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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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2121686,801 (3.39)1
In this eye-opening look into the underside of modern American politics, Andrew Young presents a riveting account of presidential hopeful John Edwards' meteoric rise and scandalous fall. Young, a former Edwards campaign staffer, 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.… (more)
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    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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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! ( )
2 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.

Note: The Edwards campaign transferred 1 million dollars to the Young's bank account to care for Edward's mistress. Bank records show that much of that money went to pay for construction of a palatial home for the Youngs. This aspect is not reported in Andrew Young's book. Thus, skepticism is warranted about the more self- serving features of his account,

https://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/john-edwards-aide-andrew-young-dwi-child-... ( )
5 vote danielx | Aug 21, 2011 |
The parts of his account that he can verify by recorded phone messages are very telling, both about Edwards and his equally ambitious wife. Unverifiable and self-serving accounts about advice Young allegedly gave at various junctures must be taken with a grain of salt. ( )
  Eagleduck86 | Aug 21, 2011 |
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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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