The Real Romney

By Michael Kranish and Scott Helman

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is a political chameleon: a man of many faces and a past shrouded in mystery, half-truths and secrets. That’s according to The Real Romney, by Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, the first comprehensive biography of the man many believe will be the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. Their book is a thorough, behind-the-scenes probe into Romney’s life based on five years of reporting and hundreds of interviews. What emerges is a picture of Romney as a savvy, often ruthless political opportunist and a man with enough skeletons for a walk-in closet.

Kranish and Helman cover virtually every aspect of Romney’s life, beginning with his infamous ancestors who were key leaders in the early days of the Mormon Church. The authors reveal how crucial Romney’s Mormon faith is to everything from his family life to his role as a successful businessman and politician. Often we see a kind-hearted, altruistic Mitt Romney, willing to help anyone as long as they are fellow Mormons. This is a penetrating look into Romney’s past as a Mormon missionary (avoiding the draft in France), as a high-stakes venture capitalist who made millions at Bain leaving many companies crippled, and as a moderate governor who championed universal health care in Massachusetts but opposes it now.

The Real Romney also includes previously unreported details about Romney’s failed bid to unseat Senator Ted Kennedy, the problems that plagued him as head of the 2002 Winter Olympics, the infighting that spoiled his bid for president in 2008, and how he has again changed his course for this campaign. Thanks to The Real Romney, Americans can finally see behind Romney’s smile and into the ever-shifting personality of a man determined to do whatever it takes to win.

Grade: B
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