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Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House…
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Thanks, Obama: My Hopey, Changey White House Years (2017)

by David Litt

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I enjoyed David Litt's memoir a lot! He worked in the good old days as a speechwriter for President Obama.
He's self-deprecating and humorous when talking about his experiences as a 20 something White House staff person. He wasn't in the "inner circle" but did have experiences with the president. The stories were both funny and inspiring. As a listener of Pod Save America I was particularly interested in his writing about Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett who were also speechwriters for President Obama.
Closing the memoir with Zoe's story was just about perfect! ( )
  Nancyjcbs | May 7, 2019 |
Based on the first one or two chapters, I had very low expectations for the rest of the book, and set it aside for a few months. But it gets much better! The author has a great sense of humor, and humility. He talks about what works, and, more interestingly, what didn't work and the lessons he and other Obama staffers learned. This is less a discussion of politics or policy than an office work memoir—but one set in a unique office. Very enjoyable. ( )
  breic | Jan 20, 2019 |
Great read, although would be a struggle for a Trump supporter! David Litt was a very young speechwriter in the Obama White House. This is an at times excruciatingly honest memoir but is also full of insight and fun too. ( )
  Matt_B | Jan 12, 2019 |
Despite everything going on and not really sure if I wanted to read a memoir so recent, the title made me smile. This is the story of Litt's work in the White House from the joys and pains, the highs and the lows, what it's like to work in the White House and to work with the president himself (as you probably can tell, he served in the Obama administration). Litt reviewed another book and had written elsewhere and seemed genuinely funny and endearing. The book would certainly seem the same.

Litt was with Obama starting with the 2008 campaign and wouldn't leave the White House until 2016. In between we watch him on the campaign trail, managing speeches, trying to figure out the President's voice, being a front row witness to history as well as managing the daily grind of both the campaign trail and then in the administration. Some of it is genuinely hysterical as to what could go wrong and what it was like to try to get the most powerful man in the world to deliver this speech as written or seeing first-hand some of the highest or lowest or most emotional times (good and bad) in the White House.

And sometimes it's not great. The book feels like a mixed bag. There are times when Litt had me riveted by the campaign anecdotes and what it's like trying to work for President Barack Obama, etc. Sometimes it's extremely tedious. Sometimes it all comes out in a jumble, like Litt is telling us anecdotes after fun story but it isn't a coherent narrative. It's almost like Litt has a really great second or third draft or something where there is a structure that could emerge if maybe an editor took another go at it to hammer it out.

I enjoyed some of it and am grateful for the work he and the other staffers and the administration (and President Obama of course!) have done. It'll be interesting to see when more of his staffers come out with their memoirs and see how they, the Obamas themselves (really, these books really only want their stories so much more), etc. will view his administration.

It's not for everyone but if you're curious as to what it's like to be Sam Seaborn (except in real life) this could whet your appetite. Might make a good reference for presidential scholars or people specifically interested in the Obama administration but I'm glad that this was available at my library. ( )
  acciolibros | Feb 11, 2018 |
David Litt, the author, was a Yale student when he volunteered for the Obama campaign in 2008. After his victory, Obama hired him to work in his administration as a speechwriter, where he continued in that role while advancing to writing speeches for the president himself. Along the way he encountered some wonderful people, some not so great people and had some wonderful, amazing adventures. Litt makes a public service career both terrifying and inspiring all at the same time. For those of us who loved the TV show The West Wing, Litt shows how reality is often different from our fantasies. This is a great book for those of us intrigued by politics and how government really works, as well as shows us who makes it work. ( )
  Susan.Macura | Dec 25, 2017 |
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"A different kind of White House memoir, presidential speechwriter David Litt's comic account of his years spent working with Barack Obama and his reflection on Obama's legacy in the age of Trump"--

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