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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Woodward's seventeenth book takes interested readers and they will need to be very interested behind closed doors to observe how the nation's debt crisis developed over the past three-and-a-half years. Copious interviews with major players in this stand-off between the president and congressional Republicans (more than 100 individuals, so the author states) led the author to prepare a you-are-there, fly-on-wall approach to detailing the struggle...to manage federal spending and tax policy. The specific focus, and subsequently a big chunk of the book,centers on the 44-day high-stakes negotiations between the two sides in June and July, 2011, a brutal haggling over raising the debt ceiling. The cast in this drama is huge, but of course President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner loom largest upon the stage. These two key players attempted to reach a grand bargain that would ease the crisis for some time to come. Woodward's purpose is to reveal how close they came and why an agreement failed. If readers are looking for an unbiased chronicle of these events, they better look elsewhere. Woodward appears to have walked into the writing of this book ready to lay most of the blame on the president. Some journalists in the know have reported that there is really nothing new here, but political junkies surely will read to the last page. For most readers, though, much of this will be TMI.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2010 Booklist