In This Review

The Real Romney
The Real Romney
By Michael Kranish, Scott Helman
Harper, 2012, 416 pp.

This life of Willard Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts and the current front-runner in the Republican presidential primary, is one of the least substantive, most unsatisfying political biographies to be published in some time. If Romney ever read a book, or was ever influenced by a writer or a thinker, or has ever told a revealing joke, or has ever expressed an opinion about events in another country, Kranish and Helman either do not know about it or chose to keep their knowledge to themselves. It seems clear that Romney did not give these biographers much access; it is also clear that they failed to work their way into his mind. Many will come to this book searching for clues about what kind of man Romney is and what kind of president he would be. But the authors do not have any answers. They fail to explore his intellectual development, his thoughts about social problems and issues, or the ways in which his religious faith has shaped him. Americans could use a thoughtful and perceptive biography of Mitt Romney; perhaps someday they will get one.