SHATTERED Examines the Clinton Campaign

9780553447088_1273bHeavy media attention is sending an account of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign soaring up the Amazon’s sales rankings to #3, Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes (PRH/Crown; RH Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample).

In today’s NYT, chief book critic Michiko Kakutani calls it “compelling” and says “Although the Clinton campaign was widely covered, and many autopsies have been conducted in the last several months, the blow-by-blow details in ‘Shattered’— and the observations made here by campaign and Democratic Party insiders — are nothing less than devastating … and while it’s clear that some of these people are spinning blame retroactively, many are surprisingly candid about the frustrations they experienced during the campaign.”

Most other media sources assigned they political reporter to the book.  Having been closer to the campaign on a day-by-day basis, they offer a different take. NPR’s Washington desk correspondent, Ron Elving, says “There is no Big Reveal, no shocking secret answer. Instead we get a slow-building case against the concept and execution of the Clinton campaign, with plenty of fault falling squarely on the candidate herself.”

A Washington Post piece by senior politics editor Steven Ginsberg is even less positive: “the quick-fire version proves too limiting” he says noting there will  “surely be many books about what really happened inside the 2016 campaigns. Going first has its advantages — perhaps in sales and attention.”

Will Shattered be the next Game Change, the best selling analysis of the 2008 campaign by Mark Halperin and John Heinemann? Elving does not think so, saying the personalities involved in that campaign, Obama, John Edwards, John McCain, and Sarah Palin were “more compelling and telegenic, calling out to turn themselves into the TV movie they became,” adding, “Ultimately, Allen and Parnes get inside the campaign but not inside the mind of Hillary Clinton. Much the same seems to have been true for most of her staff and, ultimately, the voters.”

Halperin and Heinemann are working on their own book on the campaign, following up on their successful Showtime series, “The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth,” now in its third season, covering Trump’s first 100 days in office. As yet untitled, the book is expected to be published early next year. HBO has already acquired the rights to it.

Clinton will publish her own memoir in September. Described as a collection of her personal reflections on quotes and stories that have helped her “celebrate the good times, laugh at the absurd times, persevere during the hard times,” it doesn’t sound like it will delve deeply into the campaign.

There were no prepub reviews for Shattered, indicating it was embargoed, and libraries have ordered it very lightly, with some systems facing 5:1 ratios.

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