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Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,119 Ratings  ·  168 Reviews
Unabridged CDs • 8 CDs, 10 hours

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Barton Gellman’s newsbreaking investigative journalism documents how Vice President Dick Cheney redefined the role of the American vice presidency, assuming unprecedented responsibilities and making it a post of historic power.
Audio CD, 10 pages
Published September 16th 2008 by Penguin Audio (first published January 1st 2008)
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Sep 20, 2009 Ray rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those interested in National affairs, whether Democrat or Republican
This was an excellent book, based on Barton Gellman's Pulitzer Prize winning 2008 investigations and writings on National politics. As a Washington Post writer, Mr. Gellman had access to many in Cheney's inner circle and the Bush White House to put together this informative description of the Vice President's role in setting the tone and direction of the Administration. We've seen political cartoons over the past eight years with Dick Cheney as the ventriloquist, pulling the strings and putting ...more
Sep 30, 2015 Jay rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-bagged
A friend of mine - who actually remains a friend - recommended this book to me, and the local library had the unabridged audio book. Furthermore, Barton Gellman is a great journalist, and this book is an acclaimed piece of journalism and biography. Hey, I got through Jane Mayer's "The Dark Side", right?

It was like listening to the biography of a tarantula. I kept having to fight the urge to spray my brain with Raid. I struggled through 3 CDs until I became so angered and disturbed by the subjec
Dec 09, 2012 emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the U.S.
Terrifying, fascinating. Cheney comes off as an X-men-level supervillain and always, always the smartest guy in the room. I think, more than anything, I was really struck by the effort Mr. Gellman (and, by extension, I guess, everyone he interviewed) goes to to point out that G.W.B. was less dumb (and less apathetic) than we thought. This, honestly, sort of shakes up my whole worldview, but it also makes Cheney all the more terrifying in that over and over again we see that even the White House ...more
Jan 25, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Tara Fetherling
The author was a winner of the 2008 Pulitizer Prize. This book has the potential of making you mad, it did me. It focused on the full scope of Cheney's work and it's consequences, including going from al Qaeda to Iraq, spying on Americans, promoting torture, global warming, tax cuts for the wealthy, secret prisons, and how he operated politically in the White House. It's a great study of the Bush administration.
Paul Donahue
Dec 21, 2009 Paul Donahue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hipsters and other types of partisan Democrats love the idea of Cheney as someone beyond a mere political adversary, but someone who truly embodies pure evil. There were times during the Bush administration that everyone must have been suspicious of such a characterization. Cheney did himself no favors by cloaking all his decisions, benign and otherwise, in a veil of secrecy and it certainly didn't help that he looks generally sinister anyway. Gellman's book peels back the cloak to reveal somewh ...more
Nov 24, 2008 marcali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
add a crunchy top layer to the political casserole created by The Bush Tragedy, The Terror Presidency, Bush's Law and many many NYer articles.

neat summary of these past eight Wonderland years:

A three-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit...said the classified files contained mere assertions, not evidence. When the government declared the intelligence reliable because in appeared in three different documents, the judges mocked that reasoning. "The fact that the government
Jul 16, 2015 Jack rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A petrifying view into the imperial vice presidency, with an amazing array of Washington insiders - many quoted by name for the first time. Gellman's research is prodigious, his access is amazing, and the sometimes previously unknown stories are often chilling.
Jul 16, 2009 Alison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Finished this book a few days ago, and I give it a strong recommendation. Gellman is meticulous to describe Cheney's modus operandi through its strengths and limitations, successes and failures. Gellman's assessment of the Cheney vice-presidency takes care to demonstrate what Cheney was and what Cheney wasn't. He pulls no punches in recounting the events leading up to the Bush administration's condoning of both torture and domestic surveillance. What was interesting to me was Gellman's treatment ...more
Nov 30, 2008 Garver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gellman's exhaustively sourced and gripping account of Cheney's transformation of OVP could not be any more fascinating. Getting beyond all the conspiracy theories and general nutjobbery that surrounds the man, the book tells a story of an almost Greek tragic hero -- a man so blinded by ideology and a lust for secrecy that he may have been at once the most effective and destructive holder of the office. Starting with Cheney's appointment to the ticket (recall, he ran Bush's VP search committee i ...more
Steve Tally
Angler, by the well-respected writer Barton Gellman, is an important book and a good read as well. Important, because it shows the multitude of ways that Dick Cheney manipulated the federal bureaucracy, which Cheney knew well, to form a wall around President George W. Bush. Bush was making decisions as president, certainly, but Cheney controlled the information delivered to the president and the people who had access to him. In that carefully controlled environment some of Bush's head-scratching ...more
Dave Metge
1. Cheney is the man behind the power. He had his hands in _everything major_ or so it seems. As I read the book, it seemed like many major decisions were made w/o proper vetting/procedures being followed. THus, it seem like there were almost no types of consultation or critical thinking involved in making and enacting the decisions. From Abu Grab to torture to Fed rates to water management; this guy was making major policy decisions, often with minimal presidential .

2. Bush comes off as
Dec 02, 2009 Alec rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastically interesting piece of non-fiction tied together by a narrative worthy of an Aaron Sorkin drama. Specifically, the West Wing. Alright, I've never seen the West Wing, but if it is at all like this book, I am going to go out and purchase the DVDs.

In an era when Cheney bashing is as trendy as skinny jeans, this book is a breath of fresh air. Not because it is written from a pro-Cheney angle, but because it appears to be a sparkling piece of journalistic objectivity.

A ruthlessly effectiv
Mar 24, 2009 Ronspross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
The Bush administration has been the most damaging one of my life -- and I can remember Eisenhower. The former President still has his apologists who claim he is intelligent, well informed, and engaged. There is no evidence for this whatsoever. The man exhibited no acquaintance with anything other than the cultural prejudices with which he grew up and no awareness of the existence of a host of alternative prejudices. The lack of intelligence or deliberation is evident in the fact that he demonst ...more
May 11, 2012 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
I checked out this book with a lot of interest. I will never see eye-to-eye with Dick Cheney on a majority of issues but I found his quest for power very fascinating. Gellman does a pretty solid job (though at times mildly repetitive) in summing up top-secret meetings & events which includes my personal favorite; Alberto Gonzales & James Comey rushing to the bed side of AG John Ashcroft.

Without spoiling too much of the book, you get a pretty good understanding of how Dick Cheney operate
Jan 26, 2009 Remo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book provides an interesting perspective on how to take over the entire policy process in Washington. It is not a flattering book, and the author clearly is not a Cheney fan, but an interesting portrait of the former VP comes out anyway. VP Cheney offered to be President Bush’s “detail guy”, handling things the President didn’t want on his plate. The first step (after leading a search for a vice presidential candidate and rejecting all comers) was to be put in charge of the transition, duri ...more
Feb 23, 2009 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics-history
Why do people hate Dick Cheney? I read this book for answers and, happily, I can say Gellman delivers. The book starts weakly by making some innuendos about Cheney regarding a 'leak' about a VP candidate, Gov. Keating; the offended governor seems to believe only Cheney could have caused his troubles even though he admits he told several people about the subject when he was being cleared for an earlier job. Nevertheless, after this small misstep Gellman does a reasonably good job of illustrating ...more
Jan 12, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it
I recently downloaded this audiobook on a whim from LA County library online system (check it out, LA locals). All I knew was that it was an in depth look at Dick Cheney in his role as VP, and that the author, Barton Gellman, had shared the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for his writing on Cheney with the Washington Post.

Gellman succeeds in taking 8 years of data (along with a lot of before and after) and boiling it down into a page-turning account of the man who was the closest our nation has ever come t
Dec 29, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best political book I've read about the Bush administration. A remarkably even-handed and detailed profile of Cheney's years in the White House. It destroys a lot of the more ludicrous ideas of Cheney's motives while revealing things that are so calculated and unyielding that its shocking. On one hand, Cheney's secrecy goes as far as to even hide things that would dispel myths about him, like his forfeiting millions in Haliburton stock options. On the other hand, he and his chief lawyer Davi ...more
Dec 06, 2008 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: political junkies
Recommended to Nathan by: Amy Morris
11/11: Hits the ground running with Cheney's terse, intrusive manipulation of the 2000 vice presidential vetting process, which turned out not to be necessary since Cheney chose himself as vp.

11/12: No surprise. Cheney gives his higher-up subordinates comparable positions in the president's staff, finesses himself into the Principals Committee and the Senate Republican Caucus, and makes himself a confidential adviser to the president on a level with the national security adviser. Most readers wo
Smiley McGrouchpants
A bit more than you'd want to read, but, as the story goes on, you see the administration turn a corner: there's only so much shit Cheney can pull (Bush doesn't figure into the narrative much — he's not a "details man"). How this match made in opportunism's Purgatory came to be, you'll find out in these pages, along with such tidbits as who the hell David Addington is, and how pivotal he (and John Yoo — another screamingly-obvious figure, right?) were in the whole "we'll nod our heads in a circl ...more
Nov 20, 2015 Simon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not a Dick Cheney fan. Surprise. But this book seemed even-handed to me, and I did come away with an appreciation for what Mr. Cheney may have thought he was doing in the years after 9/11. Gellman tidily disposes of the usual stuff about Cheney making a profit from the Iraqi War. The Vice-President seems to have been incorruptible. Unfortunately, the word is usually applied to Robespierre, and that is actually more in line with Cheney's personality. Gellman describes a man who is obsessed w ...more
John Beverley
If you are at all curious about the issue of abuse of presidential power during recent Democratic and Republican administrations, this book reveals the details of how it came to be. The legal interpretations underlying the power grab can be laid directly at the doorstep of Dick Cheney starting in the Nixon administration and accelerating under Cheney and his Chief of Staff, David Addington, in the G.W. Bush administration. Under their advice, Bush asserted Commander in Chief supremacy over legis ...more
Aug 19, 2014 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved that this book isn't really a biography, but rather a mostly chronological depiction of Cheney's time in the White House. It's also classically objective, unbiased journalism--Gellman even refrains from using 'I' the few times it's necessary, calling himself "the author." I even came out of it with a little more respect for Cheney than I had before, since Gellman gives no credence to the accusations of financial impropriety that linger over Cheney and his Halliburton connections. And Che ...more
My first reaction upon finishing Gellman’s book on the Cheney vice presidency was to speculate on how embarrassed those who served in the Bush Administration would be at the description of events presented in this book. Memos, emails, and memorandums were forwarded onto the Office of the Vice President (OVP) for years without the knowledge of staffers, policy makers, and even cabinet secretaries, and Cheney served as the gatekeeper to the president selecting (or suggesting) options before the pr ...more
Sharon Anne Beers
Apr 16, 2016 Sharon Anne Beers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
I wrote a long review on Shelfari that did not transfer here. Briefly, I believe Cheney is immoral, evil, and likely criminal. The book is character revealing.
Steve Anderson
Feb 14, 2016 Steve Anderson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*A must-read for any U.S. Citizen, in my opinion*
This book is one of, if not the MOST, thoroughly researched investigative reads into a subject and the affect of the subject on the environment. It is as is if Barton Gellman begins to tell a story, but uncovers more than expected - Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" began to ring in my mind - and the reader follows along this UNBELIEVABLE journey into a near-Shakespearian drama uncovered through primary source interviews, documents, and declassifie
Edward Sullivan
The man is truly the Prince of Darkness.
Rana Sinha
Jul 16, 2016 Rana Sinha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book is fairly well referenced. Gellman avoids using complicated ways of saying things with fancy words. This makes it easy to read.

Let me review this book by answering two questions (asked by a reader friend Katie Semenick).

1. What do you as a reader get, from reading "Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency"? - Reading the book confirmed my idea about how things are/were run in the US government and what was Cheney’s pivotal role in the events leading to the response to 9/11 and beyond.
2. What
A man of remarkable intelligence, a dominating presence in a room, a keen analytical mind capable of dissecting problems and finding solutions; a man of strong principles. All of these are descriptions that one gains of Vice President Cheney from this book. And, in general, all of these characteristics or traits would be what one would want in a leader of our country.

The problem, as the author points out, that Cheney's principles were out of sync with American values, American historic principl
Nov 09, 2008 AC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of history, political science, management
The running joke about the Bush Administration actually being a Cheney Administration has a ring of truth in it, but it actually unfair to both men. Gellman's brilliant research and analysis uncovers how Cheney redefined the Vice Presidency. Sometimes the decisions he made were done with POTUS approval, sometimes with tacit understanding, sometimes POTUS was completely unaware. Cheney was a man on a mission - from appointing himself as candidate for VP, to decisions he made during and post 9/11 ...more
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“It was one thing to say the president's politically appointed lawyers green-lighted domestic surveillance. It was another to claim a go-ahead from career civil servants, unbeholden to the White House.” 1 likes
“It was possible to construct a case, one Bush administration lawyer said, in which the high-ranking officials who planned and authorized the program were engaged in a criminal conspiracy.” 0 likes
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