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Extended Audio Sample Renegade: The Making of a President, by Richard Wolffe Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (625 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Wolffe Narrator: Arthur Morey Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 21 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.Renegadeis 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • 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

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Brian Ayres | 2/2/2014

    " I must admit that I voted and support Barack Obama, which might cloud the issue of why I read and enjoyed Richard Wolffe's analysis of his rise to power. However, Wolffe's book, while a touch long, is well-written and well-sourced and is not simply a blow-by-blow account of the 2008 primary and general election campaigns. Wolffe does steal a lot from Obama's two books, particularly Dreams from My Father, his autobiographical struggles with his racial identity. Wolffe uses Obama's words and experiences to illustrate just how Obama rose from Illinois obscurity to the presidency. Yes, Wolffe is a homer, having been given a dozen full-length interviews with Obama over the course of the campaign. I did find it a bit much when Wolffe continued to illustrate the literal emotions Obama evoked from senior staff like David Axelrod and Marty Nesbitt after speeches or rallies. But Wolffe does successfully show why Obama was a POLITICAL renegade. He did not wait in line after Hillary Clinton and took what he felt he could win. And he did it with his ideas and style. It is in this regard as to why Obama is angering those on the progressive left of the Democratic party, particularly by not overreaching on health care with a single-payer plan or upsetting teachers' unions by devising strategies to fire bad teachers. Don't let the Audacity of Hope rhetoric fool you. Obama is a realist and wants to keep winning. I like Obama not only for his ideas and intellect but because he was willing to turn pages on certain history, particularly the old tired arguments of the 1960s. While his win was truly historic and Wolffe's account amounts to a first draft, it is my hope that Obama's victory in 2008 will lessen the implicit biases of race and party. Call me naive, but isn't that what Hillary Clinton and John McCain called Obama until he won? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Aod | 2/1/2014

    " Everytime you read "community organizer": take a drink. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Soren | 2/1/2014

    " Mostly forgettable... skimmed through a big part of it. I think the Balz and the Plouffe books are better. Wolffe just doesn't seem to have the ability to find anything interesting to say. Glossing over the CW is not good enough... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ellie Revert | 1/29/2014

    " Glad I read this book by Richard Wolffe. We appreciate his views which we frequently see on Keith Olberman. "

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