Return home

The Penguin Press


Menu

Share

Believer: My Forty Years in Politics


Edited by Ann Godoff

The great strategist who masterminded Obama’s historic election campaigns opens up about his years as a young journalist, political consultant, and ultimately senior adviser to the president.

The man behind some of the greatest political changes of the last decade, David Axelrod has devoted a lifetime to questioning political certainties and daring to bring fresh thinking into the political landscape. Whether as a child hearing John F. Kennedy stump in New York or as a strategist guiding the first African American to the White House, Axelrod shows in Believer how his own life stands at the center of the tumultuous American century.

Believer begins in the inimitable world of 1960s New York, but rapidly moves west. As a young newspaperman in the Chicago of the 1970s and 1980s, Axelrod reported on the dissolution of the last of the big city political machines, along with the emergence of a black, independent movement that made Obama’s ascent possible. Seeing the golden age of Chicago journalism collapse, Axelrod switched careers to become a political strategist, working for pathbreakers like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and morally conflicted characters like John Edwards. For better and worse, Axelrod helped to redefine the techniques by which modern political campaigns are run.

The heart of Believer is devoted to Axelrod’s twenty-year friendship with Obama, a warm partnership that inspired both men even as it propelled each to great heights. As senior adviser to the president, Axelrod served during one of the most challenging periods in national history and worked 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 grid-locked political institutions. In Believer, Axelrod offers a deeper and richer profile of this extraordinary figure—who in just six 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.

In frankly sharing his life and work over the decades, Axelrod ultimately traces the continuing evolution of the Democratic Party and the country at large. Believer is a powerful and inspiring memoir enlivened by the charm and candor of one the greatest political strategists in recent American history.

Share


Praise

“For sure, political junkies will have trouble putting the book down. And much of Washington will be yanking “Believer” off the shelf and turning to the index to see how they were treated…if you’re interested in how the sausage is made, you’ll want to read this book.”Chicago Tribune

“It helps that Axelrod can write. A journalist before he was a political consultant, his book is revealing, sometimes in ways I suspect he did not intend (more on that in a moment), but best of all, it is well told — the work of a capable, professional storyteller.” LA Times

“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

“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

“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

“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

 

Author Q&A

Excerpt

Sign me up for Serious Reads


SeriousReads_logo

A monthly newsletter featuring new and newsworthy nonfiction titles with exclusive excerpts and content from your favorite authors.


Serious Reads

Sign me up for Serious Reads, a monthly newsletter featuring new and newsworthy nonfiction titles with exclusive excerpts and content from your favorite authors.