Overhaul: An Insider's Account of the Obama Administration's Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry (Hardcover)

An Insider's Account of the Obama Administration's Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry

By Steven Rattner

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780547443218, 352pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2010



The first real look inside Team Obama—due just before the 2010 elections—mixes political warfare and big business shakeups in equal proportions, and comes from a uniquely informed source. Steve Rattner is not just the man brought in by the president to save the auto industry, he is a former New York Times financial reporter who also earned a place among the top tier of Wall Street’s most informed investment bankers and corporate experts. Now, from his vantage point at the helm of the historic auto-industry intervention, Rattner crafts a tightly plotted narrative of political brinkmanship, corporate mismanagement, and personalities under pressure in a high-stakes clash between Washington and Detroit. He also explains the tough choices he and his team made, working against a ticking clock and facing vocal opposition from free market champions, to keep Chrysler and General Motors in operation.   As the economy faced free fall, Obama, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and economic advisor Larry Summers—all revealingly described—faced the possibility of more than a million lost jobs and the astonishing wreckage of GM (a nightmare of huge proportions, caused by terrible management) and Chrysler (a company so close to death it was nearly sacrificed). Rattner’s book—which will take the story up to the fall of 2010—is a gripping account of one of the severest crises of President Obama’s first year in office, with lessons relevant for all managers and executives.

Praise For Overhaul: An Insider's Account of the Obama Administration's Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry

"Obama auto czar Rattner delivers a vigorous account of the bailout of the automobile industry -- a success, though one fraught with controversy... A fine inside-baseball account of how things can get done when people agree to get them done, even in Washington." --Kirkus Reviews

"OVERHAUL is filled with delicious descriptions of what happened behind the scenes in the White House and at the Treasury Department as the effort to save GM and Chrysler unfolded... a riveting read." --Wall Street Journal

"required reading" --New York Times

"[a] compelling story about how government reacts to economic crisis...Rattner's book is an extraordinary account of how government, brandishing the stick of bankruptcy, was able in a few months to accomplish tremendous restructuring of a major American industry in ways that had eluded the private sector for half a century or more. (His material on GM's clueless management is truly priceless.)" --Slate.com

"Unquestionably the best book so far about the Obama presidency" --Slate.com

"[OVERHAUL] offers a careful, but lively, account of the auto industry bailout. Rattner takes us from the very beginning, when the Bush Administration was still in charge and two Detroit automakers were on the verge of total collapse, almost until the present day, when one of the companies (General Motors) seems to be thriving and the other (Chrysler) seems at least to be surviving." --NewRepublic.com

"While there have been other books about the Obama administration, this is the first from the inside and it is full of glimpses behind the curtain that we usually have to wait four years to see….The best parts of “Overhaul” are the vivid pictures Rattner paints of the economic team.” –Bloomberg News

“Steven Rattner shows a journalist's eye for detail….OVERHAUL is a feast of political and financial intrigue.” – Detroit Free Press

"With lively reconstructions of meetings in the Oval Office, Rattner shows the struggle over whether government should intervene….persuasive…illuminating…After Team Auto, GM has a much cleaner balance sheet and is set for a stock market flotation before theend of the year. The government might well get its money back. So those who think Obama is bad for business should read Overhaul. But anyone who believes in the fiction of arm’s-length government investment will find some corrective facts, too." -- Financial Times

"Overhaul" is not a Washington memoir, even though it is set in Washington, and it involves one of the most deeply politicized issues in recent memory. It is a Wall Street memoir, a book about one of the biggest private-equity deals in history....unexpectedly fascinating" - Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

"Overhaul is required reading to understand the auto industry." - Motor Trend

"[a] surprisingly modest account…Rattner has a journalistic talent for the telling detail, resulting in a memorable tale of life in the middle of the economic meltdown….Rattner deftly draws portraits of the inhabitants of "the Oval" and the West Wing….Rattner has proved himself a gifted chronicler." - Time Magazine

"[Rattner] writes lucidly and does a good job of balancing reportage and opinion. He gives us a useful record of both what the auto bailout looked like from inside the process and what the U.S. government looks like -- when it's working and when it is not. From both angles, this is a comprehensive, useful and readable look under the hood." - Knowledge@Wharton (UPenn)