In December 2006, wrote Young, Elizabeth answered her husband's phone and heard a woman's voice: "Hey, baby." Edwards confessed to a one-night stand with Hunter, his campaign videographer, but told Elizabeth she was actually Young's mistress. Elizabeth believed her husband; Young became the perfect fall guy for Edwards' extramarital dalliance.
Even in politics, where "obsequious underling" is a redundancy, Young's devotion to the boss was over the top. "Game Change," the other bestseller about the 2008 campaign, demeaned him as "comically servile."
But for 10 years, Young was Edwards' No. 1 aide. He worked as personal assistant, fundraiser, Senate office scheduler, driver, running partner and confidant.
He was on call when the Edwardses had a house flood. He arranged delivery of their Christmas tree. He'd meet John at the airport with his favorite Sauvignon Blanc on ice.
"People made fun of me for all the stuff I did, but I did it because I deeply believed in John," Young said. "How many times do you meet somebody who everybody is gushing over as the next JFK? They called him Bill Clinton without the baggage."
Young, who said he earned as much as $300,000 a year from various Edwards organizations, has kept reams of records -- phone logs, voice mails, e-mails, official and private documents.
"Here, look at this," said Young, holding a notarized document that appeared to be signed by Edwards. "Would you give power of attorney to someone who was your little gofer boy?" (Maybe: The power was granted only to oversee installation of utilities at the Edwardses' new home.)
Young kept it all, certain the material would be a valuable addition to a presidential library.
In the end, it was very helpful -- in preparing Young's grand jury testimony and his book.
Young would like to believe his story is a call to reform a corrupt political system.
In December 2007, after National Enquirer found a pregnant Hunter living with the Youngs in Chapel Hill, Edwards' finance chairman, Dallas trial attorney Fred Baron, stepped in.
Baron, who has since died of cancer, publicly admitted to spending lavishly to keep the Youngs and Hunter in luxury digs in Montecito, Aspen, Colo., and San Diego as they eluded the tabloids.
That bought time for Edwards -- who dropped out of the race in January 2008 after a poor showing in early contests -- to try for a plum job, maybe even vice president, with Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama.
Young said that the nonagenarian heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon also opened her wallet, clueless that her money was supporting a mistress. She promised to fund a poverty center that would keep Edwards politically viable into 2012 and provide Young a job, but that fell through.
Then, said Young, Edwards distanced himself from Young after Quinn was born on Feb. 27, 2008. That summer, he promised Young a job reference, then went on TV to admit his affair but deny paternity.
Young slunk back to North Carolina, angry, unemployable and with only one viable option: to go public. He had plenty of documentation, and by then, a sex tape.