Tilting at Windmills

September/October 2012 A problem with Obama books

By Charles Peters

What is most gratifying about Michael Grunwald’s The New New Deal is that it
gives full attention to explaining the good about Obama’s stimulus program while also acknowledging the not so good. Most of the books about Obama, even excellent ones like Jodi Kantor’s and Noam Scheiber’s, devote considerably more attention to exploring Obama’s psyche or what is wrong with his approach to governing. Kantor’s book The Obamas, for instance, while calling the president’s legislative accomplishments “extraordinary,” devotes less than one page—it’s 192 if you want to check—to listing them.

Charles Peters is the founding editor of the Washington Monthly and the author of a new book on Lyndon B. Johnson published by Times Books.