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Book Review The Promise – President Obama Year One testtestteststarstar

Jonathan Alter

Simon & Schuster, hb, £18.99

Book Review: The Promise – President Obama Year One

Barack Obama’s first year as President saw him thrown into the deep end of American politics; his attempts to deal with an unwinnable war, an economic crisis and an army of Tea-Partiers, Birthers and assorted nuts attacking every decision are chronicled in Jonathan Alter’s well-informed book.

Alter clearly had plenty of access – there are excellent portraits of Obama and his team, detailed accounts of his handling of the economy and passage of the Healthcare Bill, and some eyebrow-raising tales of George Bush and John McCain’s economic cluelessness. But the book sails close to hagiography at times, and while chapters on Afghanistan and Obama’s approach to diplomacy are gripping and revealing, a 20 page account of the auto industry bailout will be of interest only to the most unhealthily obsessed of political nerds.

There’s also an uncomfortable amount of grasping at history: even the most insignificant decisions are ‘momentous’ or ‘unprecedented’. Although The Promise is often interesting, it’ll be a few years before the definitive account of Obama’s presidency can be written.

Posted on Saturday 2nd June 2012
Pete Sykes

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