Double Down by Mark Halperin
Game Change 2012

64%

21 Critic Reviews

This is a book for political animals, especially those who enjoy a fun read. Researchers looking for carved-in-stone political history, however, might want to look elsewhere for the story of last year’s presidential campaign.
-Washington Times

Synopsis

Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times:
"Those hungry for political news will read Double Down for the scooplets and insidery glimpses it serves up about the two campaigns, and the clues it offers about the positioning already going on among Republicans and Democrats for 2016 ... The book testifies to its authors’ energetic legwork and insider access... creating a novelistic narrative that provides a you-are-there immediacy... They succeed in taking readers interested in the backstabbing and backstage maneuvering of the 2012 campaign behind the curtains, providing a tactile... sense of what it looked like from the inside."

In their runaway bestseller Game Change, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann captured the full drama of Barack Obama’s improbable, dazzling victory over the Clintons, John McCain, and Sarah Palin. With the same masterly reporting, unparalleled access, and narrative skill, Double Down picks up the story in the Oval Office, where the president is beset by crises both inherited and unforeseen—facing defiance from his political foes, disenchantment from the voters, disdain from the nation’s powerful money machers, and dysfunction within the West Wing. As 2012 looms, leaders of the Republican Party, salivating over Obama’s political fragility, see a chance to wrest back control of the White House—and the country. So how did the Republicans screw it up? How did Obama survive the onslaught of super PACs and defy the predictions of a one-term presidency? Double Down follows the gaudy carnival of GOP contenders—ambitious and flawed, famous and infamous, charismatic and cartoonish—as Mitt Romney, the straitlaced, can-do, gaffe-prone multimillionaire from Massachusetts, scraped and scratched his way to the nomination.

Double Down exposes blunders, scuffles, and machinations far beyond the klieg lights of the campaign trail: Obama storming out of a White House meeting with his high command after accusing them of betrayal. Romney’s mind-set as he made his controversial “47 percent” comments. The real reasons New Jersey governor Chris Christie was never going to be Mitt’s running mate. The intervention held by the president’s staff to rescue their boss from political self-destruction. The way the tense détente between Obama and Bill Clinton morphed into political gold. And the answer to one of the campaign’s great mysteries—how did Clint Eastwood end up performing Dada dinner theater at the Republican convention?

In Double Down, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann take the reader into back rooms and closed-door meetings, laying bare the secret history of the 2012 campaign for a panoramic account of an election that was as hard fought as it was lastingly consequential.
 

About Mark Halperin

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John Heilemann is the national political correspondent and columnist for New York magazine. An award-winning journalist and the author of Pride Before the Fall: The Trials of Bill Gates and the End of the Microsoft Era, he is a former staff writer for The New Yorker, Wired, and The Economist. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.Mark Halperin is editor-at-large and senior political analyst for Time magazine. He is the author of The Undecided Voter's Guide to the Next President and the coauthor of The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008. He has covered six presidential elections, including during his decade as the political director for ABC News. He lives in Manhattan.
 
Published November 5, 2013 by Penguin Books. 514 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, History, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Nov 24 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Double Down
All: 21 | Positive: 13 | Negative: 8

Kirkus

Good
on Nov 20 2013

Gossipy insider’s account of the presidential election of 2012, the sequel to Halperin and Heilemann’s best-selling Game Change (2009)...Like crack for political junkies.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Michael Kinsley on Nov 07 2013

Trouble is, to write an exciting book of political trivia about the 2008 campaign is one thing. To do the same about 2012 is another...Halperin and Heilemann try hard to pump some drama into 2012.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Nov 04 2013

...those hungry for political news will read “Double Down” for the scooplets and insidery glimpses it serves up about the two campaigns, and the clues it offers about the positioning already going on among Republicans and Democrats for 2016.

Read Full Review of Double Down: Game Change 2012 | See more reviews from NY Times

Blog Critics

Excellent
Reviewed by Luke Goldstein on Dec 02 2014

Double Down is great for political junkies, but even better for those turned off by the dryness of cable news delivery. It’s juicy, dramatic and infused with the play-by-play action of Washington’s favorite contact sport.

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NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Levin on Jul 12 2014

...if you read this book, you’ll find yourself hungering not just for the midterm elections but for an early start to 2016.

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WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by Gerard Baker on Nov 04 2013

Mark Halperin and John Heilemann authored a megaselling account of the 2008 drama, "Game Change." Their sequel, "Double Down," struggles to achieve the melodramatic heights of four years earlier...

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Washington Times

Below average
Reviewed by Wes Vernon on Jan 14 2014

This is a book for political animals, especially those who enjoy a fun read. Researchers looking for carved-in-stone political history, however, might want to look elsewhere for the story of last year’s presidential campaign.

Read Full Review of Double Down: Game Change 2012 | See more reviews from Washington Times

The Economist

Good
on Nov 09 2013

This gripping book—a sequel to “Game Change”, a bestseller about Mr Obama’s 2008 path to the White House—cements the status of the authors as unrivalled chroniclers of campaign politics.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Jeff Labrecque on Nov 20 2013

In some ways, in fact, Double Down looks less like a sequel to 2008 than a tantalizing prequel to 2016. I’m all-in.

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The Washington Post

Above average
Reviewed by Associated Press on Nov 14 2013

For political junkies missing the drama of presidential election years, a new book on the 2012 race — exhaustive and replete with juicy details — may tide you over.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Peter Hamby on Nov 01 2013

The Nate Silver wing of the Internet will almost surely gripe that the book is an example of political journalism’s worst instincts — it’s too dependent on the hunches and agendas of sources rather than hard measures of why Obama won.

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Booklist Online

Good
Reviewed by Ilene Cooper on Nov 27 2013

...the well-connected authors have worked their sources thoroughly to give readers a warts-and-all look at what went on behind the scenes.

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The Boston Globe

Good
Reviewed by Michael Patrick Brady on Nov 12 2013

These insider insights help to breathe new life into old news, and make “Double Down” a must read for political junkies.

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Daily Kos

Below average
Reviewed by wmspringer on Nov 10 2013

For the most part, the writing is very good and kept me turning pages. The authors do have an annoying tendency to never use a common word where an obscure word will do, which detracts from the readability; I consider myself to have a pretty good vocabulary, but I found myself pulling out my phone more than once...

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Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Jeff Labrecque on Nov 05 2013

With Double Down, the two “inside” journalists pick through the carcasses of the losing side, shed light on the decisions of the victors, and wrap every chapter conclusion with an unwritten postscript that seems to say, “Is this really the best way to pick a leader?”

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Salt Lake Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Daniel Akst on Nov 16 2013

Although not psychologically deep, "Double Down" succeeds by sticking to its story and having the main characters — Obama, Romney, Joe Biden and their key aides — reveal themselves through their actions.

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Inside Higher Ed

Above average
Reviewed by Joshua Kim on Nov 13 2013

By far the most interesting character in Double Down is not Obama or Romney, but Chris Christie...Double Down will be a great launching pad for Christie in 2016.

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Think Progress

Below average
Reviewed by JUDD LEGUM on Nov 01 2013

...the experience has been less enriching for readers looking to get an accurate view of the campaign. Instead, it’s an amalgamation of largely unverifiable gossip...

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The American Prospect

Below average
Reviewed by WALTER SHAPIRO on Nov 15 2013

Even when the scenes in Double Down are vivid, their significance is often lost on anyone other than a few charter members of that informal coterie of political insiders that Halperin used to call the “Gang of 500.”

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Houston Press

Above average
Reviewed by Calvin TerBeek on Nov 08 2013

This book -- and its 2008 predecessor -- are like political pornography for political junkies. And I mean that both as praise and pejoratively.

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GenerationgBooks

Below average
on Nov 27 2013

...it’s not in my all-time favorite political book top 10. I think it was just the cast of characters that didn’t call out to me as they did the last election. There wasn’t a lot of excitement here.

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Reader Rating for Double Down
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Budd Bailey 26 May 2014

Some good information is contained here, but the writing style is very, very odd -- too clever by half. It jumps from words that most people wouldn't even know to political talk that most people wo...

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