THE REAL ROMNEY by Michael Kranish


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Boston Globe scribes Kranish (Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War, 2010, etc.) and Helman attempt to animate the famously wooden presidential candidate.

The authors retrace the Romney lineage to the earliest days of the nascent Mormon Church, a time when the practice of polygamy forced his great-grandfather Miles Park Romney to flee to Mexico ahead of pursuing U.S. marshals. Such sharply drawn historical forays provide keen context to Mitt Romney’s personal trajectory. As a result, two things about him become readily apparent: He is a man profoundly enmeshed in his family’s religion, and, like his father George Romney, he really wants to be president of the United States. Beyond that, however, there is little here to explain what might be lurking behind the candidate’s photogenic good looks. The fault almost certainly does not belong to Kranish and Helman, who provide plenty of evidence of careful research. The simple fact may be that the real Romney is as shallow and inscrutable as he is depicted here. Revelations are few and far between—the most damning being a report that a disapproving Romney once pressured an unmarried member of his church to give up her baby for adoption. The authors dutifully chronicle Romney’s many career accomplishments as a venture capitalist, but most of these can be summarized in one sentence: He made a lot of money for people who already had a lot of money. In the end, the authors should be congratulated for making the TV-ready Romney more human; however, that alone does not make the "Mitt-bot" more fathomable or presidential.

A good-faith effort to profile a notoriously hard-to-define candidate.

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-212327-5
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2012


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