The book is highly readable and difficult to put down once started. You will read revelations you never expected and you will learn of facts suppressed by the mainstream media. The only topic left untouched, as far as I could tell, is the birth-certificate issue. Jeremiah Wright is interviewed at length about his relationship with Obama. The University of Chicago years are examined in depth. Major political infighting and backstabbing within the White House are explored in several aspects, including Obama’s war on the military leadership. Obama’s personal relationships, such as his relationship to Oprah Winfrey, are explored in some detail. The book paints a frightening picture of a
“man who is at bottom temperamentally unsuited to be the chief executive and commander in chief of the United States of America. … a president who is inept in the arts of management and governance, who doesn’t learn from his mistakes, … who blames all his problems on those with whom he disagrees, … who discards old friends and supporters when they are no longer useful, … and who is so thin-skinned that he constantly complains about what people say and write about him.” (Loc 49)
Before every election we are inundated by political “tell all” books, so I was somewhat skeptical when I first heard about “The Amateur.” However, it remained on both the Amazon and the New York Times best seller lists for nearly two months, so I decided to take a look at it. Besides, I needed something “light” to read on long flights.
I chose to take this book along on my travels for several reasons:
- There were many open questions about Barack Obama that had been raised but not answered to my satisfaction in the mainstream media. I want to know the truth.
- The book was on the best seller lists.
- I had seen a number of tantalizing teaser clips for the book, but had serious reservations about its accuracy and reliability given the current political climate. Why not check it out for myself?
- I purchased it on a Kindle and wanted to find out how difficult it would be to write a review without a paper copy in hand.
Let me say up front that this is not a FOO (Friends of Obama) book. This is a hard-hitting reporter’s look at the character and substance of our current President. No Hollywood make-overs. No inconvenient truths ignored. No sound bites. No “unnamed sources”, but lots of interviews and lots of references. Consequently the book has the solid feel of substance and truth.
“This is a reporter’s book.
During the past year and a half, I have interviewed nearly two hundred people, both inside and outside the White House. Many of these people have known Barack Obama for more than twenty years – from his earliest days in Chicago. Some of them were positive about Obama, others were negative, but the stories they told me had a remarkable consistency.” (Loc 42)
Given the depth of research and the references openly provided, I would consider the book to be a reasonably accurate and reliable portrayal of the man. After all, if the book were politically slanted to present an untrue or incorrect picture of Barack Obama, or if the book misrepresented interviewee comments, a number of interviewees would have repudiated their statements as presented in the book – but I have not heard of a single such repudiation.
You may be wondering about the origin of the title, “Amateur”. The title comes from Bill Clinton’s personal assessment of Obama at a private political strategy meeting in August 2011:
“Barack Obama,” said Bill Clinton, “is an amateur!” (Loc 164)
Obama, the man
The book paints a sobering picture of a man unfit for the great and distinguished Office of the Presidency of the United States of America. A man who lacks the wisdom, training, and experience demanded by the office. A man who was groomed for office by Chicago’s thugs and crooks. A man whose management tools of choice are division, intimidation, and graft rather than political compromise and inclusion. A man best described as ruthless, amoral, and lawless. A man with an overgrown misconception of himself to the point of being consumed by a messianic complex, a man who sees other people as tools to be used to achieve his personal goals – not as intelligent individuals to be loved, respected, and served.
The book paints an illuminating picture of a classic 20th century atheist man, angry at God, proud, narcissistic, and megalomaniacal. A man who shakes his fist at God the way Stalin shook his fist at God even on his deathbed. A man made in the mold of unforgettable 20th century totalitarian leaders and tyrants; one who is most often compared to Mussolini. Thus he is more comfortable with the small time tyrants of today than with democratic statesmen.
The book has five parts; each part explores a different aspect of the man, his life, his character, and his actions:
Part 1 – Chicago, That Toddlin’ Town (Ch. 1-5)
This section of the book traces Obama’s roots, particularly focusing on his years in Chicago. Interviews explore how Obama got started in politics and how he was able to skyrocket from an unknown community organizer to the U.S. Senate in a few short years. These years include Obama’s history from the University of Chicago and his activities as Illinois Senator. Materials presented from an extensive open interview with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright illuminate not only the close relationship between the two men, but also Obama’s belief system.
Part 2 – Amateur Hour at the White House (Ch. 6-12)
This section of the book examines the functioning of Obama’s White House. Wherever great power exists, one expects to see tensions due to rivalries and power struggles – this is natural. A properly functioning organizational structure can tame, reduce, and harness these forces to produce consistent leadership for the benefit of the nation. Without such structure we are left with chaotic personal wars, turmoil, and confusion. Obama’s White House falls into the latter category.
We are given a view into a White House dominated by an incoherent operation totally driven by personalities and personal agendas, resulting in shake-ups, backstabbing, and inconsistent leadership. In addition, this section explores how Obama’s Chicago “training” has influenced his governance of the nation through patronage, nepotism, bribery, and so on. We see his philosophy of state capitalism playing out in his economic policies, particularly how
“Obama’s handling of the 2009 fiscal crisis showed an alarming lack of experience and a complete ignorance of how Washington works.” (Loc 820)
Part 3 – With Friends Like These (Ch. 13-16)
Many will find this section the most telling and interesting. It explores Obama’s relationships with key supporters and voting blocs, including the betrayal of Oprah Winfrey, snubbing of Caroline Kennedy, and disconnect with (and disregard for) critical Jewish and black voting blocs.
Part 4 – The Obama Doctrine (Ch. 17-19)
This section explores Obama’s broken relationship to the military (exemplified by the war with Gen. Jones) and illustrates the destructive effects of the chaotic structure in Obama’s White House operations. While most people may not have heard of “The Obama Doctrine”, it has become official policy. The Obama Doctrine turns long-standing American policies upside down and implements his absurd philosophy of “leading from behind.” In Obama’s world,
“American power had done more harm than good. Global interests should generally come before American interests. International law should be taken into consideration by American courts. Washington should hesitate to act without the cooperation of the world community. America had an obligation to extend an olive branch to everyone, including its sworn enemies in North Korea and Iran.” (Loc 2086)
Part 5 – A One-Term Proposition? (Ch. 20-22)
This last section of the book provides a panoramic summary of Obama’s presidency and looks forward to the 2012 elections and beyond. Obama is evaluated, compared to previous Presidents, and found lacking. He has not grown as President (as all successful Presidents have), but the mainstream media – totally enamored of him – wants voters to think so. Obama’s strategy for winning a second term is presented:
“Mainstream journalists contend that in the wake of the shellacking the Democrats took in the 2010 midterm elections, Obama & Co. were forced to go back to the drawing board. According to this version of events, Obama and his political advisers concluded after the midterms that the president would lose in 2012 if the election were a referendum on the economy. The election had to be a “choice election” between Obama and a “worse” Republican alternative in order for Obama to win, and had to start beating up on his potential Republican opponent right away.” (Loc 2366, emphasis added)
We have been seeing this plan played out for the past few months in the Republican primaries and it continues today. Just look at the vehement personal search and destroy attacks the media launched against every leading Republican candidate in the primaries; Obama’s team is now pursuing the same strategy against Mitt Romney. But not a word said about Obama’s performance… Will the strategy work?
The last two chapters of the book require special attention. These chapters explore how David Axelrod actually created a fictional Obama narrative for 2008 to win the election, and the consequences of that election for the nation. David Axelrod is creating a new, improved fictional narrative to win the 2012 election.
America has a choice in 2012: Shall we continue down the same destructive path, or will we return to our roots? Obama supporters claim there is a new, improved, better Obama in 2012. Opponents claim that he is the same failure we have experienced since 2008. Which will the nation choose?
“Those who claim there is a ‘New Obama’ have invented a man who doesn’t exist.” … So “What happened to the old Obama who was once hailed by liberals as their knight in shining armor and the country’s savior? … that Obama was a total invention, too.” (Loc 2424)
“If Obama is defeated, everything the Left stands for – universal healthcare, mandatory union membership, wealth redistribution, a bigger and bigger federal government – will be defeated along with him. But if Obama wins, the Left will be entrenched for years to come, and the United States will continue its headlong rush toward a bloated, deficit-ridden entitlement state similar to those of Europe.” (Loc 2561)
We as a nation really are at a cross-roads. God truly is giving us a clear choice. Which will it be?
Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
Fool me thrice, not in your life.
Unfortunately America will not get a third chance, so I pray voters will not be foolish in 2012.
 Kindle uses both page numbers and location codes to identify positions in the book. Since my Kindle displays the location code but not the page number, I have chosen to reference specific quotes via location codes. Location codes can be converted to pages as follows: There are 3153 location codes and 261 pages in the book, or 12.1 location codes per paper page.
 I base this statement mostly on his fervent anti-religious (certainly anti-Christian) policies and positions – especially his ardent support for all forms of abortion, including live birth abortions. This conclusion is illustrated in the book by The Chicago Sun-Times cartoon of Obama holding a “Live Birth Abortions” sign and yelling at God “You keep out of this!” ( Loc 254.)