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Extended Audio Sample Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics Audiobook, by Anonymous Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 53.63 out of 5 3.63 (35 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Anonymous Narrator: Peter Francis James Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 1996 ISBN: 9781436146654
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The best political novel of the year by a landslide, Primary Colors is the riveting story of a governor-from-a-small-state’s quest for the presidency, and a jaded Beltway insider’s search for a leader to believe in. Spending nearly a year on the New York Times bestseller list, this blockbuster novel has sold well over one million copies. Primary Colors offers a richly detailed look at life on the political stump.

As former congressional aide Henry Burton is dazzled and lured into presidential hopeful Jack Stanton’s fledgling campaign, he becomes a cog in Stanton’s unstoppable political machine. Burton illuminates—through his actions and observations—the sometimes seamy, sometimes steamy and sometimes surprisingly noble ascent to the presidency. Filled with spin doctors, power brokers, and loyal followers, this story of a presidential race spans the spectrum from bedroom farce to high moral drama.

Narrated with commanding presence by Peter Francis James, Primary Colors paints such an authentic picture of national politics that it’s become the most talked-about novel of the political season.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A rollicking new satire…an entertaining…and often very funny look at the daily workings of a political campaign.”

    New York Times

  • “Thrills aplenty. Primary Colors is great fun. The descriptions of the campaign trail, from the union-hall meetings to the rubber-chicken dinners, are superb, as is the portrayal of Stanton’s relationship with his wife, Susan.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “An exceptional novel…A deftly drawn, wonderfully knowing portrait of our national bloodsport—politics.”

    USA Today

  • “The dialogue throws sparks, capturing perfectly the lingo of political professionals. [The author] is a writer of considerable gifts; he has intimate knowledge of the political world.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “[A] crackling, highly perceptive study…The literary sophistication on display—the shaping of the story, the characterizations, the atmosphere, the dialogue—is so considerable…Stands as a definitive political novel for these uneasy times…At once explosively funny and tragic.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “A marvelously down-and-dirty chronicle of a presidential campaign that will make your eyes water, and some more famous eyes burn, in recognition…This is a delicious gift for your friends who still believe that politics and politicians have the answers.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alex Henke | 2/8/2014

    " Am including this book in my list of Top 40 Finest Novels. Beautifully written -- entertaining and disturbing, but also quite funny in many parts. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd | 2/4/2014

    " A great political story about the presidential candidate of Jack Stanton, a Clinton-esque figure. For anyone who wanted to peer inside of a campaign, it is great story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 2/2/2014

    " Back when I read this book, the author was Anonymous, but as we all know now, Anonymous is Joe Klein. Great narration by Peter Francis James. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lily | 1/21/2014

    " I general, I can find it difficult to finish things. But I usually finish books. However, this book got so boring that I had to stop. I am in the middle, maybe page 188. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 1/19/2014

    " An excellent look at the political machine. A very thinly vieled fictional account of Bill Clinton's initial run for the presidency. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jon | 1/7/2014

    " Take away the guessing game as to which elements were actually inspired by the Clinton campaign and you've got an average read that flies off the rails at the end with a Bizzaro World version of Deus ex machina. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Claudia | 1/6/2014

    " Not enough of a political geek to get on with this book "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Lynne Williams | 1/5/2014

    " Lost my support when the first edition did not have his real name. Shrug. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Noah | 12/4/2013

    " Not exactly great literature, and certainly not educational, but it's not a bad read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 11/29/2013

    " I remember writing down this quote: "He could have been a good man, if he hadn't been trying to be a great man." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brien | 11/11/2013

    " Interesting take on campaign politics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laura | 11/7/2013

    " I liked the movie, and finally decided to read the book. Really well-written, great story, excellent characters. Recommended for any political junkie! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren Whitehead | 4/3/2013

    " One of my absolute favorite books. Funny, smart, provocative. Seriously: you should read this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalie | 3/12/2013

    " I'm pretty sure this book wasn't supposed to make me love the Clintons more, but it did. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Art | 2/23/2013

    " If you liked the movie you'll really like the book, and yes, it's a novel about the Clinton campaign (but without using real names) and how people found emotionally themselves tied to him. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 2/11/2013

    " I really liked this, much more than I was expecting to. The cliffhanger at the end was a little annoying but better than either of the alternative possibilities. It has stood the test of time quite well and it was interesting to draw parallels between Jack Stanton and the Obama administration. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Yukari | 12/15/2012

    " I just remembered reading it. It may feel different now, but when this book was published, it was shockingly interesting. Most of us didn't know how political campaign was run. This book revealed something new. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kara | 11/21/2012

    " The movie is exactly like the book. I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the book if I hadn't seen the movie first...which is the exact opposite usually. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shani | 10/24/2012

    " I had forgotten how much I loved this book, as, I haven't read it in nearly 20 years. The story is solid and stands the test of time well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jess Driscoll | 8/4/2012

    " page 39: The kids hadn't found our campaign sufficiently inspiring to drop out of college yet. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Getout Ofmybookcorner | 6/30/2012

    " A fascinating and yet worring look into American politics behind the scenes. Glad to be British. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 12/15/2011

    " An intersting "fictionalized" look inside the first Bill Clinton presidential campaign. Kinda makes me sorry I voted for him. Of course the whole impeachment thing made me sorry too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cpm | 8/23/2011

    " still holds up and worth a read during a presidential election. makes me like clinton more for all his imperfections, a blend of cynical political savvy and compassionate idealism. good reminder, if one was needed, that no candidate, however good he seems, is going to be the saviour he claims. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry | 8/8/2011

    " Political novel about a Southern governor who runs for president. Seems to be inspired by Clinton's campaign. Top aide is the narrator. Story is rather engaging because its easy to understand thirst for power and how abuses of power are exploited by a populace machine that wants scandal. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Briana | 3/18/2011

    " Read it this summer for the second time because law school left me hankering for salacious politics, apparently. Not as good as I remembered, but still an interesting perspective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 3/7/2011

    " Somewhat dismal in terms of literary depth, but a fascinating example of literary notions about political themes and pretty addictive in behind-the-scenes campaign hideousness. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megamarie | 2/19/2011

    " So I was able to finish reading the book a few hours ago and I was like whoa! I hate politics! The characters looks like power greedy people! They are almost heartless. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cathy | 1/10/2011

    " Oh, is this about Bill Clinton? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd | 12/26/2010

    " A great political story about the presidential candidate of Jack Stanton, a Clinton-esque figure. For anyone who wanted to peer inside of a campaign, it is great story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renee | 10/3/2010

    " I had seen the film years ago & just got around to reading the book. Both, I think, were well done & gave good insight into the Clinton mindset/mentality/what-have-you. Worth a read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeremy | 8/12/2010

    " Interesting and amusing, but it's no Chris Buckley. Go read The White House Mess. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Briana | 7/29/2010

    " Read it this summer for the second time because law school left me hankering for salacious politics, apparently. Not as good as I remembered, but still an interesting perspective. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pam | 7/18/2010

    " Not sure what I expected but this was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Klein makes you laugh aloud and cringe at some of this characterizations of political figures. Don't miss - I particularly loved the Hilary character and enjoyed dissecting what she did and why. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alisa | 5/28/2010

    " Read this when it first came out amidst all the hype that it was a true insiders view even though fiction that was rumored to be loosely based on Bill Clinton. Zzzzzz, I found it rather predictable and not so much the insiders view. Humorous at times. Meh ~ "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 12/3/2009

    " Back when I read this book, the author was Anonymous, but as we all know now, Anonymous is Joe Klein. Great narration by Peter F "

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About the Narrator

Peter Francis James is an accomplished actor on both the stage and the screen. His theater credits include roles in On Golden Pond, Much Ado about Nothing, and August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean. His many film and television credits include Jahfree Neema in Oz, Raymond Parks in The Rosa Parks Story, Joe Gould’s Secret, The Guiding Light, Law & Order: SVU, and Third Watch.