cover image The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era

The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era

Michael Grunwald. Simon & Schuster, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-1-4516-4232-2

The Recovery Act of 2009 was a piece of legislation carefully and quickly designed to bring the economy back from the brink of a depression. As Time magazine senior correspondent Grunwald (The Swamp) argues, it did just that while simultaneously fulfilling many of President Obama’s most important campaign promises, including unprecedented investment in energy, education, and green jobs. However, despite its achievements, the legislation has invited fierce and fiery critiques from both left- and right-leaning politicians and remains largely misunderstood by the American public. Grunwald carefully documents the Recovery Act’s achievements and successes while elegantly explaining how they have been hopelessly overshadowed by the Obama administration’s communication failures, an uncompromising Republican minority, and the rise of Tea Party firebrands who successfully transformed economic positions widely accepted on both sides of the aisle for decades into political poison. Mammoth in scope, the book covers everything from a late-night meeting that ran over onto the Chicago El train to stimulus-funded biofuel plants that produce algae-infused chocolate ice cream (and jet fuel). Throughout, Grunwald keeps his tone snappy and readable, while consistently grounding the political story of the Recovery Act in its real impact on everyday Americans. The result is an impressive book about the startling gap between facts and media spin. Agent: Andrew Wylie, the Wylie Agency. (Aug.)