Published by Cannongate Autobiography/Political Comment
The Audacity of Hope by Barak Obama
This is Obama’s call for a new kind of politics—a politics that builds upon those shared understandings that pull us together as Americans. Lucid in his vision of America’s place in the world, candid about his family life and his time in the Senate, Obama here sets out his political convictions and inspires us to trust in the dogged optimism that has long defined Americans, and that is our best hope going.
This is Barak Obama’s second book, the first being ‘Dreams of my father’ which tell of his roots and early life. Both books were written not long after Obama finished college and during working in the Senate, so are historically before his current political career. The writing is very articulate and politically correct in both books and it has been said by some reviewers that here is a unique species, a politician who can actually write. He expresses his views very clearly and with energy, and was hopeful at that time that positive changes could be made within the political system to benefit the lives of all Americans, although there are no new revelation about the political scene. Looking at his current position and fall from popularity it is hard to envisage his hopes and dreams then for the future.
The opening of the book is very interesting as it gives a good balanced history of both political parties, and a persuasive argument that the Democrats are the right choice for the next election.
He gained popularity with me with his views on the purchase of foreign oil,
‘We must overcome our addiction with foreign oil’,
and by his use of personal experiences to highlight issues affecting most Americans. His views at that time seemed just right for the presidency, but things have not worked out too well, as he has not fulfilled the positive change he had encouraged people hope for. His words often cannot be reconciled to his current actions.
He is very clear on his views on faith, abortion and same sex marriages, but mixes these with slurs on the Republican Party and their policies.
Although I feel the purpose of this book is political and not literary, there are some gems of expression like,
‘We say that we value family, but then structure our economy and organise our lives so as to ensure that our families get less and less of our time’.
How true. He also says that we are not valuing our next generation by leaving them a heritage of debt. How Prophetic.
He smoothly moves from personal anecdotes to foreign and domestic policy which keeps you turning the pages of this book.
On the issue of race Obama is totally politically correct, for example referring to Martin Luther king as a ‘preacher form Georgia’, not a black preacher but an American. The first book, ‘Dreams of my Father’, is very different and give lots of insight to growing up mixed race in America, and is a much more personal book.
No matter what your views are on Barak Obama’s presidency and his failure to implement his political promises, this is an informative and stylish read and lets us into the mind of one of the most intellectual and exciting political figures of our time.