Wednesday, December 4, 2013

DOUBLE DOWN by Mark Halperin

DOUBLE DOWN by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann examines the months leading up to Obama's second term election, defeating Mitt Romney. This insider's look behind the curtains at the debates and on the campaign trail is subtitled "Game Change 2012," focusing on Romney's blunders (such as his "47 percent" comments) as "Mitt happens." How did Clint Eastwood end up on stage at the Republican convention? Why did Romney reject Chris Christie in favor of Ryan? Why was the Clinton speech so effective, although it lasted double the time it was supposed to? These questions are answered by the two political analyst authors, as narrated by Robert Fass. Obama: "What am I supposed to do when Romney starts spewing his bullshit?" Clinton: "The facts are eloquent enough." Their high stakes winner-take-all poker match is fun to watch, and may have you wondering where we'd be now had Romney not stumbled or been dealt such unlucky (or lucky-for-us?) cards.  GEORGE WASHINGTON'S SECRET SIX by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager, narrated by Kilmeade, has the subtitle "The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution," and points to Robert Townsend as leader of the Culper Spy Ring, without whom the Revolution might not have succeeded. With the NSA spying on everyone big time, now, this audiobook may have you wondering if spy networks of various degrees of sophistication have been modus operandi in politics from the beginning. Could it be the origin of the phrase "information is power"? And then there's the return of Clive Cussler and Jack DeBrul's partnership in MIRAGE, an adventure featuring the cryptic ship Oregon. The formula is to present an action sequence lending historical perspective on some mystery that will later (usually in the present) set the plot in motion. Narrated by Scott Brick, the story is not without cliches (eg. "eyes like saucers") and involves a missing WWII destroyer, a mysterious container protected by three different mob bosses, and a secret weapon somehow linked to Nikola Tesla. I've interviewed all three players here, Cussler, Debrul, and Brick. Together, they make a good team to bring imaginative diversion from the usual simplistic video violence that is television. 

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