Race of a Lifetime – How Obama Won the White House by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin

There is something about the long lead in to an American presidential election that captures the imagination and the first Obama campaign was particularly interesting. Perhaps I should start by confessing that I had a little wager on Obama to win the Democratic nomination and to be elected President. It was a long shot when the bet was placed well ahead of any caucus or primary but it gave me a keen interest in what was happening in the US at the time. So when I saw a review somewhere of Race of a Lifetime: How Obama Won the White House there was never any question but that I would have to read the book. And what an interesting read it turned out to be. Crammed full of insights into the campaigns not just of Obama but also of Hillary Clinton, of John Edwards, of John McCain and, at the very end, of Sarah Palin. Ultimately, the book didn’t change my perceptions of any of these figures. If anything, it increased my respect for Hillary Clinton, and proved that no matter what they say about Bill Clinton I am always going to be his fan, and tuned fairly strongly with the views I had already formed of McCain and Palin based on the media coverage of the campaign. I guess I learned more about Edwards than the others – perhaps because he didn’t get so many column inches on this side of the Atlantic. Would I recommend the book? Definitely. I found it a very easy and interesting read. Did it make me think? Yes, a little, especially about the relationship between money and democracy. I don’t often buy hardback non-fiction but this one was well worth the effort.