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'The Amateur,' a new book slamming Obama, is already amassing critics

The book, by former NYT Magazine editor Edward Klein, makes Jodi Kantor’s “The Obamas” 'feel like a neighborly visit.'

By Husna Haq / May 17, 2012

“The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House” by former New York Times Magazine editor Edward Klein has barely been out two days but it’s already creating a stir.


Certain laws, whether of the natural world or otherwise, never fail. Where there’s road kill, there’s vultures, and in the publishing world, where’s there’s an election, there’s bound to be a book – or a dozen – attempting to destroy the candidate.

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The latest in a string of books taking aim at Barack Obama hit bookshelves Tuesday and, writes New York Magazine, “it’s likely to make Jodi Kantor’s “The Obamas” … feel like a neighborly visit.”

“The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House” by former New York Times Magazine editor Edward Klein has barely been out two days and it’s already creating a stir.

Among Klein’s sometimes unsubstantiated claims: Barack and Michelle almost divorced after his crushing Congressional defeat in 2000, an Obama “friend” unsuccessfully attempted to stop the Rev. Jeremiah Wright from preaching until after the November election with a $150,000 bribe, an “unusually jealous” Michelle Obama orders women close to her husband watched lest he cheat on her, and Oprah and Michelle have an ongoing feud.

Obama and his advisers have “gone to elaborate lengths to hide his dark side,” writes Klein, dubbing the President an “Amateur.”

It’s a bold claim, one perhaps made too easily in today’s political publishing world, and one any responsible reader ought to examine more closely.

Thus far reviews suggest Klein’s book is long on accusations, often caustic, and resoundingly short on specifics – or sources.

“The personal accusations – that Mr. Obama is aloof, that he has not learned from experience, that he has snubbed former supporters – are nasty but vague,” writes Janet Maslin in a stinging critique in The New York Times. Earlier, she writes, “And although the book repeatedly calls him a failure and a disappointment with regard to domestic affairs, Mr. Klein has no capacity for explaining specifics.”


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