The Promise: Jonathan Alter on Obama's First Year

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Barack Obama decided on the night he won the presidency to make comprehensive health care legislation his first priority. Not all of his aides agreed. "I begged him not to do this," his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, later told Jonathan Alter for his book, "The Promise: President Obama, Year One."

With reconstructed scenes from the Oval Office and insider accounts, the book shows where Obama has succeeded — and where he knows he failed — as he developed his policies on heath care reform, the war in Afghanistan, and financial regulations. It also shows how he made those decisions, complete with details on the internal debates and what made the president lose his characteristic cool, no-drama demeanor.