I’ve just finished reading “Race of a Lifetime: How Obama won the White House” by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. I found it hugely enjoyable and engrossing. Definitely a good read.
It is, of course, more journalism than history, but it is clearly well-researched and – in a style that UK readers familiar with Andrew Rawnsley will recognise – puts us in the minds of the key protagonists.
The focus is primarily on the battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but there is insight into the John Edwards camp, and fascinating sketches of John McCain and Sarah Palin. Obama and Clinton themselves are sympathetically portrayed, but the turmoil amongst their respective teams is described pretty unflinchingly. The picture of John and Elizabeth Edwards is not a flattering one and the impression given of Sarah Palin is frankly scary.
However, what grips is the momentum of the campaign and its twists and turns. It was like reliving it except with a ringside seat and with live feeds into the contestants’ dressing rooms.