The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House by Edward Klein

September 16, 2012

Summary (from the publisher): Think you know the real Barack Obama? You don’t—not until you’ve read The Amateur

In this stunning exposé, bestselling author Edward Klein—a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, former foreign editor of Newsweek, and former editor-in-chief of the New York Times Magazine—pulls back the curtain on one of the most secretive White Houses in history. He reveals a callow, thin-skinned, arrogant president with messianic dreams of grandeur supported by a cast of true-believers, all of them united by leftist politics and an amateurish understanding of executive leadership.

In The Amateur you’ll discover:

  • Why the so-called “centrist” Obama is actually in revolt against the values of the society he was elected to lead
  • Why Bill Clinton loathes Barack Obama and tried to get Hillary to run against him in 2012
  • The spiteful rivalry between Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey
  • How Obama split the Kennedy family
  • How Obama has taken more of a personal role in making foreign policy than any president since Richard Nixon—with disastrous results
  • How Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett are the real powers behind the White House throne

The Amateur is a reporter’s book, buttressed by nearly 200 interviews, many of them with the insiders who know Obama best. The result is the most important political book of the year. You will never look at Barack Obama the same way again.


  • The best part of the book, IMO, was the interview with Rev. Wright. The fact that Wright was thrown under the bus by the Obama and his handlers after Wright became a liability provided a very telling look at Obama’s true character, so it wasn’t surprising that Wright wanted an opportunity to tell his side of the story. And what was his side? That Obama’s minions offered him $150,000 to stop speaking/preaching until after the election.
  • Klein provides the reader with numerous examples of the president’s arrogance and amateurish behavior, and many of the examples come from named sources (though a majority remain anonymous). I give credit to those willing to speak out against a sitting president not named George W. Bush.
  • It was interesting to read that Michelle probably wields more power than the press is willing to let on. Between her and Valerie Jarrett, it’s hard to tell who’s really in charge at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
  • I liked Klein’s exhortation near the end of the book that Republicans have to “remind” the American people of Obama’s lies, deceits, flip-flops, and other shortcomings, because god knows the press won’t do it for them.


  • Just about the only thing I disliked here is the way Klein insinuated that one mark of Obama’s amateurism is the way that he didn’t give campaign contributors and other advisers senior posts in his administration. Perhaps I was interpreting Klein’s words the wrong way, but it seemed to me that he was actually supporting these kinds of appointments (which I do not agree with).


As we head into the home stretch of the campaign, it’s becoming more important than ever to vet the candidates — especially since that wasn’t done for Obama in 2008. The simple question, as Klein points out, is whether you’re better off now than you were four years ago. More likely than not, your answer will be “no,” and that can be traced at least in part to the complete amateur sitting in the White House. I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

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