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About the book
  • Published: 16 April 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784708252
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $28.00

The World As It Is

Inside the Obama White House


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A revelatory, behind-the-scenes account of the Obama presidency from perhaps his closest collaborator, and a political memoir about the power of words to change our world.

‘One of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people’ BARACK OBAMA


A revelatory, behind-the-scenes account of the Obama presidency and a political memoir about the power of words to change our world

This is a book about two people making the most important decisions in the world. One is Barack Obama. The other is Ben Rhodes.

A young writer and Washington outsider, Rhodes was plucked from obscurity aged 29. For nearly ten years, he was at the centre of the Obama Administration – first as a speech-writer, then a policy maker, and finally a close collaborator.

Here, Rhodes tells the full story of his partnership – and, ultimately, friendship – with a historic president. From the early days of the Obama campaign to the final hours in the Oval Office, he puts us in the room at the most tense and poignant moments in recent history.

‘Vivid, lucid, enjoyable… A compelling account of life in the Obama White House’
Justin Webb, The Times

‘A stylish, beautifully written political memoir’
Colum McCann

  • Pub date: 16 April 2019
  • ISBN: 9781784708252
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 480
  • RRP: $28.00

About the Author

Ben Rhodes

From 2009 to 2017, Ben Rhodes served as Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama overseeing the Administration’s national security communications, speechwriting, public diplomacy and global engagement programming.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, from 2007-2008 Rhodes was a senior speech-writer and foreign policy advisor to the Obama campaign. Before joining then Senator Obama’s campaign, he worked for former Congressman Lee Hamilton from 2002-2007. He was the co-author, with Tom Keen and Lee Hamilton, of Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission.

A native New Yorker, Rhodes has a B.A. from Rice University and an M.F.A. from New York University.


Praise for The World As It Is

“Ben’s one of the few who’ve been with me since that first presidential campaign. His memoir is one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House”

BARACK OBAMA

“Ben Rhodes … has written a book that reflects the president he served — intelligent, amiable, compelling and principled … a classic coming-of-age story, about the journey from idealism to realism, told with candor and immediacy … There are anecdotes galore, but they illuminate rather than scandalize … Ben Rhodes is a charming and humble guide through an unprecedented presidency … As a result, his achievement is rare for a political memoir: He has written a humane and honorable book”

New York Times

“Vivid, lucid, enjoyable ... A compelling account of life in the Obama White House”

Justin Webb, The Times

“Taut, compelling.”

Peter Conrad, Observer

“A page-turning, unfiltered, altogether human look at Barack Obama’s presidency. Ben Rhodes — one of Obama’s closest and most important advisers — opens up the defining issues of the presidency: from the role of race and the rise of conspiracy theories to the hunt for bin Laden, the Syria “red line” debate, and the secret negotiations Ben himself led to normalize ties with Cuba. Insightful, funny, and moving, this is a beautifully observed, essential record of what it was like to be there.”

Samantha Power, Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations

“This stylish, beautifully writtenpolitical memoir reminds us that the local and the universal are intimately braided. Ben Rhodes steps into the river of history and charts a course through some of the most significant and alarming landscapes of our times. In this meditation on story-telling and power, Rhodes helps make sense of the bewildering times we currently inhabit. Alongside President Obama, he shakes us out of the ruts of ordinary perception and manages to find hope in the face of most available evidence.”

Colum McCann, author of Let The Great World Spin

“Ben Rhodes is one of the most brilliant minds and powerful storytellers I’ve ever known. In The World As It Is, he doesn’t just bring you inside the room for the key moments of Obama’s presidency, he captivates you with the journey of an idealistic young staffer who becomes the President’s close friend and advisor – a journey that both cynics and believers will find riveting and hopeful.”

Jon Favreau, former Director of Speechwriting for President Obama

“More than any other White House memoirist, Rhodes is a creature of the man he served”

George Packer, New Yorker

“This is that rare beast, an engaging and wonderfully written book on foreign policy”

Steve Bloomfield, Prospect

“[Ben Rhodes’s] achievement is rare for a political memoir: he has written a humane and honourable book”

Joe Klein, Scotland on Sunday

“Part of the charm of Rhode’s story is that he doesn’t try to hide the extent to which this was largely about his own crisis of identity. The book is engagingly honest in its self-centredness… Rhodes understands the anomalousness of his own situation”

David Runciman, London Review of Books

“Rhodes explores some of the darker elements of speechwriting… [and shows] communications is often a battle between a two-dimensional and a three-dimensional view-point”

David Pitofsky, Times Literary Supplement


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