The Real Romney

The Real Romney

3.7 19
by Michael Kranish, Scott Helman

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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? A man comfortable in his faith and devoted to family or a wealthy elitist unable to connect with


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? A man comfortable in his faith and devoted to family or a wealthy elitist unable to connect with the average voter?

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 years of reporting, The Real Romney presents a fascinating portrait of both the public and the private man, offering readers for the very first time a full understanding of this complex political figure.

Editorial Reviews

Michiko Kakutani
The Real Romney pulls together lots of details into a narrative that’s absorbing and fair-minded.”
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.”
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
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.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.42(w) x 7.78(h) x 1.12(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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The Real Romney 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book should be read by anyone who is an informed voter. It doesn't matter if you are for or against Romney, you will learn more about him personally and politically in a neutral form of writing. Very well written and easy to understand, worth every penny! :)
JustMyTwoCents More than 1 year ago
A Comprehensive and Non-Partisan Look at the Republican Candidate for President I will say first off that I will likely vote for President Obama to be re-elected. However, that being said, this book appears to be an excellent, non-partisan look at the competition, devoid of being overly dramatic or casting Mitt Romney in an unfavorable light. By all accounts, Romney seems to be a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, a businessman who has followed his father's footsteps into public office, a man with a good moral base. Yes, he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and he has lived a largely insular life, but his work as a leader in his faith community has demonstrated that he has a level of empathy for others. If I wake up the day after the election and find out he has prevailed, I will be disappointed, but I won't be devastated. Mitt Romney is a moderate Republican (and to me, perhaps more of a conservative-leaning Democrat). His greatest mistake appears to be in not embracing his signature legislation (universal health care) that he put in place when he was Governor of Massachusetts. It may not be perfect, but it was a good move, and he should not have backed away from it under pressure from his fellow Republicans. Giving in to the pressures of his own party may very well be his undoing. A good read and highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Romney is great...... for '68. WOOHOOO ALL YALL PEEPS ARE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes he is.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Look here romney IN CLEVELAND okay will never beat obama sorry u LOST ha....ha....ha....and one more thing **** u and kiss my *** got tht u big bum
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im a 12 year old and i know alot of stuff in politics! Its sad that people voted for obama because hes black, they didnt look at his rights! Im mixed with black and my whole family is republican because we know that republicans are with God amd the Bible. Gosh why do people have to be so ignorant :( people these days!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago is for white people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He would of done our country great the book is great for a great man God Blessed You And Your Family
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story of Mitt Romney's early years and professional life to date, quoting friends and foes alike. Still, the reader learns precious little about his present day personal and private life. Ultimately, a very informative read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
obama is re elected omg great we are soo screwed im so sad romney lost):
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I HATE POLITICS BUT OUR COUNTREYS GOIN DOWN IF OBAMA IS DICTAT..... I MEAN PREZ. X3 -the awesomest person ever!! Thas EXACTLY who i am! And hey... if you really wanna know who i am then heres a hint: I LIKE BAKED POTATOS. X3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I vote for romney hes the best
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mit romney is going down