Obama presidency. . . . Manna for political junkies. . . . Thoroughly researched . . . humanizes a figure considered periodically out-of-touch even by some of his admirers." --Carlo Wolff,The Boston Globe
“An engaging, blow-by-blow account of the infancy of the Obama presidency. . . . Manna for political junkies. . . . Thoroughly researched . . . humanizes a figure considered periodically out-of-touch even by some of his admirers.” --Carlo Wolff, The Boston Globe
"A n impressively reported, myth-debunking and timely combination of journalism and history." --Harry Hurt III, The New York Times ("Off the Shelf" Sunday column)
"An impressively reported, myth-debunking and timely combination of journalism and history." --Harry Hurt III,The New York Times("Off the Shelf" Sunday column)
“A n impressively reported, myth-debunking and timely combination of journalism and history.” --Harry Hurt III, The New York Times (“Off the Shelf” Sunday column)
"Gives us a new perspective on the 44th president by providing a detailed look at his decision-making . . . and a keen sense of what it's like to work in his White House. . . . Alter uses his considerable access to the president and his aides to give us an informed look at No. 44's management style." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“Gives us a new perspective on the 44th president by providing a detailed look at his decision-making . . . and a keen sense of what it’s like to work in his White House. . . . Alter uses his considerable access to the president and his aides to give us an informed look at No. 44’s management style.” --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Jonathan Alter has delivered an exceptionally well-written account of President Obama's first year in office. Brimming with fresh and judicious ideas, his book fuses political analysis, subtle insights into the president's mind and policy debates into a fast-paced, crisis-filled story. "The Promise," based on more than 200 interviews with Obama and his close friends and aides, provides an uncommonly candid look inside a somewhat walled-off White House. . . . Alter's deeply reported and analytically arresting book takes Obama's story in subtler and more contradictory directions than it has gone before." --Matthew Dallek, The Washington Post Book World
"Jonathan Alter has delivered an exceptionally well-written account of President Obama's first year in office. Brimming with fresh and judicious ideas, his book fuses political analysis, subtle insights into the president's mind and policy debates into a fast-paced, crisis-filled story. "The Promise," based on more than 200 interviews with Obama and his close friends and aides, provides an uncommonly candid look inside a somewhat walled-off White House. . . . Alter's deeply reported and analytically arresting book takes Obama's story in subtler and more contradictory directions than it has gone before." --Matthew Dallek,The Washington Post Book World
“Jonathan Alter has delivered an exceptionally well-written account of President Obama's first year in office. Brimming with fresh and judicious ideas, his book fuses political analysis, subtle insights into the president's mind and policy debates into a fast-paced, crisis-filled story. "The Promise," based on more than 200 interviews with Obama and his close friends and aides, provides an uncommonly candid look inside a somewhat walled-off White House. . . . Alter's deeply reported and analytically arresting book takes Obama's story in subtler and more contradictory directions than it has gone before.” --Matthew Dallek, The Washington Post Book World
"Jonathan Alter is a diligent political reporter with more sources than the Mississippi. . . . A calm, solid narrative of the people and events of the first Obama year. . . . The book offers a cascade of detail to please any follower of politics." (This review also compares Alter to the great Walter Lippmann) --Zay N. Smith, Chicago Sun- Times
"Jonathan Alter is a diligent political reporter with more sources than the Mississippi. . . . A calm, solid narrative of the people and events of the first Obama year. . . . The book offers a cascade of detail to please any follower of politics." (This review also compares Alter to the great Walter Lippmann) --Zay N. Smith,Chicago Sun- Times
“Jonathan Alter is a diligent political reporter with more sources than the Mississippi. . . . A calm, solid narrative of the people and events of the first Obama year. . . . The book offers a cascade of detail to please any follower of politics.” (This review also compares Alter to the great Walter Lippmann) --Zay N. Smith, Chicago Sun- Times
"Jonathan Alter is the new Theodore H. White. . . .The first 12 months of an American presidency as nonfiction melodrama. The Promise is not a campaign rehash, but a well-informed chronicle, sometimes sober, often raucous. Other books will be written about Barak Obama's time in the White House; this snapshot fo 2009 will be a durable, well-thumbed guide." --Martin F. Nolan, San Francisco Chronicle
"Jonathan Alter is the new Theodore H. White. . . .The first 12 months of an American presidency as nonfiction melodrama.The Promiseis not a campaign rehash, but a well-informed chronicle, sometimes sober, often raucous. Other books will be written about Barak Obama's time in the White House; this snapshot fo 2009 will be a durable, well-thumbed guide." --Martin F. Nolan,San Francisco Chronicle
“Jonathan Alter is the new Theodore H. White. . . .The first 12 months of an American presidency as nonfiction melodrama. The Promise is not a campaign rehash, but a well-informed chronicle, sometimes sober, often raucous. Other books will be written about Barak Obama’s time in the White House; this snapshot fo 2009 will be a durable, well-thumbed guide.” --Martin F. Nolan, San Francisco Chronicle
Praise for The Promise
Praise forThe Promise
"The Promise offers an excellent opportunity to appraise Obama's initial efforts. Drawing on interviews with over 200 people, including the president and his top aides, Alter examines everything from the economic bailouts to the military surge in Afghanistan." --Jacob Heilbrunn, The New York Times Book Review
"The Promiseoffers an excellent opportunity to appraise Obama's initial efforts. Drawing on interviews with over 200 people, including the president and his top aides, Alter examines everything from the economic bailouts to the military surge in Afghanistan." --Jacob Heilbrunn,The New York Times Book Review
“The Promise offers an excellent opportunity to appraise Obama’s initial efforts. Drawing on interviews with over 200 people, including the president and his top aides, Alter examines everything from the economic bailouts to the military surge in Afghanistan.” --Jacob Heilbrunn, The New York Times Book Review
This item was reviewed in:
New York Times Book Review, May 2010
New York Times Full Text Review, May 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Barack Obama's inauguration as president on January 20, 2009, inspired the world. But the great promise of "Change We Can Believe In" was immediately tested by the threat of another Great Depression, a worsening war in Afghanistan, and an entrenched and deeply partisan system of business as usual in Washington. Despite all the coverage, the backstory of Obama's historic first year in office has until now remained a mystery. In The Promise: President Obama, Year One , Jonathan Alter, one of the country's most respected journalists and historians, uses his unique access to the White House to produce the first inside look at Obama's difficult debut. What happened in 2009 inside the Oval Office? What worked and what failed? What is the president really like on the job and off-hours, using what his best friend called "a Rubik's Cube in his brain?" These questions are answered here for the first time. We see how a surprisingly cunning Obama took effective charge in Washington several weeks before his election, made trillion-dollar decisions on the stimulus and budget before he was inaugurated, engineered colossally unpopular bailouts of the banking and auto sectors, and escalated a treacherous war not long after settling into office. The Promise is a fast-paced and incisive narrative of a young risk-taking president carving his own path amid sky-high expectations and surging joblessness. Alter reveals that it was Obama alone"feeling lucky"who insisted on pushing major health care reform over the objections of his vice president and top advisors, including his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who admitted that "I begged him not to do this." Alter takes the reader inside the room as Obama prevents a fistfight involving a congressman, coldly reprimands the military brass for insubordination, crashes the key meeting at the Copenhagen Climate Change conference, and bounces back after a disastrous Massachusetts election to redeem a promise that had eluded presidents since FDR. In Alter's telling, the real Obama is an authentic, demanding, unsentimental, and sometimes overconfident leader. He adapted to the presidency with ease and put more "points on the board" than he is given credit for, but neglected to use his leverage over the banks and failed to connect well with an angry public. We see the famously calm president cursing leaks, playfully trash-talking his advisors, and joking about even the most taboo subjects, still intent on redeeming more of his promise as the problems mount. This brilliant blend of journalism and history offers the freshest reporting and most acute perspective on the biggest story of our time. It will shape impressions of the Obama presidency and of the man himself for years to come.
Main Description
Barack Obama's inauguration as president on January 20, 2009, inspired the world. But the great promise of "Change We Can Believe In" was immediately tested by the threat of anotherGreat Depression, a worsening war in Afghanistan, and an entrenched and deeply partisan system of business as usual in Washington. Despite all the coverage, the backstory of Obama's historic first year in office has until now remained a mystery. In The Promise: President Obama, Year One , Jonathan Alter, one of the country's most respected journalists and historians, uses his unique access to the White House to produce the first inside look at Obama's difficult debut. What happened in 2009 inside the Oval Office? What worked and what failed? What is the president really like on the job and off-hours, using what his best friend called "a Rubik's Cube in his brain?" These questions are answered here for the first time. We see how a surprisingly cunning Obama took effective charge in Washington several weeks before his election, made trillion-dollar decisions on the stimulus and budget before he was inaugurated, engineered colossally unpopular bailouts of the banking and auto sectors, and escalated a treacherous war not long after settling into office. The Promise is a fast-paced and incisive narrative of a young risk-taking president carving his own path amid sky-high expectations and surging joblessness. Alter reveals that it was Obama alone--"feeling lucky"--who insisted on pushing major health care reform over the objections of his vice president and top advisors, including his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who admitted that "I begged him not to do this." Alter takes the reader inside the room as Obama prevents a fistfight involving a congressman, coldly reprimands the military brass for insubordination, crashes the key meeting at the Copenhagen Climate Change conference, and bounces back after a disastrousMassachusettselection to redeem a promise that had eluded presidents since FDR. In Alter's telling, the real Obama is an authentic, demanding, unsentimental, and sometimes overconfident leader. He adapted to the presidency with ease and put more "points on the board" than he is given credit for, but neglected to use his leverage over the banks and failed to connect well with an angry public. We see the famously calm president cursing leaks, playfully trash-talking his advisors, and joking about even the most taboo subjects, still intent on redeeming more of his promise as the problems mount. This brilliant blend of journalism and history offers the freshest reporting and most acute perspective on the biggest story of our time. It will shape impressions of the Obama presidency and of the man himself for years to come.
Main Description
Barack Obama’s inauguration as president on January 20, 2009, inspired the world. But the great promise of “Change We Can Believe In” was immediately tested by the threat of another Great Depression, a worsening war in Afghanistan, and an entrenched and deeply partisan system of business as usual in Washington. Despite all the coverage, the backstory of Obama’s historic first year in office has until now remained a mystery. In The Promise: President Obama, Year One , Jonathan Alter, one of the country’s most respected journalists and historians, uses his unique access to the White House to produce the first inside look at Obama’s difficult debut. What happened in 2009 inside the Oval Office? What worked and what failed? What is the president really like on the job and off-hours, using what his best friend called “a Rubik’s Cube in his brain?" These questions are answered here for the first time. We see how a surprisingly cunning Obama took effective charge in Washington several weeks before his election, made trillion-dollar decisions on the stimulus and budget before he was inaugurated, engineered colossally unpopular bailouts of the banking and auto sectors, and escalated a treacherous war not long after settling into office. The Promise is a fast-paced and incisive narrative of a young risk-taking president carving his own path amid sky-high expectations and surging joblessness. Alter reveals that it was Obama alone“feeling lucky”who insisted on pushing major health care reform over the objections of his vice president and top advisors, including his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who admitted that “I begged him not to do this.” Alter takes the reader inside the room as Obama prevents a fistfight involving a congressman, coldly reprimands the military brass for insubordination, crashes the key meeting at the Copenhagen Climate Change conference, and bounces back after a disastrous Massachusetts election to redeem a promise that had eluded presidents since FDR. In Alter’s telling, the real Obama is an authentic, demanding, unsentimental, and sometimes overconfident leader. He adapted to the presidency with ease and put more “points on the board” than he is given credit for, but neglected to use his leverage over the banks and failed to connect well with an angry public. We see the famously calm president cursing leaks, playfully trash-talking his advisors, and joking about even the most taboo subjects, still intent on redeeming more of his promise as the problems mount. This brilliant blend of journalism and history offers the freshest reporting and most acute perspective on the biggest story of our time. It will shape impressions of the Obama presidency and of the man himself for years to come.
Main Description
Barack Obama's inauguration as president on January 20, 2009, inspired the world. But the great promise of "Change We Can Believe In" was immediately tested by the threat of another Great Depression, a worsening war in Afghanistan, and an entrenched and deeply partisan system of business as usual in Washington. Despite all the coverage, the backstory of Obama's historic first year in office has until now remained a mystery. InThe Promise: President Obama, Year One, Jonathan Alter, one of the country's most respected journalists and historians, uses his unique access to the White House to produce the first inside look at Obama's difficult debut.What happened in 2009 inside the Oval Office? What worked and what failed? What is the president really like on the job and off-hours, using what his best friend called "a Rubik's Cube in his brain"? These questions are answered here for the first time. We see how a surprisingly cunning Obama took effective charge in Washington several weeks before his election, made trillion-dollar decisions on the stimulus and budget before he was inaugurated, engineered colossally unpopular bailouts of the banking and auto sectors, and escalated a treacherous war not long after settling into office.The Promise'is a fast-paced and incisive narrative of a young risk-taking president carving his own path amid sky-high expectations and surging joblessness. Alter reveals that it was Obama alone - "feeling lucky" - who insisted on pushing major health care reform over the objections of his vice president and top advisors, including his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who admitted that "I begged him not to do this." Alter takes the reader inside the room as Obama prevents a fistfight involving a congressman, coldly reprimands the military brass for insubordination, crashes the key meeting at the Copenhagen Climate Change conference, and realizes that a Senate candidate's gaffe about baseball in a Massachusetts special election will dash the big dream of his first year. In Alter's telling, the real Obama is an authentic, demanding, unsentimental, and sometimes overconfident leader. He adapted to the presidency with ease and put more "points on the board" than he is given credit for, but neglected to use his leverage over the banks and failed to connect well with an angry public. We see the famously calm president cursing leaks, playfully trash-talking his advisors, and joking about even the most taboo subjects, still intent on redeeming more of his promise as the problems mount.This brilliant blend of journalism and history offers the freshest reporting and most acute perspective on the biggest story of our time. It will shape impressions of the Obama presidency and of the man himself for years to come.
Main Description
In the Promise: President Obama, Year One, Jonathan Alter, one of the country's most respected journalists and historians, uses his unique access to the White House to Produce a revealing inside look at Obama's difficult debut. What happened inside the Oval Office? What worked and what failed? The Promise is a fast-paced and incisive narrative of a young risk-taking president carving his own path amid sky-high expectations and surging joblessness. This brilliant blend of journalism and history offers the freshest reporting and most acute perspective on the biggest story of our time. Book jacket.
Table of Contents
Author's Notep. ix
Prefacep. xv
Prologuep. 1
Obama Takes Chargep. 3
White House-in-Waitingp. 15
Grant Parkp. 34
The Cabinet Makerp. 45
Picking Hillaryp. 67
Instant Presidentp. 77
Historic Inaugurationp. 100
Sea Legsp. 110
Zen Temperamentp. 138
Rahmbop. 159
The Shovel Brigadep. 173
Larry and Timp. 189
The Un-Bubbap. 209
Global Resetp. 224
Tyrannosaurus Rxp. 244
Professor-in-Chiefp. 267
Off-hoursp. 291
The Skinny Guy and the Fat Catsp. 309
Modus Obamap. 325
"Don't Blow It!"p. 347
Chaos-istanp. 363
The Perfect and the Goodp. 395
Achievementsp. 422
Epilogue: 2010p. 435
Acknowledgmentsp. 452
Note on Sourcesp. 455
Notesp. 457
Indexp. 463
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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