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“In buoyant, vivid prose...All the Truth Is Out gives the reader a visceral appreciation of how our political discourse has changed in the last two and a half decades, and how those changes reflect broader cultural and social shifts….Mr. Bai adroitly shows us how an array of forces was converging to change the dynamics of political coverage.”
—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“Compelling….Bai’s superb book provokes many questions, and I gulped it down in a single sitting.”
—Ken Auletta, The New Yorker

All the Truth Is Out offers a terrific portrait of how news gets made…It’s riveting, a slow-motion car crash…[with] shrewd observations on the miserable state of contemporary political journalism (and politicians)….The media, as Hart experienced, pick and choose raw material from an individual life and fashion an image that often bears only a slim resemblance to the human being behind it. What matters is not who someone really is or what he has done. What matters is the symbolic need he meets.”

“A miniclassic of political journalism that will restart the debate of 1987.”
Jack Shafer, The New York Times Book Review

“If you like political thrillers, if you like dramatic novels about the world of power and personality, you’re going to love the new book All the Truth Is Out.”
The Michael Medved Show
“Bai doesn’t just make an argument: He tells the juicy Hart story all over again, right down to the oil-stained alley in which reporters cornered the candidate and interrogated him about the blonde in his apartment.…Bai’s important call for perspective is a reminder to all of us in the press and the electorate to recognize the complexity of the human condition, whether we’re casting aside candidates because they wear a funny helmet in a tank or because they once committed adultery.”
“Gary Hart. Remember him: the presidential contender who rode a boat named Monkey Business into a media whirlpool? You should, as [this] book…makes clear. And the reason isn’t so much the scandal that swallowed him or his particular exit from the campaign arena. It’s the warning that his story sounded—about a new brutality on the campaign trail, about uncharted waters of media invasiveness and about the way both would wind up culling the herd, not in favor of the strongest candidates but in favor of those so driven or vacuous that the caress of the spotlight redeems the indignities of the process.”
—Frank Bruni, The New York Times

“Fast-moving [and] vivid….This book will tell you a lot about what politics asks of and takes out of people, and about the highly imperfect ways in which we now assess ‘character’ and ‘substance’ when choosing our leaders.”
The Atlantic

“Matt Bai is right to see the story of Gary Hart’s downfall as a singular moment in American politics.”
The Washington Post

“You think you know it all: Donna Rice, Monkey Business, Hart taunting the press. You don’t. The combustible mix of new technology and politics was birthed in [the 1987] presidential campaign, and there was no turning back.”

“Bai…tells [Hart’s] story with details that only great reporting can provide.”
L. A. Times
“An introspective book that is set in another era but offers insights into ours…Bai says what is obvious—that the Donna Rice furor irreparably hurt Hart—but he also says what is less obvious, and very wise: that it hurt us all.”
The Boston Globe
“This book isn’t just for politicos. It is a must read for anyone interested in contemporary politics and media.”
The Christian Science Monitor

“If you think you know what happened to Gary Hart, read this book….A volume of insight and wisdom, an uncommon page-turner about the turning points we don’t recognize until we’re too far beyond them to turn back.”
Star Tribune
"A masterfully written account...this first-rate work of political journalism will fan embers long thought to have gone out."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Bai shows that he is [Richard Ben] Cramer’s worthy successor—his important cautionary tale will resonate with journalists and members of the media as well as with political players and readers of current history.”
Library Journal, starred review
“Vivid, suspenseful, instructive…There are so many good stories in All the Truth Is Out, it’s hard not to keep telling them.”
The Citizen-Times

“Bai’s title embodies the wry humor and empathy that makes All the Truth Is Out such a compelling read...The truth Bai is after is something larger and more substantial. Bai argues that Hart’s fall unleashed what President Bill Clinton would later call the ‘politics of personal destruction,’ and that the fixation of the media on the ill-defined ‘character issue’ constituted a tragedy for the entire country.”
Columbia Journalism Review

“Perhaps you’re one of the many millions who believe something has gone sadly wrong in national politics….If so, All the Truth Is Out is for you.”
The Dallas Morning News

“A new look at a scandal that changed American politics…[a] probing narrative.”

“Digging deep into a long-ago, mis-remembered scandal, Matt Bai has written an acutely intelligent and surprisingly moving page-turner about Gary Hart, journalistic blindness, and the trivialization of American politics.”
—George Packer, author of The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America

“In the tradition of his friend Richard Ben Cramer, Matt Bai astonishes us by delving deeply into a story and thus overturning our views about how the press should cover politics. This fascinating and deeply significant tale shows how the rules of American politics and journalism were upended for the worse by the frenzied coverage of Gary Hart’s personal life. The soot still darkens our political process.”
—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs

“A finely written, strikingly mature and thoughtful revisitation of the tawdry episode that destroyed Gary Hart’s promising political career. It would have been enough for Matt Bai just to tell that story, or to assess what it cost those directly involved, including the journalists sucked into it, but he goes much further, weighing its profound cost to us all. All the Truth Is Out is in the impressive tradition of Nixon Agonistes, only with a dramatic personal narrative at its core. I could not admire it more.”
—Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down

“What a tally of loss is to be found in this passionate and unsparing book about a turning point in modern America—an insider’s account, brilliantly told by one of America’s finest political journalists.”
—Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower

“As an account of an emblematic scandal—what we knew, thought we knew, and never knew till now—Matt Bai’s All the Truth Is Out is funny, sad, and riveting. As a work of cultural history and criticism, it is splendid—a clear-eyed but wholehearted exploration of the forces that have given us our (often disastrous) contemporary notions of campaign coverage, leadership, ‘character,’ privacy, and redemption.” 
—Margaret Talbot, author of The Entertainer

“The kerfuffle about alleged sexual impropriety that torpedoed Gary Hart’s presidential bid in 1987 drove an uncommonly promising leader from public life. It also helped to spawn the ‘gotcha’ journalism that has ever since sacrificed propriety and substance on the altars of prurience and sleaze. Fueled by a keen reverence for the finest traditions of his craft, Matt Bai revisits the sorry tale of Hart’s humiliation to measure the depths of journalism’s debasement today, and the harm it continues to inflict on American democracy.”
—David M. Kennedy, author of The American Pageant

 “What makes All the Truth Is Out such an extraordinary achievement is that the reader is spellbound by every unfolding detail, in the manner of a crime novel—even while, as Matt Bai makes all too clear, the true crime of the Gary Hart saga is how politics and journalism descended hand in hand into a ‘gotcha’ netherworld from whence it’s unlikely to return.”
—Robert Draper, author of When the Tea Party Came to Town

“With extraordinary care and rare insight, Matt Bai leads us from the unraveling of Gary Hart’s presidential campaign in 1987 to the present day—a trail that has brought American politics to a truly sad state.” 
—Robert B. Reich, author of Aftershock 

“Important and compassionate.”
—Ted Koppel

From the Hardcover edition.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Matt Bai is the national political columnist for Yahoo News. For more than a decade he was a political correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, where he covered three presidential campaigns. He is the author of The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics, named a notable book of 2007 by The New York Times. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.


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The Truth Is Not All It Seems To Be 23. September 2014
Von Louis N. Gruber - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
In 1987 Gary Hart, good-looking, brilliant, and a visionary political thinker, seemed likely to capture the Democratic nomination for the presidency, and quite possibly the presidency. Then in little over a week his candidacy imploded and his career was reduced to a one-liner. People still remember Hart, not for his political skills or his visionary ideas, but for an ill-fated excursion with a gorgeous young woman on a boat called Monkey Business. What really happened on that boat? What was Hart thinking? And why was his fall so catastrophic and permanent?

Author Matt Bai takes us through the episode, the times, the characters, and the changing political landscape to try to understand what happened. He doesn't actually reveal anything new about the incident. The players, those who are still alive, are sticking to their stories. More importantly he discusses what has changed in the political process as it merges with entertainment: inaccessible candidates who try to say as little as possible, while the press hounds them for missteps, gaffes, or personal failings (everyone has some), under he rubric of "character." Does this lead to better candidates and better office-holders? Probably not. The book is a fascinating account of this societal transition to what he calls tabloid politics.

Matt Bai writes a gripping account of the Hart meltdown and the changes that have followed. He has access to many of the key players and documents, and what he writes is both believable and profoundly disturbing. He writes in a clear, direct style which is easy to read. He left this reviewer both intrigued and saddened. The quality of political discourse in America has been changed in a fundamental and very destructive way. You may or may not agree with Author Bai's conclusions but he will hold your attention. If you are at all interested in American politics, you should read this book. I recommend it highly. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber.
12 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The Gary Hart scandal - a political inflection point 10. September 2014
Von Jedrury - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
"All The Truth Is Out" is Matt Bai's exhaustive retrospective which examines the downfall of Gary Hart's presidential campaign in May, 1987; his thesis being that the Hart scandal was an inflexion point in American politics. His political and culture judgment is keen and is surely worthy of weight; he sees a vacuum in the political debate, changing ideas about personal morality, a new generational ethos, new technologies and the tabloidization of every aspect of American life including news reporting.

His critical assessment of the press' tawdry role, especially the Miami Herald (Tom Fiedler) and the Washington Post (Ben Bradlee, Paul Taylor), in pursuing the story is balanced, he identifies reporters by name and then interviews them about their roles and their decisions years after the event. His admiration for Hart is palpable, yet equally critical and understanding, recognizing the candidates past indiscretions.

Bai is given to "superlative" overload characterizing his press coterie and others who he admires in glowing terms; one writer as "one of the greatest non fiction writers of this or any age;" Hart as "flat-out the smartest politician;" one reporter as "one of the finest investigative reporters of all American journalism;" another "the best in the business." He engages in small journalist sleights of hand at the end in dealing Donna Rice's non admission to having an affair with Hart; something neither of the two have ever admitted. Bai's sympathies demonstrably lie with the Democrats, little comment is made about Obama. He sees Romney exuding "an inner reservoir of nothingness." Bai writes well, his phrasing is smooth, almost liquid smooth. "All The Truth Is Out" is a fine read.
36 von 45 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Gary Hart breaks my heart, all over again 17. September 2014
Von Nathan Webster - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Normally, when I write a five-star review, it flows easily and I can focus on a few clear high-points, with a focused argument and good examples. Calling this review a 'rant' would be a fair criticism. Still, if books are meant to make a reader feel something beyond the page, then five stars it is.

Here was a book that even days later has me thinking about it in many different ways, and when I try to focus on any one of them for the review, I start typing and realize "that's not what I meant, it's something else."

I could argue that the last political book I felt that way about was Richard Ben Cramer's tour-de-force "What it Takes," which I can safely call the greatest political book ever written; many of the names have been lost to time (Michael Dukakis? Really?) while others rebounded successfully (Biden, and Bush). For good reason, Matt Bai refers to that book a lot here.

If you read "What it Takes," I think it's an antidote for cynicism - whether you agree with anyone's politics, it makes you understand how brutal and patient and determined the men are, who ran for President in 1988. We can mock them now all we want - but you come out of that book thinking, "these really were the best we had," despite all their failures and flaws.

Gary Hart is a main "character" in Cramer's narrative and the implosion of his campaign was the first time I felt honestly betrayed and let down by a candidate - even too young to vote, I let myself believe in him in 1984. He was "our guy," even though the age didn't quite fit. And even though I knew he wouldn't win in 1984, I knew he'd run - and I did believe he'd win - in 1988.

Of course he didn't, for all the reasons that Matt Bai goes over once again, in excruciating, painful, embarrassing, demeaning detail. All the theories, all the rationalizations, all the Very Good Reasons why his supposed affair with Donna Rice "disqualified" him for public office. In 2014, of course, we know that not only does it not disqualify one from office, it provides a personal story - a "narrative" of redemption, if you will, that increases votes.

If "What it Takes" is the antidote for cynicism, this book feels like the poison we've been taking for 26 years - when I let myself get suckered by the ambitious, the self-righteous, the harridans and magpies. And I bought it, like I said. Back in '87, I was trying to half-heartedly argue with someone - the usual "why should an affair matter, blah blah" and he said - "you know, if you can't keep an affair secret, you can't negotiate with the Soviets." It sounds good, makes sense, so I agreed so I'd feel good about myself - about "my sense," about "my morality" - but so what? Ben Bradlee prattles on about how Kennedy still makes hm feel nostaligic, like Kennedy was the better angel, despite his numerous personal flaws.

When do I get to believe in somebody and have him/her go down in flames because his/her ideas were no good and didn't carry the day? So instead of a media that breaks down every nuance of Al Gore's "quotes" - most of which he didn't say - we get hard looks at policies and arguments that might actually matter. We didn't get in 2008, that's for sure, not from either side - which Bai also enthusiastically explains, but I already knew.

Yes, this is off track on a tangent, I understand that.

But this book made me nostalgic for 1987 in a way I didn't expect, and I have to say I didn't want. I didn't want to remember that I let myself care, and thanks to the ambitious careerism of Tom Fiedler (who at least changed his bio - you'll see what I mean) and Paul Taylor, what are we left with? Nothing real. Just an ambulance-chasing scandal of a guy who liked the ladies and a wife who probably liked some alone time. But what do I know? It was never my business, until it was everybody's business.

I can see the news value, I can. I understand Hart made grave mistakes. But the trade-off was everything that followed: blue dresses, whether Dean "screamed" or not, a travel-office 'scandal' that 99.9 percent of people couldn't remember. The foxes got the scent - but they didn't have the ambition for anything big, just the splashy. The media thought small, so we got small.

All you old people, babbling about your Kennedy and your "greatest generation." Never mind the moral failures of JFK, and the endemic racism/sexism of the WWII generation. But we bought that myth, because we got sold that myth. When it was my time to believe, you didn't let me have it - and you wonder why people don't believe now. Because we have the media turning up rocks and telling us there's a gross slug there - we know that. That's why they call it a "rock." Because it shouldn't move. And then we keep chasing a bad bet, trying to recapture the magic and that gets us Obama or Palin and look what that got us.

I feel robbed. I feel rooked. Now I remember why I was so angry in 1987, because I was losing my heart and I didn't know it. You can't believe a second time; it doesn't work like that. Call me naive (fair), melodramatic (sure), call me anything you want. I don't like the people who did that to me, when I was too young to know it - and especially now when I'm too old to do anything about it.

This book reminded me of that all over again. And I didn't want to know. I want my heart back, like I had in 1987 when I was young and wanted to believe, and I can't have it, and that makes me sad.


UPDATE, Oct. 3: Tom Fiedler, the Miami Herald reporter who actually confronted Hart outside Hart's apartment, responded to the book for - among other points, he used the examples of Alexander Hamilton and Grover Cleveland, politicians who also faced scandalous accusations - Cleveland, for example, fathered a child out-of-wedlock. Basically, he claimed correctly that these scandals are hardly new.

Fiedler also wrote, "How big must a lie be to be "consequential"? Of course there can be harmless lies, such as when a politician tells a mom that her infant child is the cutest one he's ever seen.

"But was it inconsequential when Hart repeatedly, and for weeks before the confrontation, publicly denied that he was a "womanizer"?"

Here's the problem: who is Fiedler to call his "baby" example "harmless?" - it's the smarmy, disingenuous comment that politicians make all the time, and reporters let them get away with it. So, fine, maybe it IS harmless, maybe it doesn't matter - but Fiedler is already picking and choosing where he decides to draw the line of his personal "morality." And if he's going to decide that adultery is "too far" but smarmy, disingenuous comments are "harmless" than his own biases are affecting his coverage and what he chases.

Al Gore is a "good" example - Gore, at worst, simplified and condensed a variety of true stories. Reporters called him dishonest because he was not being literally true and accurate.

It's not literally true and accurate for politicians to say "the state of the Union has never been stronger!" or "your baby is the cutest I've ever seen!" or "I only do what my wife tells me! Har har har!" or "I'm not a womanizer."

But Fiedler calls SOME lies "harmless" and then goes to the mat for the lies HE decides weren't harmless? I'm not saying he's wrong, but as a defense for why Hart's adultery deserved to be exposed? His comment about "harmless lies" doesn't prove his point - it destroys it.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Thorough exploration of Gary Hart's downfall and its impact of journalism today 7. Oktober 2014
Von J. Silva - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Matt Bai is a well respected long time political reporter for the New York Times Magazine. He is well known for his doggedly thorough research, his penetrating interviews, and his refusal to settle for the simple answer to a complex question. He brings all those skills and tools to this book about how coverage of the Gary Hart infidelity scandal during the 1987 presidential race changed the way the media covered politics, truly forever.
Bai writes the book on three separate levels. First, he goes back to 1987 and thoroughly reexamines each aspect of the week that exploded the Hart candidacy all over both legitimate and tabloid media, from Hart's actions to the behavior of the reporters most deeply involved in covering Hart. Second, he explores Gary Hart, the elderly former politician, what he does now, and the way he was consistently frustrated in his attempts to once again politically relevant in the decades since he dropped out of the race. Third, and clearly most important to Bai, he delves into the motivation of the reporters and editors who were the primary actors in the week that brought Hart to his withdrawal from the race, and connects their behavior to the kind of sensational, aggressive, relentless media conduct we see today.
Bai is nothing if not thorough. While the book is fascinating, and full of information only he could access and put together in this form, Bai if exceedingly fond not only of detail, but of reviewing those details, and then returning to the details to analyze them. So, the book is not only exhaustive, it's exhausting to read.
Truly, having read the entire book and then read the adaptation published in the September 18, 2014 edition of the Times Magazine, I'd recommend reading the article. No, it doesn't contain every single intriguing tidbit, but you'll have saved yourself the cost of the book and the tedium of wading through Bai's forest of words to find the trees.
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A Man Ahead of His Time 21. August 2014
Von Daniel Weitz - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
This is an interesting, well-written book written by Matt Bai, a former editor of the New York Times Magazine; and like many in his place, for all practical purposes, a Democratic Party operative; yet his disdain for politicians of both parties is often ill-concealed. What Mr. Bai broadly hints at is that all journalists take sides; some politicians they root for and help, while others they treat with contempt. Even when discussing the `good old days of reporting' Mr. Bai states on page 227 of his book "...the media's job was to explain that argument (the position of the candidate) and the tactics with which it was disseminated." The fact is, that explanation can be rather subjective. Now, the author feels that "...a simple misspoken line, a single emotional or ill-advised candid moment, can become a full-blown existential crisis." Reporters and political journalism has shifted from a focus on agenda, to a narrow focus on character. They have reduced careers to isolated transgressions. What the author fails to address, and this I believe is that books greatest shortcoming, is that he doesn't really address the way candidates in their turn, manipulate the media. Bai despises Palin, and Obama: "As a job applicant, Obama's resume was only marginally more impressive than Palin's". Both were the product of entertainment television.
Gary Hart's scandal portended a cultural transformation in America; where the news has shifted from discussions of candidate's political ideas and positions to digging for the slightest hint of scandal, real or imagined. Even respected papers such as the Washington Post and New York Times have sunk to this level, as when they broadly hinted that presidential candidate McCain had an affair with a lobbyist, even though this was denied and never substantiated. Very few Americans know or care that Hart has a doctorate from Oxford and is a fine historianJames Monroe: The American Presidents Series: The 5th President, 1817-1825 (American Presidents (Times)) Restoration of the Republic: The Jeffersonian Ideal in 21st-Century America; all they remember is Dona Rice and "Monkey Business".
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