x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Arun Chaudhary's memoirs as Obama's YouTube man

US President Barack Obama's personal videographer's self-deprecating memoir of his time working for the White House image-making machine.

First Cameraman
Arun Chaudhary
Times Books
Dh129
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Barack Obama is generally acknowledged as one of the first politicians to really grasp the powers and possibilities that the internet had for electioneering purposes.

So when Obama required a videographer to record his daily routine during his 2008 presidential campaign for a YouTube feed, he hired dishevelled film graduate Arun Chaudhary for the role.

Chaudhary stayed on for the first few years of Obama's first term, filming and producing West Wing Week, a weekly roundup of presidential activities.

Now moved on from this job, this book is part memoir of his glimpses behind the doors of the White House image-making machine and part analysis of the effects of the internet on modern politics.

While Chaudhary's lighthearted, self-deprecating take on events makes him a likeable narrator, there is a disappointing lack of anecdotes about his interactions with the president.

Chaudhary clearly has great admiration for Obama, constantly reminding us what a decent, genuine person he is. So, while the reader yearns for a reveal-all portrait of life in the presidential entourage, the author seems too in awe of Obama, or possibly too professional, to really dish the dirt.