Thinking of creating your own presidential library? New books on the 2008 election

[14 January 2009]

By Alyson Ward

McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

In 2008, we all lived through a spellbinding presidential election. And now we can spend the rest of our lives reading about it.

Barack Obama isn’t even president yet, but the books about his election and his administration are starting to pile up. Presses are rolling. Agents and publishers are signing book deals. Bookstores are setting up display tables full of election memorabilia, in hardcover and paperback.

Here’s a look at the first round of election ‘08 books to be published. We suspect this is just the beginning.

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THE ELECTION RECAPS

Nope, we’re not going to stop talking about the 2008 election anytime soon. These books tell the story of the epic campaign from - well, just about every perspective you can imagine.

“A LONG TIME COMING” by Evan Thomas and the staff of Newsweek.
The author: Thomas is Newsweek’s editor-at-large; he wove this story together using material from several of the magazine’s reporters.

The approach: An extended version of “Secrets of the Campaign,” the seven-chapter inside story that Newsweek published in November. As in previous elections, Newsweek reporters traveled with the campaigns and got access to juicy details - all on the condition that they wouldn’t publish anything until after the election.

Available: Now (PublicAffairs, $22.95)

“HOW BARACK OBAMA WON” by Chuck Todd and Sheldon Gawiser.
The authors: Todd is NBC News political director and senior White House correspondent (and he popped up often on MSNBC during the election). Gawiser is a senior poll analyst for NBC News and heads the National Council on Public Polls.

The approach: A wonky state-by-state breakdown of where America’s presidential votes went. Turn to Todd and Gawiser if you find yourself wondering “Just how much did George W. Bush’s approval rating affect voter behavior in Utah?”

Available: Now (Vintage, $12.95)

“HOW OBAMA WON” by Earl Ofari Hutchinson.
The author: Hutchinson’s a journalist and political analyst who often focuses on race and social issues. He’s written at least 15 books and pops up often on cable news shows. This one’s self-published.

The approach: The story of the election, from the moment Obama declared he was running. The analysis of the campaign trail, full of details you’ve probably forgotten, puts the race into a larger perspective.

Available: Now (BookSurge, $13.95)

“REDEMPTION SONG: AN IRISH REPORTER INSIDE THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN” by Niall Stanage.
The author: Stanage writes for the Sunday Business Post in Ireland, the New York Observer and The Guardian.

The approach: An up-close view of the Obama campaign, assembled on the run: Stanage submitted it to his publisher just a week after the election. It’s available in Ireland, and a U.S. version is coming soon.

Available: Feb. 28

“WINNING THE PRESIDENCY 2008,” edited by William J. Crotty.
The authors: Contributors are academics from all over the country. Crotty, who edits the collection, directs the Center for the Study of Democracy at Northeastern University.

The approach: A scholarly sort of collection that assesses the significance of the ‘08 election: the historic firsts, the campaign strategies, the issues - yes, all the stuff that’s going to be discussed in political science classes for years.

Available: April 30

“WINNING THE WHITE HOUSE 2008: THE GALLUP POLL, PUBLIC OPINION, AND THE PRESIDENCY” by Alec Gallup, Frank Newport, Fred L. Israel, Lydia Saad and Jeffrey M. Jones.
The authors: This is a committee of top editors at the Gallup Poll organization.

The approach: A “month-by-month narrative of the campaign” full of polls, numbers, historical comparisons and expert commentary. The Gallup folks aim to create the definitive election ‘08 wrap-up.

Available: May

“RENEGADE: THE MAKING OF BARACK OBAMA” by Richard Wolffe.
The author: Wolffe is Newsweek’s senior White House correspondent and spent most of the last two years following the Obama campaign.

The approach: Looks like it’ll be an Obama bio built around the 2008 election. Wolffe plans to blend his own campaign-trail reporting with new interviews with Obama and White House staffers. (We’re hoping that he’ll lend his lovely British accent to the audio version.)

Available: June 2

“THE AUDACITY TO WIN” by David Plouffe.
The author: Plouffe was Obama’s campaign manager; he gets credit for many of the candidate’s winning strategies.

The approach: Plouffe’s going to tell us, we hope, how we all can run massively successful presidential campaigns.

Available: There’s no “official” book deal yet, though 18 publishers have expressed interest. Tentative release date is sometime this fall.

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THE SOCIAL ANALYSIS

So we had an election. But what does it “mean?” These books take a closer look at the election, Obama’s administration and what it all says about America.

“BARACK, INC.: WINNING BUSINESS LESSONS OF THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN” by Barry Libert and Rick Faulk.
The authors: Libert and Faulk are business and marketing guys; they run a software solutions company.

The approach: A look at how business leaders can run their companies the way Obama ran his successful campaign.

Available: Jan. 19

“WHAT OBAMA MEANS ... FOR OUR CULTURE, OUR POLITICS, OUR FUTURE” by Jabari Asim.
The author: Asim is the editor of the NAACP’s magazine, “The Crisis.” A couple of years ago, he made the talk show rounds for a book called “The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn’t, and Why.”

The approach: A look at our national history and culture, exploring how that history and culture impacted Obama’s candidacy - and what his presidency represents.

Available: Jan. 20

“THE BREAKTHROUGH: POLITICS AND RACE IN THE AGE” of Obama by Gwen Ifill.
The author: Ifill hosts the PBS show “Washington Week” and is a correspondent for “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.” She was moderator for the vice-presidential debate in October.

The approach: Ifill looks at how black leadership has shifted since the civil rights movement, making Obama’s election possible.

Available: Jan. 20

“THE BLOGGERS ON THE BUS: HOW THE INTERNET CHANGED POLITICS AND THE PRESS IN 2008” by Eric Boehlert.
The author: Boehlert used to write for Salon. He’s a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, and he blogs for The Huffington Post.

The approach: The requisite analysis of how new media such as blogs are changing the face of journalism.

Available: March 10

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REJECTION

“WHY AMERICA ISN’T READY FOR A WOMAN PRESIDENT” by Anne Kornblut.
The author: Kornblut covered the 2008 election for The Washington Post; she’s now the paper’s White House reporter.

The approach: We don’t know much about this one, but we assume the index is going to contain the name Hillary Clinton.

Available: No publication date yet.

“BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY: HILLARY CLINTON, SARAH PALIN, MICHELLE OBAMA, TINA FEY, AND THE YEAR THAT CHANGED THE FACE OF FEMINISM” by Rebecca Traister.
The author: Traister writes about politics, culture and women’s issues for Salon.

The approach: Traister regularly offered fresh, thoughtful analysis during the campaign. But by the time this book is published - nearly two years from now - will there be anything new to say?

In bookstores: September 2010

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THE (SO FAR) UNTITLED

These books have high-profile authors, but they don’t yet have titles.

The author: David Remnick, editor-in-chief of The New Yorker.

The approach: A look at Obama’s election with a focus on race.

Available: No release date yet.

The authors: Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson. Balz is The Washington Post’s senior political correspondent. Johnson is an author, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a familiar face on “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.”

The approach: Balz says they’re going to write “the best narrative history of the entire campaign that we can.”

Available: Sometime this fall

The authors: John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. Heilemann writes for New York magazine; Halperin is an editor-at-large, political analyst and blogger for Time magazine.

The approach: An in-depth look at election ‘08, from the Obama/Clinton showdown to John McCain’s comeback victory in the Republican primary.

Available: Late 2009

The author: Ryan Lizza, political writer for The New Yorker.

The approach: A close look at the first year of Obama’s administration.

In bookstores: 2010

The author: Robert Draper, who writes for GQ and other publications. (He used to write for Texas Monthly.) He’s famous for his 2007 book, “Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush.”

The approach: A book about race and politics that begins with the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and ends with Obama’s election.

Available: 2012

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THE COLLECTIONS

Media companies churned out best-of collections, coffee table books and commemorative volumes almost immediately after the election. Here are some of the first:

“PRESIDENT OBAMA: A COLLECTION OF NEWSPAPER FRONT PAGES”
The author: The Poynter Institute

The approach: Poynter, the Florida-based program and school for journalists, presents 75 newspaper front pages that commemorate the election. Introduction is by Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau.

Available: Now (Andrews McMeel, $24.95)

“PRESIDENT OBAMA: THE PATH TO THE WHITE HOUSE”
The author: Time, edited by Adi Ignatius

The approach: Time magazine offers a keepsake compilation that is part Obama bio, part campaign recap.

Available: Now (Time, $19.95)

“AMERICA SPEAKS: THE HISTORIC 2008 ELECTION”
The author: USA Today and ABC News

The approach: USA Today and ABC News teamed up to publish a compilation of 2008 election coverage. A companion DVD takes you through “50 States in 50 Days.”

Available: Now (Benchmark Press, $14.95)

“THE AMERICAN JOURNEY OF BARACK OBAMA”
The author: Life magazine

The approach: Life editors have assembled a biography, heavy on the photos, that starts with Obama’s childhood. The foreword is by Ted Kennedy, and the book includes essays from well-known voices, including Gay Talese and Bob Greene.

Available: Now (Little, Brown & Co., $24.99)

“IN NO OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH”
The author: The McClatchy Co.

The approach: McClatchy has compiled 144 pages of news, analysis and photographs from its newspapers’ election coverage.

Available: Ships at the end of January (Sold at Obamathebook.com)

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THE FIRST LADY

What would cocktail parties and workday lunches be without a new first lady to analyze? These quick-to-press bios introduce us - yes, a bit superficially - to Michelle Obama.

“MICHELLE: A BIOGRAPHY” by Liza Mundy.
The author: Mundy is a features writer for The Washington Post; a piece she wrote for the Post led to a book deal.

The approach: The Obama campaign didn’t give her access, so Mundy dug up college classmates, old neighbors and former co-workers to offer a picture of the next first lady.

Available: Now (Simon & Schuster, $25)

“MICHELLE OBAMA: FIRST LADY OF HOPE” by Elizabeth Lightfoot.
The author: Lightfoot’s a former Associated Press reporter.

The approach: This paperback was assembled in two months and rushed to print. With no access to Michelle Obama, Lightfoot assembled this bio mostly from previously published information.

Available: Now (Lyons Press, $14.95)

“THE MICHELLE OBAMA STYLE GUIDE: WHAT MRS. O KNOWS” by Mandi Norwood.
The author: Norwood is a former editor at Mademoiselle.

The approach: Everyone’s gaga over the new first lady’s fashion sense. This will dissect her style in order to inspire the rest of us to buy knockoffs of her clothes.

Available: May

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THE SIDE CHARACTERS

The election introduced some new faces we won’t soon forget; they won’t “let” us. Here are two now-familiar faces we didn’t know until last year.

“JOE THE PLUMBER: FIGHTING FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM” by Joe Wurzelbacher.
The author: It’s Joe the Plumber, guys. You might have thought this election everyman’s 15 minutes ended when the election did. But no - just like any average Joe, he wrote a book.

The approach: Joe gives us “the real story” about his monthlong role in the election. Somehow, it is nearly 200 pages.

Available: Ships any day now from Joe’s Web site, www.secureourdream.com.

“SARAH FROM ALASKA” by Scott F. Conroy and Shushannah Walshe.
The authors: Conroy works for"CBS News; Walshe works for Fox. They both covered Sarah Palin during the election.

The approach: They’ll do some campaign rehash, the authors say, but the book will also look forward. They are certain Palin’s going to remain a figure on the national scene.

Available: No release date yet.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/article/69039-thinking-of-creating-your-own-presidential-library-new-books-on-the-2/