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The Early Word: New Books for the Week of January 11, 2010

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The bare-bones new-release doldrums have left me so uninspired that all I can think of for this introduction is to note the alliterative anniversary of James Joyce's January 13, 1941 death.  

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime
by John Heilemann, Mark Halperin

File under "It Figures": "Many a tear has to fall but it's all in the game…" – 1951 hit "Many a Tear Has to Fall" written from tune composed by U.S. Vice President (for Calvin Coolidge) Charles Gates Dawes.

To update an old adage, all I know is what I read on the internet — which is probably the same things you know about the everyone’s-talking-about-it Game Change. But if you want to compare notes, here’s what I know about the controversial book from John Heilemann, national political correspondent and columnist for New York magazine, and Mark Halperin, editor-at-large and senior political analyst for Time magazine.

Taking us inside the 2008 Barack Obama presidential campaign, and also incorporating the Clinton, McCain, and Palin runs, the expose — based on hundreds of interviews and partly motivated by the concerns that Bill Clinton's personal life might hinder Hillary's presidential prospects — delves into a scheme in the U.S. Senate to insinuate Obama into the race. In conjunction with this plan are the ripped-from-the-headlines contentions that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid described then-Senator Barack Obama, referred to by staffers as “Black Jesus,” as "light skinned" and "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." Reid has since apologized for the comment.

The book also alleges that Hillary Clinton wanted to make a bigger issue out of Barack Obama's extensive drug use, before being talked out of it. Speaking of big issues, presidential candidate John Edwards angrily spurned the advice of cooler heads in regard to his extramarital affair, according to Game Change, refusing to distance himself from filmmaker Rielle Hunter before his fling was flung before the public. Ah, love is not only blind…

What else? Oh yes: the vetting of Palin or the lack thereof, along with the McCain campaign staff's hand-wringing and finger-pointing qualms about her readiness for office. And they reveal how, in an emotional late-night phone call, Obama succeeded in wooing Clinton, despite her steadfast heel-digging, to become his secretary of state. But wait, there’s sure to be more… (checks Drudge) — but for now that's all I know…

"This shit would be really interesting if we weren't in the middle of it."
—Barack Obama, September 2008
Sorry, Mr. President, you’re reliving 464 pages of it.

MORE NONFICTION

Little Boy Blues: A Memoir
by Malcolm Jones

Bruce Lee
by Fiaz Rafiq

The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations
by Lee Smith

Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility
by David Walker

FICTION

Alice I Have Been
by Melanie Benjamin

Where the God of Love Hangs Out
by Amy Bloom

The First Rule (Joe Pike Series #2)
by Robert Crais

Bloodroot
by Amy Greene

Saving Ceecee Honeycutt
by Beth Hoffman

Sleepless
by Charlie Huston

The Swan Thieves
by Elizabeth Kostova

The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (Pink Carnation Series #6)
by Lauren Willig

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About Gordon Hauptfleisch

  • Michael Sigman

    FYI — my dad, the late Carl Sigman, wrote the lyric — and hence the words you quote — for “It’s All In The Game.”

    –Michael Sigman

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/gordon_hauptfleisch Gordon Hauptfleisch

    Yes. Quite a scattered composing process: the tune written in 1911 and your Brill Building father writing the lyrics, I believe, in 1951. I got my info from the songfacts”> website.