Believer: My Forty Years in Politics

Believer: My Forty Years in Politics

by David Axelrod

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Overview

“A portrait of political campaigning that is more like what we hope than what we fear . . . a stout defense—indeed, the best I have read—of the Obama years.” —David Gergen, The New York Times Book Review
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
David Axelrod has always been a believer. Whether as a young journalist investigating city corruption, a campaign consultant guiding underdog candidates against entrenched orthodoxy, or as senior adviser to the president during one of the worst crises in American history, Axelrod held fast to his faith in the power of stories to unite diverse communities and ignite transformative political change. Now this legendary strategist, the mastermind behind Barack Obama’s historic election campaigns, shares a wealth of stories from his forty-year journey through the inner workings of American democracy. Believer is the tale of a political life well lived, of a man who never gave up on the deepest promises our country has to offer.
 
The heart of Believer is Axelrod’s twenty-year friendship with Barack Obama, a warm partnership that inspired both men even as it propelled each to great heights. Taking a chance on an unlikely candidate for the U.S. Senate, Axelrod ultimately collaborated closely Obama on his political campaigns, and served as the invaluable strategist who contributed to the tremendous victories in 2008 and 2012. Switching careers again, Axelrod served as senior adviser to the president during one of the most challenging periods in national history: working at Obama’s side as he battled an economic disaster; navigated America through two wars; and fought to reform health care, the financial sector, and our gridlocked political institutions. In Believer, Axelrod offers a deeper and richer profile of this extraordinary figure—who in just four years vaulted from the Illinois State Senate to the Oval Office—from the perspective of one who was at his side every step of the way.
 
Spanning forty years that include corruption and transformation, turmoil and progress, Believer takes readers behind the closed doors of politics even as it offers a thrilling call to democratic action. Axelrod’s Believer is a powerful and inspiring memoir enlivened by the charm and candor of one of the greatest political strategists in recent American history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143128359
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 257,844
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

David Axelrod spent eight years as a reporter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune. As a political consultant, Axelrod has managed strategy for more than 150 local, state, and national campaigns. Axelrod most recently served as senior strategist to President Obama’s successful reelection campaign. He served in that same role in then-Senator Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, before going on to serve in the White House as senior adviser to the president. After the 2012 campaign, Axelrod founded the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago.

Read an Excerpt

Not everyone can point to a moment, the exact time and place, when a lifelong passion began. I can.
(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Believer"
by .
Copyright © 2016 David Axelrod.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1

1 Roots 13

2 City of the Big Shoulders 25

3 Deadline Dave 38

4 Bow-Tie Bravado 62

Part 2

5 Strategist FOR Hire 73

6 Where the Rubber Hits the Road 85

7 Going National 95

8 The Natural 119

Part 3

9 Magic Carpet Ride 135

10 Shot from a Cannon 148

11 Reluctant Hero 163

12 From "No, I Won't" To "Yes, We… Might" 174

13 An Audacious Decision 189

14 In Lincoln's Shadow 203

15 Growing Pains 216

16 Ecstasy in Iowa 235

17 The Empire Strikes Back 250

18 To Hell (Or At Least Altoona) and Back 269

Part 4

19 From Berlin to Biden 287

20 The Test 303

21 Winning the Big One 314

22 The Dogs That Caught the Car 324

Part 5

23 Next Door to History 343

24 Nothing but Bad Choices 351

25 Why we do the Work 369

26 War and Peace Prize 390

27 The Stubborn World 403

28 "Brutal" 415

Part 6

29 From The Outside Looking In 435

30 Resurgence 442

31 Turbulent Ride, Smooth Landing 463

Epilogue 479

Acknowledgments 489

Index 493

What People are Saying About This

Deval Patrick

In telling the vivid tales of his own forty years behind the curtain of modern politics, Axelrod reminds us that elections matter to those who don't engage as well as those who do, effectively challenging us all to get involved. --Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts

George Stephanopoulos

David Axelrod was present at the creation of President Obama's political career. He reflects on their improbable journey with the faithfulness of a reporter, the ferocity of a political operative, and the passion of a true believer. A riveting read. --George Stephanopoulos, Chief Anchor, ABC News

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Beautifully written with warmth, humor, and remarkable self-awareness, Believer is one of the finest political memoirs I have ever read. Through one memorable anecdote after another, Axelrod tells a revealing and moving story of his long and honorable career in public life. This is a thoroughly terrific book. --Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of The Bully Pulpit and Team of Rivals

Mike Murphy

David Axelrod has written a remarkable book, a deeply honest and unflinching memoir of his journey from cub journalist to political adviser to the President of the United States. From the boisterous wards of Chicago politics to the Oval Office, Believer takes you inside the political warrior's life, with its larger-than-life personalities, exhilarating victories, and gut-wrenching defeats. For Axelrod, the goal is victory, but the enemy is cynicism. Anybody, Democrat or Republican, who loves politics should read this book. --Mike Murphy, Republican strategist

From the Publisher

Praise for David Axelrod's Believer

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, author of The Bully Pulpit and Team of Rivals
“Beautifully written with warmth, humor, and remarkable self-awareness, Believer is one of the finest political memoirs I have ever read. Through one memorable anecdote after another, Axelrod tells a revealing and moving story of his long and honorable career in public life. This is a thoroughly terrific book.”

DEVAL PATRICK, governor of Massachusetts
“In telling the vivid tales of his own forty years behind the curtain of modern politics, Axelrod reminds us that elections matter to those who don’t engage as well as those who do, effectively challenging us all to get involved.”

MIKE MURPHY, Republican strategist
“David Axelrod has written a remarkable book, a deeply honest and unflinching memoir of his journey from cub journalist to political adviser to the President of the United States. From the boisterous wards of Chicago politics to the Oval Office, Believer takes you inside the political warrior’s life, with its larger-than-life personalities, exhilarating victories, and gut-wrenching defeats. For Axelrod, the goal is victory, but the enemy is cynicism. Anybody, Democrat or Republican, who loves politics should read this book.”

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, chief anchor of ABC News
“David Axelrod was present at the creation of President Obama’s political career. He reflects on their improbable journey with the faithfulness of a reporter, the ferocity of a political operative, and the passion of a true believer. A riveting read.”

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