screenshot151 I’m a bit of a political junkie. During Presidential election years, and sometimes when it’s only a congressional election year, I obsessively check fivethirtyeight for the latest projections on outcomes. I get a daily email from NBC News called First Read that summarizes all the main political stories of the day. I’ll get sucked into any episode of the West Wing and follw the people on Twitter who tweet as characters from The West Wing. So when HBO released it’s documentary Game Change, I couldn’t wait to see it. Now authors Mark Halperin and John Heilermann are back with Double Down, which delves deep into the 2012 election.

If you’ve only seen Game Change, then you might assume Double Down is partisan. Although I now have the book Game Change in queue to read, after listening to the audiobook of Double Down I’m going to wager (see what I did there?) that the film Game Change told only part of the story.

Double Down is instantly engaging, enlightening, and entertaining.  It profiles the challenges the Obama administration faced running for a second term. It provides insight into all the Republican nominee wannabes, Mitt Romney’s eventual nomination, and the campaigns of both Romney and Obama.  It reveals behind the scenes drama and jubilation, insights into the character of the various candidates, what worked well in a bid for President and where the outcomes fell drastically short of expectations.

There were instances where I found myself thinking “Wow, we really dodged a bullet.  I’m glad ——– didn’t end up with the nomination.”

The book uses some incredible vocabulary. More than once I found myself wishing for a hard copy of the book so I could look up the definition of a word. In fact, that is the reason I bought the book of Game Change rather than getting the audiobook for it.

Aside from character flaws and endearments, and learning more about the inner workings of a high stakes campaign, the other key insight I got from Double Down is how a handful of very wealthy people decide who our candidates are, regardless of party.

The book took me to the things about politics I like most. The Cinderella moments, the glimpses of the people beyond what we hear in a soundbite, and the general frustrations with the process.  At times I felt the same fervor I felt during the election, despite knowing the outcomes already.

The audiobook narrator was good- clear,  just the right amount of animation, and well paced.

I think anyone who enjoys politics will enjoy Double Down.