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The Politician: An Insider's Account of John…

The Politician: An Insider's Account of John Edwards's Pursuit of the… (2010)

by Andrew Young

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1851763,896 (3.4)1
  1. 00
    Game change : Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the race of a lifetime by John Heilemann (aprayer4pjk)
    aprayer4pjk: Great behind the scene books that may change your perspective on how campaign "sausage" is really made

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I've never been a fan of tell-all books. In this case, there are a few reasons why I chose to read Andrew Young's account of his work with and for John and Elizatbeth Edwards. First of all, I backed John Edwards early on, and I was curious to understand more about just what happened there. Second, I was impressed that Young was upfront about the fact that he wrote the book for the money. As my sister commented, after listening to Oprah's interview with Young, "Maybe you ought to buy the book just to give the guy a few bucks. It sounds like he got left high and dry."

The book is decently written and a "fast read." I quickly found myself caught up in the store, and I read it within a day or two of starting it.

One interesting thread in the book is the life and drive of people who are primarily motivated by a need to have power or to be near it. I've never been power-oriented, and so it fascinates me. I can understand the "excitement junkie" aspects of politics — I encountered the same thing in journalism and I have to admit that for a time it really hooked me. But the power thing? It's kind of a mystery to me.

I came to the conlusion in reading the book that we give our elected representatives altogether too much power. It would be better if people went into politics for different, better reasons. I thought of Plato's idea of choosing leaders and dragging them, fighting tooth and nail to avoid having to lead, assauaged only with the promise that after a time, they would be permitted to return to a more normal and secluded life. (Ah, but can you keep 'em down on the farm, after they've seen the big city?)

John Edwards comes across as a total scoundrel, on many, many levels. Although Young describes some despicable actions on Elizabeth Edwards' part, I felt that her illness, in combination with John's infidelity, cast her in a more sympathetic light.

While Young is forthright about his actions, I don't think he entirely owns up to his own degree of greed and ambition. Most con games play on people's greed, and I think that was his downfall.

Still, the book is not only an "insider's view," it's also that rare thing — the story from the point of view of the losing side, and the view looking up at power from within the organization. While "The Politician" doesn't provide answers or solutions, it gave me much to ponder and think about. ( )
1 vote CandaceVan | Apr 16, 2013 |
having been a fan of the politics of Edwards, it was depressing to see his politician side and how he was not always the best that he could be human-wise ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
From The Book Wheel:

Oh, how I wish I could have read the ending of this book first! But of course, if I had, I wouldn’t have experienced the full range of emotions from outrage to disbelief. Written by Andrew Young, top aide to former Presidential candidate John Edwards, The Politician: An Insider’s Account of John Edwards’s Pursuit of the Presidency and the Scandal That Brought Him Down is his way of setting the infamous Rielle Hunter scandal straight.

I went into this book a little skeptical because I lived in North Carolina while the 2008 debacle went down and had preconceived notions of what had happened. I mean, how could a married father like Young accept responsibility for a child that wasn’t his? What does that say about his own values? And these questions are why I wished I could have read the ending of the book first. Here is a breakdown of the emotional roller coaster this book took me on:

- First 50%: I did not start out liking Andrew Young because all he did was toot his own horn and point out flaws in others. He painted himself as an idealistic kid who was dazzled by Edwards‘ charm and potential. While I believe that he was swept up in all things Edwards and was quite naive, he presents himself to the reader as beyond reproach.

- Next 30%: Then I was shocked and mad. By this point, I had very little sympathy for Young because he admitted that he was sharing things that were, “between him and Edwards,” that were not of a political nature and I thought it was tacky to divulge information about his son’s death.He also compares the Edwards family to the mob and starts becoming heavily involved in the Rielle Hunter cover-up. I just could not believe that an intelligent, married, father of three would intentionally put his family in that type of situation. It’s not as if he were single and had no one counting on him. At this point, I was thinking that Edwards was scum but that Young was just as scummy (I think covering up for a cheater is just as bad as cheating).

- Last 20%: Here, a few things happen. Young vilifies both John and Elizabeth Edwards, but he also finally redeems himself. He admits his own shortcomings and failures, understands that he allowed himself to be swallowed up by the affair and realizes that he needs to move forward. It is in the last pages that we also learn the full implications of his actions. With Elizabeth Edwards leaving mean-spirited messages on Young’s phone and John Edwards refusing to tell the truth as promised, Young has no one to turn to. Trash-talked out of a career and left behind by Edwards’ buddies, Young and his family are left to deal with the fallout from their decision to accept responsibility for, and harbor, Rielle and her child.

In the end, I have sympathy for Young and everything he went through. I’m mostly sympathetic toward his wife and children, even though his wife was more or less willing to participate in the charade. Edwards had fooled everyone, including his friends, donors, and wife. While I don’t think that Edwards intended to use Young as the pawn that he became, Young’s eagerness to “never say no” led him right into the lion’s den. I’m not sure where Young is now, but I hope that he’s been able to move beyond what happened.

Side note: I tried and failed to find some of the photos referenced in this book, such as the one of John Edwards in People Magazine and the one of Teresa Heinz removing Jack Edwards’ thumb from his mouth. I wish the author/publisher had included these photos that were described so vividly! ( )
1 vote thebookwheel | Mar 3, 2013 |
This is an in depth view of the John Edwards scandal as seen through the eyes of Andrew Young, his political aide. I really enjoyed this book although I didn't like all the Republican backstabbing that went on. Personally, I couldn't have stood what Andrew Young did to his family as part of John Edwards' scandal. I don't usually get involved in politics but I was riveted to the personal toll of the scandal and wanted to read this book very much. I give this book an A+! ( )
  moonshineandrosefire | Feb 6, 2012 |
Reading this book is like witnessing the proverbial train wreck (you don't want to watch, but can't look away). Andrew Young was Senator John Edwards' best friend and closest aide when Edwards made his 2008 run for the US Presidency. In The Politician, Young gives the inside view of the campaign, and an unforgettable picture of the narcissistic, irresponsible man who came close to being the Democratic nominee. One reads with astonishment at how open Edwards was about his extra-marital affair-- bringing his mistress along on the campaign trail, and requiring his staff to help him hide the situation from his wife. The account is wrenching and riveting, as Andrew Young is drawn more and more deeply into Edwards' manipulations and deception -- culminating in Young taking responsibility for fathering Edward's (out of wedlock) baby, and then he and his wife hiding the mistress away at their own expense as Edwards continued his campaign. Andrew Young was financially and professionally ruined by his association with Edwards, and is frank that he wrote this book to recoup some of his financial losses. Young's account is self- serving but far from flattering; he comes across as a weak, pathetic character, all the moreso given that he must publicize his own humiliation in hopes of some monetary compensation.

This book offers a sobering view of a major weakness of a political system, in which a carefully constructed public image of a politician can so successfully hide his true nature. Meanwhile, the many US citizens who were captivated by John Edwards' political rhetoric and personal charm can reflect on just how close he brought their hopes and his political party to disaster. ( )
5 vote danielx | Aug 21, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
added by Shortride | editLondon Review of Books, David Runciman (pay site) (Mar 25, 2010)
Replete with colorful anecdotes and vignettes, this forceful memoir offers a familiar, if a bit slippery, tale of lost youthful innocence. Despite Young’s bid for redemption, his only real regret seems to be that Edwards’s self-destructive conduct derailed his presidential hopes — and Young’s own very personal ambitions along with them.
If Edwards did everything Young alleges, he was selfish, deceitful and willing to go to extraordinary lengths to cover up an affair during a race for his party's presidential nomination. So it's remarkable that he comes out not seeming all that bad. Not that Young has forgiven him... Young feels John Edwards owes him. "The Politician" is payback.
The factoids in “The Politician” are apt to be widely disseminated. But this, like “Game Change,” is a book worth reading for its larger drama. With a title that ultimately works like a shiv in the ribs, Mr. Young’s book examines what a politician really is: the value of his words (Mr. Edwards’s high-and-mighty denunciation of Bill Clinton on moral grounds has become priceless), the extent of his feelings of entitlement, the outrageousness of his ego (“Let’s talk about you!” Mr. Young would say, without Mr. Edwards’s realizing he was joking) and the gap between his public convictions and private behavior.
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The person who can give us a sense of hope is the one who knows the human condition and can encourage us to face the realities of life.
For Cheri, always.
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That summer, the members of the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers went to Myrtle Beach for a meeting where they would network, do business, and attend professional seminars at a beachfront hotel called the Ocean Creek Resort.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031264065X, Hardcover)

“The greatest political saga, the one that has it all, that gets to the real heart of American politics, is the John Edwards story... This isn’t just politics, it’s literature. It’s the great American novel, the kind that isn’t written anymore.” --Michael Wolff on John Edwards's trajectory, on VanityFair.com

The underside of modern American politics -- raw ambition, manipulation, and deception -- are revealed in detail by Andrew Young’s riveting account of a presidential hopeful’s meteoric rise and scandalous fall.  Like a non-fiction version of All the King’s Men, The Politician offers a truly disturbing, even shocking perspective on the risks taken and tactics employed by a man determined to rule the most powerful nation on earth. 

Idealistic and ambitious, Andrew Young volunteered for the John Edwards campaign for Senate in 1998 and quickly became the candidate’s right hand man. As the senator became a national star, Young’s responsibilities grew.  For a decade he was this politician’s confidant and he was assured he was ‘like family.”  In time, however, Young was drawn into a series of questionable assignments that culminated with Edwards asking him to help conceal the Senator’s ongoing adultery. Days before the 2008 presidential primaries began, Young gained international notoriety when he told the world that he was the father of a child being carried by a woman named Rielle Hunter, who was actually the senator’s mistress. While Young began a life on the run, hiding from the press with his family and alleged mistress, John Edwards continued to pursue the presidency and then the Vice Presidency in the future Obama administration.

Young had been the senator’s closest aide and most trusted friend.  He believed that John Edwards could be a great president, and was assured throughout the cover-up that his boss and friend would ultimately step forward to both tell the truth and protect his aide’s career. Neither promise was kept.  Not only a moving personal account of Andrew Young’s political education, THE POLITICIAN offers a look at the trajectory which made John Edwards the ideal Democratic candidate for president, and the hubris which brought him down, leaving his career, his marriage and his dreams in ashes.



(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:02 -0400)

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"The Politician" offers a look at the trajectory which made John Edwards the ideal Democratic candidate for president, and the hubris which brought him down, leaving his career, his marriage, and his dreams in ashes.

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