Century Foundation trustee Jonathan Alter discusses his new book, The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies. Event will be hosted by history professor at Rutgers, David Greenberg.
“Highly informed, energetically reported…. Alter gives us a lucid picture of the toxic, highly partisan political environment in which today’s controversies are occurring.” (The New York Times)
From the bestselling author of The Promise, the thrilling story of one of the most momentous contests in American history, the Battle Royale between Obama and his enemies from the 2010 midterms through the 2013 inauguration.
The election of 2012 will be remembered as a hinge of history. With huge victories in the 2010 midterm elections the Republican Party had blocked President Obama at every turn and made plans to wrench the country sharply to the right. 2012 offered the GOP a clear shot at controlling all three branches of government and repealing much of the social contract dating back to the New Deal. Facing free-spending billionaires, Fox News, and a concerted effort in 19 states to tilt the election by suppressing Democratic votes, Obama repelled the assault and navigated the nation back to the center.
In The Center Holds, Jonathan Alter produces the first full account of America at the crossroads. With exclusive reporting and rare historical insight, he pierces the bubble of the White House and the presidential campaigns in a landmark election that marked the return of big money and the rise of big data. He tells the epic story of an embattled president fighting back with the first campaign of the Digital Age.
Alter relates the untold story behind Obama’s highs and lows, from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound to the frustration of the debt ceiling fiasco to his unexpected run-ins with black and Latino activists. There are fresh details about the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist, Roger Ailes, and the online haters who suffer from “Obama Derangement Syndrome.” Alter takes us inside Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s Boston campaign as well as Obama’s disastrous preparation for the first debate. We meet Obama’s analytics geeks working out of “The Cave” and the man who secretly videotaped Romney’s infamous comments on the “47 percent.”
The Center Holds will deepen our understanding of the Obama presidency, the stakes of the 2012 election, and the future of the country.
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David Greenberg is associate professor of History and of Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University , New Brunswick . His first book, Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image (W.W. Norton, 2003) won the Washington Monthly Annual Political Book Award, the American Journalism History Award, and Columbia University ’s Bancroft Dissertation Award. Calvin Coolidge (Henry Holt), a biography for the American Presidents Series, published in December 2006, appeared on the Washington Post’s list of best books of 2007. Presidential Doodles(Basic Books, 2006) was widely reviewed and featured on CNN, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and CBS’s “Sunday Morning.” He recently was awarded the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, awarded annually to someone “whose work in the humanities shows extraordinary promise and has a significant public component related to contemporary culture,” as well as the Rutgers University Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence. He is currently working on a history of political spin.
Prof. Greenberg has written for numerous scholarly and popular publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Foreign Affairs, The Journal of American History, Reviews in American History, and Daedalus. He is a regular contributor to the online magazine Slate, where he writes the "History Lesson" column and other occasional reviews and essays. Before pursuing his PhD, he served as Acting Editor and Managing Editor of The New Republic magazine and, early in his career, as the assistant to author Bob Woodward, on The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House (Simon & Schuster, 1994). Prof. Greenberg holds a BA in History from Yale University (Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, 1990) and a PhD in History from Columbia University (2001).
He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Suzanne Nossel, and their children, Leo and Liza.
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