kode adsense disini
Hot Best Seller

The World As It Is: Inside the Obama White House

Availability: Ready to download

This is a book about two people making the most important decisions in the world. One is Barack Obama. The other is Ben Rhodes. The World As It Is tells the full story of what it means to work alongside a radical leader; of how idealism can confront reality and survive; of how the White House really functions; and of what it is to have a partnership, and ultimately a friend This is a book about two people making the most important decisions in the world. One is Barack Obama. The other is Ben Rhodes. The World As It Is tells the full story of what it means to work alongside a radical leader; of how idealism can confront reality and survive; of how the White House really functions; and of what it is to have a partnership, and ultimately a friendship, with a historic president. A young writer and Washington outsider, Ben Rhodes was plucked from obscurity aged 29. Chosen for his original perspective and gift with language, his role was to help shape the nation’s hopes and sense of itself. For nearly ten years, Rhodes was at the centre of the Obama Administration – first as a speechwriter, then a policymaker, and finally a multi-purpose aide and close collaborator. Rhodes puts us in the room at the most tense and poignant moments in recent history: starting every morning with Obama in the Daily Briefing; waiting out the bin Laden raid in the Situation Room; reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran; leading secret negotiations with the Cuban government; confronting the resurgence of nationalism that led to the election of Donald Trump. This is the most vivid portrayal yet of Obama’s presidency. It is an essential record of the last decade. But it also shows us what it means to hold the pen, and to write the words that change our world.


Compare
kode adsense disini

This is a book about two people making the most important decisions in the world. One is Barack Obama. The other is Ben Rhodes. The World As It Is tells the full story of what it means to work alongside a radical leader; of how idealism can confront reality and survive; of how the White House really functions; and of what it is to have a partnership, and ultimately a friend This is a book about two people making the most important decisions in the world. One is Barack Obama. The other is Ben Rhodes. The World As It Is tells the full story of what it means to work alongside a radical leader; of how idealism can confront reality and survive; of how the White House really functions; and of what it is to have a partnership, and ultimately a friendship, with a historic president. A young writer and Washington outsider, Ben Rhodes was plucked from obscurity aged 29. Chosen for his original perspective and gift with language, his role was to help shape the nation’s hopes and sense of itself. For nearly ten years, Rhodes was at the centre of the Obama Administration – first as a speechwriter, then a policymaker, and finally a multi-purpose aide and close collaborator. Rhodes puts us in the room at the most tense and poignant moments in recent history: starting every morning with Obama in the Daily Briefing; waiting out the bin Laden raid in the Situation Room; reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran; leading secret negotiations with the Cuban government; confronting the resurgence of nationalism that led to the election of Donald Trump. This is the most vivid portrayal yet of Obama’s presidency. It is an essential record of the last decade. But it also shows us what it means to hold the pen, and to write the words that change our world.

30 review for The World As It Is: Inside the Obama White House

  1. 5 out of 5

    Malia

    “Progress doesn’t move in a straight line.” ― Ben Rhodes, The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House Fellow fans of Pod Save America will recognize Ben Rhodes from his many visits to the podcast, others will know his name as that of Obama's Deputy Security Advisor and confidante. This book is sold as Rhodes memoir, but it is really more the story of the way his life wrapped around the eight years he worked in the White House. This book is very well written and though long, engaging fro “Progress doesn’t move in a straight line.” ― Ben Rhodes, The World as It Is: A Memoir of the Obama White House Fellow fans of Pod Save America will recognize Ben Rhodes from his many visits to the podcast, others will know his name as that of Obama's Deputy Security Advisor and confidante. This book is sold as Rhodes memoir, but it is really more the story of the way his life wrapped around the eight years he worked in the White House. This book is very well written and though long, engaging from start to finish. It is strange, because before Trump won the election, I basically never read non-fiction and since then, I have been reaching for books in the genre ever more often. I really enjoyed this book even as I felt melancholy that it was working towards what I saw as a sad ending, Obama leaving office. Though Rhodes is undeniably very fond of Obama and has great respect for him, he does not shy away from mentioning times the president was annoyed or frustrated and the fact that Rhodes personal life suffered from the all-consuming role he played in the White House. This book gives great insight into situations no ordinary person will likely ever witness, and I was left impressed, feeling greatly more informed than before, and very sad that Barack Obama, a thoughtful leader, prone to contemplation, and who valued diplomacy, has been replaced by his complete opposite. An absolutely worthwhile read! Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    Man this book was frustrating--on a few levels: 1. Because I so badly miss the obama administration's unassailable good faith and their desire to actually not do stupid shit. 2. Because they did do so much stupid shit because they misunderstood the "other side." Either Assad in Syria, the Republicans, Trump, Bibi, etc. Obama was way too chill to fight. 3. The entire focus seemed to be on foreign policy and that's too bad because there was so much to be fixed on the domestic front. 4. How naive t Man this book was frustrating--on a few levels: 1. Because I so badly miss the obama administration's unassailable good faith and their desire to actually not do stupid shit. 2. Because they did do so much stupid shit because they misunderstood the "other side." Either Assad in Syria, the Republicans, Trump, Bibi, etc. Obama was way too chill to fight. 3. The entire focus seemed to be on foreign policy and that's too bad because there was so much to be fixed on the domestic front. 4. How naive they were about Trump and Putin. 5. How much racism Obama had to deal with. 6. The public narrative of Obama's racial identity doesn't quite match what I heard in here. Obama seemed to constantly "get it" and I think most people assume that he was naive about race. He wasn't. He just felt muzzled (see #2). Anyway, until the Obama memoirs, I think this is as close an insider account as we're gonna get. It's a good read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    The memoirs of Obama staffers are starting to come out now. I enjoy reading these political insider memoirs. I am aware they are biased to their own beliefs. I attempt to stay neutral and read these memoirs from both sides of the political divide. By doing this I hope to obtain a better understanding of the events. This one is by Ben Rhodes who was Obama’s speechwriter and national security staffer. The book provides a look inside the Obama years. He states he is telling the story “of the journey The memoirs of Obama staffers are starting to come out now. I enjoy reading these political insider memoirs. I am aware they are biased to their own beliefs. I attempt to stay neutral and read these memoirs from both sides of the political divide. By doing this I hope to obtain a better understanding of the events. This one is by Ben Rhodes who was Obama’s speechwriter and national security staffer. The book provides a look inside the Obama years. He states he is telling the story “of the journey from idealism to realism”. I enjoyed that Rhodes provides lots of interesting anecdotes as well as mixing his personal story into the current events. This allowed me to view the events through his eyes and emotions. The book is extremely well written and is easy to read. The book is also well researched. Rhodes has a master’s degree in creative writing and is a gifted writer. Rhodes paints himself in a positive manner, but does point out some of his bad habits and mistakes. The book provides inside information about how race played a role during Obama’s presidency. I was somewhat surprised and ashamed at the poor manners, attitude and obstructionism of the republicans toward Obama throughout his years in office. Is it just my impression or was the republican opposition to Obama personal or racial rather than ideological? This is not the typical political memoir. For those readers interested in this area, the book will not disappoint. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is almost sixteen hours long. Mark Deakins does an excellent job narrating the book. Deakins is an actor and audiobook narrator. He has won multiple Earphone Awards as well as voted Best Voice by Audiofile Magazine.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mal Warwick

    I rarely read political memoirs, because so often they're one-sidedly partisan and self-serving. They tend to lack any sense of balance. For example, though I didn't read Hillary Clinton's book about the 2016 election, I saw enough reviews to know that its primary purpose was to deflect blame for her defeat entirely onto other people, when in fact she herself contributed to the loss in several ways. Similarly, I have little hope for most of the dozens of tell-all books that former Obama aides ar I rarely read political memoirs, because so often they're one-sidedly partisan and self-serving. They tend to lack any sense of balance. For example, though I didn't read Hillary Clinton's book about the 2016 election, I saw enough reviews to know that its primary purpose was to deflect blame for her defeat entirely onto other people, when in fact she herself contributed to the loss in several ways. Similarly, I have little hope for most of the dozens of tell-all books that former Obama aides are now turning out. But, judging from the reviews, Ben Rhodes' new memoir seemed different. It is. In The World As It Is, one of Barack Obama's key White House aides tells the story of his experience in the 2008 election campaign, followed by eight years involved in the Administration's foreign policy work. In Washington, Rhodes "had two formal jobs—one as the deputy director of White House speechwriting, and one as the senior director for speechwriting for the National Security Council." He was responsible for writing some of Obama's most memorable public statements. And, from his position in the National Security Council, Rhodes gained a front-row seat at several of the President's most important foreign policy initiatives, such as the killing of Osama bin Laden and the Iran nuclear arms agreement. In one crucial area his work was pivotal: he took the lead in negotiating the opening to Cuba. Eventually, he became "the one American official who could somehow be on the dais at Fidel Castro's funeral." If you got your perspective on the news during Obama's two terms from Fox, Breitbart, or right-wing talk radio, you'll instantly recognize Ben Rhodes' name. He became one of their favorite whipping-boys. As Deputy Director of the National Security Council for Communications, he was a familiar figure in the media. Republicans in Congress demonized him. Again and again, they held him responsible for a long list of invented sins connected to the trumped-up Benghazi investigations, the agreement with Iran, and the Cuban initiative. Given the chance, no doubt they'll dismiss The World As It Is out of hand. Rhodes reflects on the experience of being the target of conspiracy-mongers and politicians with no regard for the truth: "It was like you inhabited two parallel lives—one that made you who you were, and the other that was consuming that person, and transforming you into someone else." That's about as close as Rhodes ever gets to hyperbole. Rhodes is a skilled writer. The book is simply structured along chronological lines. His prose flows smoothly, and he provides just enough local color and personal detail to keep his account engaging. He is occasionally critical of others in the Administration but never nasty; almost everywhere, his obvious respect for the men and women he worked with comes through clearly. Obviously, too, he is an agile thinker. The conversations he reports between him and the President suggest not just close rapport but an intellectual partnership that few people could manage. You only have to read Obama's own books to understand how brilliant he is. Apparently, Rhodes was able to keep up with the man. Their exchanges, and Rhodes' reflections on the 2016 election and the closing days of the Obama Administration in the final chapter, are particularly insightful and moving. From an historical perspective, what stands out in this book is Rhodes' perspective on the events he witnessed: the ill-fated Arab Spring; the bombing of Libya; the negotiation of the Paris climate change agreement; the Bin Laden killing; the protracted process that preceded the Iran agreement; the debate over taking military action in Syria; the opening to Cuba; and the slowly dawning understanding of just how extensively the Russians had intervened in the 2016 election. This is a man who had a front-row seat on some of the most consequential events of our time. His account of the controversy over Obama's decision not to bomb Syria is especially telling: "Syria looked more and more like a moral morass—a place where our inaction was a tragedy, and our intervention would only compound the tragedy." This, of course, was very similar to Obama's own perspective. Rhodes' book has been widely reviewed, and at this writing it has been on the national bestseller lists for several weeks. The best review I've read is Peter Schjeldahl's in The New Yorker (June 18, 2018). Schjeldahl focuses on the author's evolution "from liberal idealism to a chastened appreciation of how American power can be more wisely harnessed to limited ends." In other words, Rhodes, who began work for Obama at the age of twenty-nine, absorbed Obama's worldview in the ten years he spent working closely with the man. Is that surprising?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Owlseyes

    Really, in what emotional stage is he now? He said "he" would never win the election, rather "she" would win. It turns out "he" won on the 8th of November 2016. So, he lost, so did "she". https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/05/30...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Rhodes was primarily a communications professional in the Obama White House, so it's not surprising at all that he's a great writer. He made some really complicated foreign policy situations very accessible and as a career bureaucrat myself, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the White House runs kind of like any other agency that I've ever worked for, only on a much larger scale, must faster, with much higher stakes. Two things that really stood out for me reading Rhodes' memoir. The first Rhodes was primarily a communications professional in the Obama White House, so it's not surprising at all that he's a great writer. He made some really complicated foreign policy situations very accessible and as a career bureaucrat myself, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that the White House runs kind of like any other agency that I've ever worked for, only on a much larger scale, must faster, with much higher stakes. Two things that really stood out for me reading Rhodes' memoir. The first was his descriptions of and interactions with Obama the human - not the President - but a stressed out Chief executive who runs a massive organization and isn't always super well served by the people who work for him. I've always assumed that Obama was a quality human that genuinely cared about the work he was doing and the people around him and Rhodes certainly paints that picture. What he also illuminates is that Obama is just a person, working an impossible job. He's funny, and he gets stressed and he cares about his co-workers and does normal things like the rest of us. I liked that Rhodes was able to strip away some of the celebrity of the president, and of Obama in particular. The second thing that I really took away as a positive was the very real personal toll that White House jobs take on the people that work them. Rhodes made conscious choices a number of times to stay in the White House and finish out Obama's term of office, and it's clear that it was a fraught decision every time, and that he made the choice because he believed that they were doing good in the world, and that the choice wasn't without serious downsides. The last chapter was incredibly poignant and I almost felt close to tears as Rhodes described the end of the administration and the massive change in his own life due to the end of the era. For anyone that is interested in a very well written, personal account of the highest levels of US foreign policy during the past decade, this is a must read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pedro Pinheiro

    An interesting and fluid read. The book covers the entire Obama's candidature and terms in office, dwelling especially on foreign policy. The narrative is coloured with personal stories and the author evolution on the job. Highly recommended for people that might be critical of Obama's foreign interventions (or lack thereof). As they say, everything is more complicated than it seems and this book shows that with excellent writing and storytelling.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    As I was finishing Ben Rhodes memoir of his years with President Obama's first campaign and eight years in the White House, tears came to my eyes for what we have lost. Rhodes was hired by the campaign for his foreign policy experience since he had worked for former Democratic Representative Lee Hamilton at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a DC think tank. He takes us through the arc of his service from the very first time he helped with debate prep during the campaign to th As I was finishing Ben Rhodes memoir of his years with President Obama's first campaign and eight years in the White House, tears came to my eyes for what we have lost. Rhodes was hired by the campaign for his foreign policy experience since he had worked for former Democratic Representative Lee Hamilton at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a DC think tank. He takes us through the arc of his service from the very first time he helped with debate prep during the campaign to the departure of the Obamas from the White House after the inauguration. Rhodes is an excellent writer telling the story in such a compelling manner that I was awake until after 3 in the morning reading even though I already knew the end of the story. What I found fascinating was his recounting of meetings with the President and staffers detailing how they decided to deal with the latest crisis that had sprung up somewhere in the world. Rhodes was the go-to speech writer for foreign issues throughout both terms and he explains how he and President Obama worked together to craft the Cairo speech, the campaign speech in Berlin and others that were so uplifting and impressive. He also gives the reader insight into what it is like to work daily in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the White House, but I think he conveys it even better than Mastromonaco did in her memoir of her Obama years. Since I'm a die-hard Democrat, I'm probably prejudiced, but this is a well written look at how politics in Washington D.C. works today. I highly recommend it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I really enjoyed this memoir by Ben Rhodes who was a speechwriter a national security advisor to President Obama for eight years. This book is basically a history of the foreign policy and international relations of the Obama administration. There is very little time spent looking at domestic issues outside of how international issues impact the administration politically. Rhodes writes very well (he has an MFA so that makes sense) and does a great job of mixing his personal story with the story I really enjoyed this memoir by Ben Rhodes who was a speechwriter a national security advisor to President Obama for eight years. This book is basically a history of the foreign policy and international relations of the Obama administration. There is very little time spent looking at domestic issues outside of how international issues impact the administration politically. Rhodes writes very well (he has an MFA so that makes sense) and does a great job of mixing his personal story with the story of Obama. I find it annoying that in many memoirs, there is far too much name-dropping but I did not see that in this book. My political lean left so I was very sympathetic to the struggles and frustrations discussed in the book. With that said, I didn't find that Rhodes went out of his way to attack the other side, and I think that anyone who enjoys politics and recent history could find enjoyment in this book and not think it was overly negative.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Simmons

    This clear-eyed, beautifully written political bildungsroman left me feeling nostalgic for the foreign policy years of the Obama presidency, and for that administration’s continual striving toward remaking the world as it is into the world as it ought to be.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Ben Rhodes, The World As It Is: Inside the Obama White House I couldn’t stop reading this book. I’d never heard of Ben Rhodes, but I liked him from the beginnning of the book. He thinks clearly and he writes well. He likes Obama for the same reasons I do. I admit that, though I voted for Obama, after he was elected (both times), I didn’t pay close attention. I don’t like politics much. This book filled me in on the details behind the headlines. Rhodes was a speech writer and a foreign affairs spe Ben Rhodes, The World As It Is: Inside the Obama White House I couldn’t stop reading this book. I’d never heard of Ben Rhodes, but I liked him from the beginnning of the book. He thinks clearly and he writes well. He likes Obama for the same reasons I do. I admit that, though I voted for Obama, after he was elected (both times), I didn’t pay close attention. I don’t like politics much. This book filled me in on the details behind the headlines. Rhodes was a speech writer and a foreign affairs specialist. He worked for Obama all 8 years, becoming closer to his boss and taking on more responsibility. In the end the negotiations with Cuba were almost entirely his responsibility. My first observation reading this book is that nothing much has changed with the Republicans in the current administration. I thought it had, that Republicans had somehow turned into ghouls and goblins, but I was wrong. They never respected Obama at all. They wanted to wipe him out entirely and Trump provided a convenient way to do it. I dislike Trump. He’s crude, sexist, fascist, racist, a serial liar who plays to our basest instincts. BUT what’s going on in the Republican Party right now is exactly what went on during the Obama administration when Republicans blocked the President at every turn. Now, it’s clear Republicans will not try to get rid of Trump even though most of them, privately, probably assess him pretty much as I do. But he facilitates their agenda. He can motivate the sexist, racist, fascist bottom feeders who right now are necessary for the success of the Republican Party. This book reminds me powerfully of the Obama accomplishments the current administration has been systematically wiping out. Even as this book details the Obama presidency I think only of how Trump tore it down. And getting the kudos from the bottom feeders so necessary for continued success. No other President, Republican or Democrat, has been so crude. Nor would any other of the possible 2016 Republican candidates have been so crude. But crude will be necessary to continue to feed the base.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kate Elizabeth

    This memoir is thoughtful and detailed and beautifully written, so my "meh" reaction to it is hard to explain. Part of it may be political fatigue - living in DC in 2018 will do this to you - and part of it may be that I don't adore foreign policy and this is the story of the Obama presidency told by a former senior foreign policy advisor, Ben Rhodes. Rhodes is a polarizing figure, in that he was a key player in the Iran nuclear deal and in reestablishing relations with Cuba, both actions that di This memoir is thoughtful and detailed and beautifully written, so my "meh" reaction to it is hard to explain. Part of it may be political fatigue - living in DC in 2018 will do this to you - and part of it may be that I don't adore foreign policy and this is the story of the Obama presidency told by a former senior foreign policy advisor, Ben Rhodes. Rhodes is a polarizing figure, in that he was a key player in the Iran nuclear deal and in reestablishing relations with Cuba, both actions that divided the political community (though really, what doesn't divide the political community?). The right likes to attack him for ascending to such a prominent position with few qualifications, which Rhodes explores in detail in the book; I appreciated that background and context, as I also appreciated knowing that where you start from doesn't dictate where you'll end up. A fitting lesson, I suppose, from someone who worked in the Obama administration for eight years, as that's maybe one of the biggest takeaways from Obama's presidency itself. Maybe I just didn't love this book because it's ultimately all so exhausting. The conspiracy theories. The disinformation campaigns that most people still refuse to acknowledge are real. The meddling in our elections, the war on facts, the term "fake news," the inability for most of us who disagree on some things to have civil conversations about much of anything. Rhodes, faced with this reality every day in his eight years in the White House, wrestled with it constantly, in a way much more real and immediate than anything I deal with. I both appreciate his candor and thoughtfulness and am happy to be done with his story.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Harris N. Miller

    Where’s the Beef? Ben Rhodes, by all accounts, including his own, is a good guy. A true patriot who had the opportunity to spend eight years on Obama’s staff as both a speechwriter and a foreign policy advisor and operative. So I began this memoir with high expectations that I would obtain some new insights into Obama, including why he failed to trumpet his successes until it was too late for the American people to have time to process. But my hopes were dashed. The book is boring. Rhodes is so b Where’s the Beef? Ben Rhodes, by all accounts, including his own, is a good guy. A true patriot who had the opportunity to spend eight years on Obama’s staff as both a speechwriter and a foreign policy advisor and operative. So I began this memoir with high expectations that I would obtain some new insights into Obama, including why he failed to trumpet his successes until it was too late for the American people to have time to process. But my hopes were dashed. The book is boring. Rhodes is so busy being a good guy that his ability to share what he learned is blunted.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Summer Sharp

    This was an interesting listen. Not as fascinating as others political books I've listened to. It was easy to walk away. That's usually a sign I'm not fascinated or entertained by a book. It was more into the weeds of foreign policy and events and thoughts going on whenajor policy changes were under way. I'm glad I listened to it though. I feel like I understand more of the subtle undercurrents involved in some of our key international relationships and have a greater appreciation for the months This was an interesting listen. Not as fascinating as others political books I've listened to. It was easy to walk away. That's usually a sign I'm not fascinated or entertained by a book. It was more into the weeds of foreign policy and events and thoughts going on whenajor policy changes were under way. I'm glad I listened to it though. I feel like I understand more of the subtle undercurrents involved in some of our key international relationships and have a greater appreciation for the months of dialogue and negotiation involved to achieve policy changes like that of Cuba near the end of the Obama presidency.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Obama-bestuur beschreven als een man alleen in de arena wijst naar een stier uit het zicht met uit de lucht beschuldigingen dat het boek nauwkeurig beschrijft met verschillende educatieve intuïties, dipolaticly en van politieke neutraliteit. wanneer het in contexten wordt geplaatst, is het een em-ingenieursmodel van domino's in gang gezet met de administratie en nauwelijks geëffectueerd met de machtsverschuiving in het huis. Buitenlandse communicatie werd overgelaten aan de kunstenaars en het bo Obama-bestuur beschreven als een man alleen in de arena wijst naar een stier uit het zicht met uit de lucht beschuldigingen dat het boek nauwkeurig beschrijft met verschillende educatieve intuïties, dipolaticly en van politieke neutraliteit. wanneer het in contexten wordt geplaatst, is het een em-ingenieursmodel van domino's in gang gezet met de administratie en nauwelijks geëffectueerd met de machtsverschuiving in het huis. Buitenlandse communicatie werd overgelaten aan de kunstenaars en het boek beschreef de versterking van presidentiële bezoeken met 15 landen in de eerste 16 maanden van de Trump-administratie. Belangrijke feiten bij het bouwen van paden voor toekomstige Facebook-elektriciteitscentrales. Alternatieve brandstofbronnen voor de toekomst houden rekening met kryptocurries waarbij een universele uitwisseling met nulinflatie van vitaal belang is. Apple werd gebagatelliseerd in het boek, maar ik verwacht een grote factor te zijn in deze overgang. Als een herhaald kenmerk van de Obama-administratie duidelijk is geweest, is het aanvankelijk niet gelukt om opnieuw te beginnen, na drie reboots van wetgevende macht aan dit initiatief zal Trumps heavy hand zoals altijd blijven uitbreiden voor verdere middelen die geen prioriteit geven aan petroleum, maar eerder staal en ijzer. De tijd zal het leren. #vier sterren

  16. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Clapp

    Outstanding. Not a simple "here's what we did and why I was right" memoir we see so often as administrations turn over, but a unique view of the administration through the changing eyes of the author through success and failure. As one of the only members of the Obama administration who was there on the first and last days, Ben Rhodes provides a unique insight to the changes of the staff, changes in our politics, and changes in Obama that very few people could provide. As a political junkie and Outstanding. Not a simple "here's what we did and why I was right" memoir we see so often as administrations turn over, but a unique view of the administration through the changing eyes of the author through success and failure. As one of the only members of the Obama administration who was there on the first and last days, Ben Rhodes provides a unique insight to the changes of the staff, changes in our politics, and changes in Obama that very few people could provide. As a political junkie and fan of Pod Save America (and a wide range of "media") - I was as interested (and embarrassed) to learn new things I did not know, like the Laos UXO problem, or the Burma relationships - the things that did not make the front page or trending topics, but were critical advancements and inputs into American foreign policy. Simply put, I couldn't put the book down and wish it was another 400 pages long.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

    Necessary read to complete your Obama staffer reading set. Also, I didn’t think I could admire Obama and disdain Bibi Netanyahu more than I already do and this book proved me wrong on both (side note: what on earth are “lateral” meetings, uni, bi, or multi, got zero clue what they mean and everyone keeps using it).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    An evocative portrayal of President Obama disguised as the memoir from an eight year inner circle staffer. The Obama of Ben Rhodes's story seems more human, less polished than in other accounts. Though there still is a bit of hero worship baked into his reminiscing, Rhodes shows us the Obama on display between the many drafts of speeches and statements. From telling the press pool aboard the back of Air Force One that he wants the Obama doctrine to be "Don't do stupid sh*t." to waking up a bit g An evocative portrayal of President Obama disguised as the memoir from an eight year inner circle staffer. The Obama of Ben Rhodes's story seems more human, less polished than in other accounts. Though there still is a bit of hero worship baked into his reminiscing, Rhodes shows us the Obama on display between the many drafts of speeches and statements. From telling the press pool aboard the back of Air Force One that he wants the Obama doctrine to be "Don't do stupid sh*t." to waking up a bit grumpy at 2AM to talk to Hosni Mubarak again, to incredulous annoyance at the conspiracy theories he had to include in his debate prep; "This is some real tin foil hat stuff, do people really believe this?" we see the full image of the man who was the president in a clearer focus.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chris Casey

    A tremendously enjoyable and insightful read, which is also, too soon, sadly nostalgic for 'The America As It Was', led by a smart, thoughtful, articulate, and empathetic human being in President Obama. Thank you @brhodes for your service to him, and to all of us, and for the great job you did here sharing that experience.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ken Hamner

    Mostly hero worship and a spin job on the facts. Pretty disappointing.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marcia King

    The road from idealism to reality I wasn’t a big fan of Obama when he was President. I was wrong. Ben Rhodes does an outstanding job discussing the reasons for decisions, giving context to the headlines, and describing the intelligent manner in which the White House operated. I still don’t agree with everything President Obama did. But I understand better and truly miss having a well-read, strategic, intelligent man in the White House. History will be good to President Obama.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    I'll admit this was something I sort of slogged through at times. In part, I was distracted by two of my passions, FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon, as well as a disturbing week of DJT's European and Russian visits. In addition, although the book is quite well-written, not a great deal of it is new ground. That's okay. Since people seldom write letters or keep journals these days, contemporary accounts by individuals are not only interesting but may be valuable resources to future historians and off I'll admit this was something I sort of slogged through at times. In part, I was distracted by two of my passions, FIFA World Cup and Wimbledon, as well as a disturbing week of DJT's European and Russian visits. In addition, although the book is quite well-written, not a great deal of it is new ground. That's okay. Since people seldom write letters or keep journals these days, contemporary accounts by individuals are not only interesting but may be valuable resources to future historians and offer personal perceptions and perspectives that might otherwise go unrecorded. The book has its moments: the negotiations for the opening to Cuba, especially the involvement of the Vatican; the efforts of the Obama administration to destroy and disable the many thousands of UXOs (unexploded ordnance) dropped by U.S. bomber pilots on Laos during the Vietnam war which still pose a dangerous hazard; the interest and involvement of Obama and Hillary's State Department in supporting Burma's democratic reformists; the meticulous and thoughtful work that went into crafting the Iran nuclear treaty and the TPP. Sadly, in my opinion, these initiatives are either dead or moribund for the present. I'm glad I read it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I read this book because Ben Rhodes, Barack Obama's communications director who focused on foreign policy, is a Friend of The Pod. It is a must read for all Pod Save America listeners. But I wasn't sure I'd be enthralled since foreign policy isn't something I'm as focused on or know much about. That was an unfound fear. The writing is clear, the locations and policies are well explained (without belaboring any points), and Ben's interaction with both Obama and other staffers made this very intere I read this book because Ben Rhodes, Barack Obama's communications director who focused on foreign policy, is a Friend of The Pod. It is a must read for all Pod Save America listeners. But I wasn't sure I'd be enthralled since foreign policy isn't something I'm as focused on or know much about. That was an unfound fear. The writing is clear, the locations and policies are well explained (without belaboring any points), and Ben's interaction with both Obama and other staffers made this very interesting. I did, however, find myself nostalgic and depressed at the direction we have taken since President Obama left office. At times I'd have to take a break and reflect on what I failed to appreciate in the past. I am looking forward to reading Dan Pfeiffer's Yes, We (Still) Can to continue my PSA reading requirements.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sondos Shapsogh

    This is an interesting memoir by Ben Rhodes, with so many notable accomplishments by Obama administration where Rhodes took an active part in. However, on the flip side, a reader might feel Obama seemed to focus more on foreign policy than concentrating equally on domestic affairs of the American people. The memoir also reveals how much Obama to deal with from the Republicans, including racism and opposition to his policies. Finally, a reader might feel Obama didn’t do enough on foreign issues s This is an interesting memoir by Ben Rhodes, with so many notable accomplishments by Obama administration where Rhodes took an active part in. However, on the flip side, a reader might feel Obama seemed to focus more on foreign policy than concentrating equally on domestic affairs of the American people. The memoir also reveals how much Obama to deal with from the Republicans, including racism and opposition to his policies. Finally, a reader might feel Obama didn’t do enough on foreign issues such as on the Assad regime in Syria, and also on domestic issues such as taking a stronger position against the Republicans, and finally toward Trump’s nativism and nationalism agenda.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    This book was unfortunately a big disappointment, at least it’s the first half. Writing got better and the situations were analyzed more in depth in the second part, and, unlike some other reviews here on Goodreads, I liked long Cuba section. Still, I feel I learnt nothing really new on Obama or the world “as it is”. No special insight, no revelation, no interest. The only reason I actually finished it is that I had was trying to break a recent tendency of ordering and starting large books and n This book was unfortunately a big disappointment, at least it’s the first half. Writing got better and the situations were analyzed more in depth in the second part, and, unlike some other reviews here on Goodreads, I liked long Cuba section. Still, I feel I learnt nothing really new on Obama or the world “as it is”. No special insight, no revelation, no interest. The only reason I actually finished it is that I had was trying to break a recent tendency of ordering and starting large books and never actually finishing them. However, if you want to know more about Obama, do what I should have done or what I will do: buy a book actually written by him.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Van Horn

    Rhodes does a great job of representing the relentless pace of his foreign policy work—the book reads as one decision, crisis response, or initiative after another. I really appreciated this book for two reasons: it describes foreign policy surrounding events that I see differently now that I am older, and it impressed upon me how quickly political moments and political capital can trickle away. President Obama had less freedom to take initiatives than I thought.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leopold Benedict

    A bit mediocre and boring. Too long and too many nitty-gritty details of American politics. It's absurd to notice how the report about what happened in 2008/09 seems already so outdated since we live in a different era now. The most interesting parts of the book for me, such as the interaction with Angela Merkel, were already published in newspapers beforehand.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Clinton Hutchings

    This was a lot of "inside baseball" of politics and I surprisingly loved it. This seemed different than other political books - Clinton's and Comey's for example - because it didn't try to persuade the reader of a position, just told the considerations the author (mainly a speechwriter) and Obama used in some sticky situations. Great inside look.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    A REALLY terrific read. Thank you to Ben Rhodes for reminding us and bringing forth a wonderful tribute to President Obama and the other wonderful people that populated that era. We knew it was a difficult to be honest, dedicated, steadfast, hardworking and smart in Washington, DC but this book brings that home to us. It's a beautiful thing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I loved this book - which gives you an inside look at some of the foreign policy decisions made during the Obama administration - but it also made me incredibly sad. Because the world is a wondrous place and learning about different places, trying to come together on what we can agree on, it is what we should do. I miss my world under a president who believed those ideals.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.