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.
This is a book about two men making the most important decisions in the world. One is Barack Obama. The other is Ben Rhodes.
The World As It Is tells the full story of what it means to work alongside a radical leader; of how idealism can confront reality and survive; of how the White House really functions; and of what it is to have a partnership, and ultimately a friendship, with a historic president.
A young writer and Washington outsider, Rhodes was plucked from obscurity aged 29. Chosen for his original perspective and gift with language, his role was to help shape the nation’s hopes and sense of itself. For nearly ten years, Ben Rhodes was at the centre of the Obama Administration – first as a speechwriter, then a policymaker, and finally a multi-purpose aide and close collaborator.
Rhodes puts us in the room at the most tense and poignant moments in recent history: starting every morning with Obama in the Daily Briefing; waiting out the bin Laden raid in the Situation Room; reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran; leading secret negotiations with the Cuban government; confronting the resurgence of nationalism that led to the election of Donald Trump.
This is the most vivid portrayal yet of Obama’s presidency. It is an essential record of the last decade. But it also shows us what it means to hold the pen, and to write the words that change our world.
About the Author
From 2009 to 2017, Ben Rhodes served as Deputy National Security Advisor to President 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 Speechwriter 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.
"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