x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

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



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.