The Real Romney

The Real Romney

3.7 19
by Michael Kranish, Scott Helman
     
 

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“Absorbing and fair-minded.”
New York Times

“Romney’s story in full and clear detail…fascinating in-depth stuff.”
Los Angeles Times

“A fascinating story [that] sheds next light on an elusive subject.”
Boston Globe

Despite his political prominence, Mitt Romney

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Overview

“Absorbing and fair-minded.”
New York Times

“Romney’s story in full and clear detail…fascinating in-depth stuff.”
Los Angeles Times

“A fascinating story [that] sheds next light on an elusive subject.”
Boston Globe

Despite his political prominence, Mitt Romney remains an enigma to many in America. Who is the man behind that sweep of dark hair and the high-wattage smile? A savvy politician or someone who will simply say anything to win? A business visionary or a ruthless dealmaker? In this definitive, unflinching, and widely-acclaimed biography by Boston Globe investigative reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, readers will finally discover the real Mitt Romney. Based on hundreds of interviews and more than five years of reporting, The Real Romney offers for the very first time a full understanding of this complex political figure.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
No number of candid shots of candidates in street clothes can convince modern American voters that they are being shown the authentic version of a person running for the most powerful public office in the world. In an effort to provide a truer view of one contender, Kranish (coauthor, John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography) and Helman, both journalists at The Boston Globe, delve into the personal, political, and occupational past of Mitt Romney, including his Massachusetts governorship and his family's involvement in the formation and growth of the Mormon Church. Based on interviews and years of reporting, the authors bring to life the Bain Capital businessman turned politician, who is at times disarmingly human (as when moonwalking to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" during a meeting with fellow Mormon congregational leaders), yet reliably patrician and removed from the majority of Americans. Accounts of Romney's aloofness and uncertainty on issues seem incidental rather than detrimental, while moments of success (e.g., reigning in the budget of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City; restricting Massachusetts healthcare) hardly seem like persuasive grounds for election. In an attempt to forewarn him of his opponent's attacks, Romney's own media team once posited that he has "No story beyond cold business, Olympic turnaround, CEO governor." While the authors do an admirable job of rendering Romney's story in all its complexity, their book nevertheless functions better as biography than a game-changing political text. Photos. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Written by two Boston Globe investigative reporters who have followed Mitt Romney for years, this study plumbs Romney's success as a 2002 Olympics organizer, investment CEO, and Republican governor of typically Democratic Massachusetts while also considering his reputation for shift-with-the-winds calculation. Our first 2012 campaign book; out-of-the-gate fresh and boasting a 50,000-copy first printing.
Kirkus Reviews
Boston Globe scribes Kranish (Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War, 2010, etc.) and Helman attempt to animate the famously wooden presidential candidate. The authors retrace the Romney lineage to the earliest days of the nascent Mormon Church, a time when the practice of polygamy forced his great-grandfather Miles Park Romney to flee to Mexico ahead of pursuing U.S. marshals. Such sharply drawn historical forays provide keen context to Mitt Romney's personal trajectory. As a result, two things about him become readily apparent: He is a man profoundly enmeshed in his family's religion, and, like his father George Romney, he really wants to be president of the United States. Beyond that, however, there is little here to explain what might be lurking behind the candidate's photogenic good looks. The fault almost certainly does not belong to Kranish and Helman, who provide plenty of evidence of careful research. The simple fact may be that the real Romney is as shallow and inscrutable as he is depicted here. Revelations are few and far between--the most damning being a report that a disapproving Romney once pressured an unmarried member of his church to give up her baby for adoption. The authors dutifully chronicle Romney's many career accomplishments as a venture capitalist, but most of these can be summarized in one sentence: He made a lot of money for people who already had a lot of money. In the end, the authors should be congratulated for making the TV-ready Romney more human; however, that alone does not make the "Mitt-bot" more fathomable or presidential. A good-faith effort to profile a notoriously hard-to-define candidate.
Benjamin Wallace-Wells
For any biographer, Romney presents…a high degree of difficulty. Not only is the former Massachusetts governor deeply cautious, but the two institutions that have been perhaps the most important to life and his career—the Mormon Church and the private-equity firm Bain Capital—are heavily fortified and stonily non-transparent. Michael Kranish and Scott Helman…have assembled in The Real Romney a genuinely compelling story and a more thorough record of Romney's life than has yet appeared. But their account nevertheless fails to penetrate Fort Romney's formidable defenses. Theirs is a portrait of Romney as a public figure, its narrative exposing not so much the man as the career.
—The Washington Post
Michiko Kakutani
The book retraces ground familiar to anyone who has been following coverage of the Republican nomination race, but it pulls together lots of details into a narrative that's absorbing and fair-minded…Perhaps the most useful portions of The Real Romney deconstruct his management style as a Bain executive and governor of Massachusetts, providing clues as to how he might govern as president.
—The New York Times
Michael Tomasky
“Kranish and Helman are veteran and well-regarded reporters. . . . They give a comprehensive account of the Bain years — the greatest contribution of their book.”
David Frum
“An excellent biography.”
Louis Menand
“Balanced and informative. . . A well-written and useful resource for Romneyana great and small.”
Katha Pollitt
“Who is the real Mitt Romney? This well-researched biography by two Boston Globe reporters offers useful clues.”
USA Today
“Balanced and rigorous reporting on Romney’s life and career. . . . The authors are especially good on his close relationship with his father, a three-term Michigan governor who unsuccessfully ran for president in 1968.”
The Los Angeles Times
The Real Romney lays out Romney’s story in full and clear detail, including fascinating in-depth stuff about his family’s history, showing us a Romney for whom family and faith remain unshakable pillars and who knows that his ‘power-ally is money.’”
The Boston Globe
“A timely, balanced new biography. . . . An impressively researched and thought-provoking portrait of a man many Americans may want to know more about in the coming weeks and months.”
The Economist
“The writers have thoroughly trawled through the would-be-president’s history. The book charts the various stages of Romney’s polymorphic life in impressive detail. . . . All this is well done. The analysis of Romney’s time at Bain is balanced and fair.”
The Washington Post
“Kranish and Helman have assembled a genuinely compelling story and a more thorough record of Romney’s life than has yet appeared.”
The Financial Times
“A fascinating story [that] sheds new light on an elusive subject. . . . It illustrates well how in his private life and in business, he has relied on a tight, protective circle all his life.”
The New Republic
“A comprehensive and eminently fair-minded biography of the GOP’s fitful frontrunner.”
The New York Times Book Review
“The great service of this new biography is that it humanizes Romney. The authors sniff over their subject with bloodhound thoroughness, dredging up old report cards, housing deeds, and family records and videos. They interview seemingly everyone who had contact with Romney in every phase of his life.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062123275
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/17/2012
Pages:
401
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.33(d)

Meet the Author

Michael Kranish, deputy chief of the Boston Globe's Washington Bureau, has been a congressional reporter, White House correspondent, and national political reporter. Kranish coauthored, with other Globe reporters, John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography. He is also the author of Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War.

Scott Helman is a staff writer at The Boston Globe, where he has worked as a reporter and an editor for more than a decade. He was previously the paper's political editor and a national political reporter, serving as a lead writer on the 2008 presidential campaign.

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