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The Amateur by Edward Klein
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The Amateur

by Edward Klein

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Frightening biography of Barack Obama. Well documented and objective observation of a President that came from out of nowhere to become POTUS.
A good read! ( )
  MikeD | Oct 21, 2013 |
This is a popular version of Leading From Behind by Richard Miniter: good, but breezily written for a wider audience.
  gmicksmith | Jun 21, 2013 |
Political books, especially those written in election years, have always been somewhat questionable when it comes to their handling of “the truth.” Readers of these things generally come into them with their minds already made up about the subject – and seldom change them – tending to focus on the parts of the books they like and to ignore the parts with which they disagree. That is, of course, exactly the reception that Edward Klein’s bestseller, The Amateur, is receiving. And well that it should.

All of that said, a few things about The Amateur particularly strike me:

• In the process of gathering information for the book, Klein interviewed almost 200 people, many of those having known Barack Obama back to his first days in Chicago. Some of these people are officially on record (even on tape); others are not. Some of the book’s direct quotes, because of their sources are a bit shocking, even if upon further thought, they are not surprising. Caroline Kennedy, for instance, after having been snubbed along with the rest of the Kennedys by the Obama White House is quoted as saying, “I can’t stand to hear his voice anymore. He’s a liar and worse.” Initially, this is a rather shocking statement on Kennedy’s part – then, not so much.

• One of the most vocal interviewees, all of it on tape, seems to have been Jeremiah Wright who is understandably bitter about the way he was treated by the president in 2008. If Wright is being honest in what he describes about his longtime relationship with Barack and Michelle Obama, it is understandable why the president’s advisors wanted to keep the details of that relationship hidden – even to the point of offering the preacher a cash pay-off (according to Wright) to go away quietly.

• There seems to have been almost eagerness on the parts of those who are said to know Obama best to share negative facts and observations about the man.

• The personal revelations about Michelle Obama are particularly unflattering because of the petty vindictiveness and jealousy described. For instance, according to Klein, Michelle’s jealousy directly led to her husband’s eventual snubs of ardent supporters Caroline Kennedy and Oprah Winfrey.

• Much of the book, as noted just above, can best be characterized as the spreading of gossip – truth or not, it still has the feel of gossip.

• The president is characterized as an “inept” president “who doesn’t learn from his mistakes, as “a man who blames all his problems on those with whom he disagrees…who discards old friends and supporters when they are no longer useful…who is so think-skinned that he constantly complains about what people say and write about him.” Distasteful as all of this might be, it is hardly the worst of what Klein has to say about him.

• More disturbing is Klein’s contention that Obama naively overestimates his abilities, that he takes even constructive criticism personally, that he only listens to those who already believe exactly as he does, and that he truly believes himself to be a “child of destiny” meant to save America from itself.

Although Klein stresses that some of his sources had positive things to say about Obama, these things are so overwhelmed by the negative case he presents in The Amateur that I do not remember one of those positive things. Perhaps I missed them - and perhaps that is Klein’s intention.

The Amateur is an easy read, a good recap of the current political environment. It definitely has an agenda, however, and that should surprise no one. It is, after all, a political book, and this is a critical election year.

Rated at 3.5 ( )
  SamSattler | Jul 25, 2012 |
A fascinating if frightening read. But it is important to read it to get an understanding of our totally incompetent and failed president. A man who is frightened to run on his record because it is dismal so he will run a dirty attack campaign. How sad. ( )
  SigmundFraud | Jul 13, 2012 |
Unlike Trickle Down Tyranny, by Michael Savage, which was an undisguised attack on President Obama and his usurpation of power (which unfortunately has since been borne out, not only by his own actions, but also by the recent decisions of the Supreme Court, which has given unprecedented power to tax, to a President who chose to intimidate them), this book is an unemotional analysis of the President, using a forum of in-depth interviews with people who knew and interacted with Barack Obama, Michelle and those who surround him in Washington DC, and in his former life as a community organizer in Chicago.

This is perhaps the first time that people, who both intimately and/or casually knew the President, provide actual examples of incidents that can broaden our knowledge about him. We are enlightened as to his background, the origin of his far-left beliefs, and also to his desire to convert the country to a European socialist-style economy. He seems to have a singular focus and purpose, to guide us all on his path, which he sincerely believes is the one right way for America. We experience his display of dismay and temper, his emotion or lack thereof, when he is either faced with a decision or he does not get his way. Yet, this book illuminates all of this in what appears to be an even-handed expose.

In addition to exposing Obama’s true character, as a man whose main effort has been, and still is, to sell himself, Ed Klein also explores the character of Michelle Obama. The couple’s portrayal, almost as Disney characters, by a mainstream media unwilling or unable, because of the White House pressure, to fully vet this President, is dismantled, and a better picture of who they are, and who they surround themselves with, emerges for all of us to see.

The book unravels the complex nature of the way his White House works and explains who has the most influence and access to the President’s ear. Demonstrating how Obama does not take kindly to any criticism or suggestions other than his own, the author gives several examples of situations in which this has occurred; the most notable one is probably the well known Netanyahu debacle. Klein illustrates how Obama’s initial naïveté, angered the Jewish community when he clumsily sashayed into the Middle East fray. In this instance, Israel’s head of state was subjected to extreme rudeness and left to languish in a room after being admonished and warned about his behavior by the President, who essentially treated him like a recalcitrant child who had better come to his senses if he wished an audience with him. The President excused himself and haughtily went to dine with his family, leaving Netanyahu and those who had accompanied him, unfed. When food was requested by them, kosher food for those who needed it was either not available or not provided. The Israelis were not treated as honored guests, but rather as interlopers interfering with his peace process, which however well intentioned was getting off to a very bad start. Obama was learning on the job, perhaps coming a bit late to the party, which is not necessarily the best route for a President to take and which may be an unprecedented approach.

The book also details and demonstrates, how the power of the media, with its strong, liberal bias, has promoted and supported the policies of the President in his initial run for office, and it also clarifies how the journalists continue to be an additional adversary, in addition to the President, for the Republican candidate who will be opposing him in this coming election. It is truly a succinct summary of the Obama White House and all the people who have gone through its revolving door and all the people who have remained. Many of the conclusions that Klein has drawn have come to be prophetic in recent days, as talking heads and government supporters and spokespersons, have actually mouthed the comments the author describes in the book, as the methods this administration will use and the direction it will take, in order to win the election. It does not bode well for anyone who hoped for a more civil, courteous campaign. It would seem that the American people prefer the cacophony produced by controversy and polarization, the two front running tactics of the Obama strategists.

The book is a really quick read. In one to two days, at most, you can have it finished. I listened to the audiobook in one day. I turned it off and simply had to turn it on again, until it ended. I suggest that everyone read it to discover just who they have put into the White House and in what direction he hopes to take the country. They will then be better equipped to decide whether or not they want to keep him there for another four years, since at that time, he will have no reason to even consider being bipartisan, unless, that is, by executive order, he decides to extend the number of times a President can run! ( )
  thewanderingjew | Jun 28, 2012 |
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Every man is a moon and has a [dark] side which he turns toward nobody; you heve to slip around behind if you want to see it. - Mark Twain
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For Dolores, my courageous companion
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It's amateur hour at the White House. So says New York Times bestselling author Edward Klein in his new political exposé The Amateur. Tapping into the public's growing sentiment that President Obama is in over his head, The Amateur argues that Obama's toxic combination of incompetence and arrogance have run our nation and his presidency off the rails. "Obama was both completely inexperienced and ideologically far to the left of Americans when he entered the White House," says Klein. "And he was so arrogant that he didn't even know what he didn't know." Klein, who is known for getting the inside scoop on everyone from the Kennedys to the Clintons, reveals never-before-published details about the Obama administration's political inner workings and about Barack and Michelle's personal lives. From Obama's conceited and detached demeanor, to his detrimental reliance on Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett's advice, to the Obamas' extravagant and out-of-touch lifestyle, The Amateur reveals a president whose blatant ignorance and incompetence is sabotaging himself, his presidency, and America.… (more)

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