“ Author: President Barack Obama / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 07 February 2008 / Genre: Politics / Subcategory: Political Ideologies General / Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd / Title: The Audacity of Hope / ISBN 13: 9781847670830 / ISBN 10: 1847670830 „
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This is the second book written by Barack Obama and unlike Dreams from my Father it is not purely autobiographical, instead it is organised by chapter on various topics of American politics such as race, religion and the constitution. Although I am interested in politics when I first looked at the contents I felt as though some chapters such as the one on the constitution I would have to skim read or skip entirely simply because I have no prior knowledge of any real depth about the American political system. I was pleasantly surprised though to discover that the author has written without assuming the reader has an extensive knowledge and manages to clearly explain his subject matter without being patronising or overly long winded.
Another thing I liked about the style of writing is that the book does not become overly technical and burdensome by overloading the reader with statistics or data. Instead Obama writes with a more personal anecdotal style which is very appealing and although this book is more focused on policy than Dreams from my Father it still manages to convey the personal side of politics and gives an insight into his own views and opinions as opposed to just being a blatant manifesto. Furthermore this personal edge means that it is not just straight out statements about solving all the problems that America faces but it is instead genuinely representative of human emotion and as the title suggests, hope.
I would whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone whether they consider interested in politics or not, simply because it is an interesting exploration of society and the style of writing can only be described as unique and fascinating.
To give the book it's full title, it is 'The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on reclaiming the American Dream' . And it is important to emphasise the use of the word thoughts in the title, because that is what this book is. Partly a memoir, partly a political mainfesto. Written in the fall of 2006 while still merely Senator for Illinois, this is the follow up to 'Dreams from my Father: A story of Race and Inheritance'. That book dealt with his history and perhaps if you are looking for a biography, that would be the place to start.
Audacity updates us to the point of 2006 and then sets out what were to be the key themes of his Presidential campaign. The one thing thatyou are left with when reading this book is that while he maybe a principled man with the ability to deliver passionate speeches, he is not so arrogant or bigoted so as not to see reason in the arguements of others. It is perhaps this quality that in time will set him apart from his predecessors.
It is an excellent read, while not definitive because of its lack of depth, it engages the reader on a level that will encourage you to explore new ideas and themes should you wish to. It does not have all the answers, nor should you approach any book expecting that but it makes a few suggestions and leaves the rest upto you.
As a postscript I am writing this review a little over 24hrs after the coronation of King Dave. Oh to be an American!!!
As excited as I was to read this eagerly awaited book, I was bitterly disappointed. Firstly the book is incredibly hard to place. Is it a novel? Is it an autobiography? Is it an outline of policies? The answer is an unfortunate amalgamation of all of the above. Part of this book was a history lesson, either in the formation of the US, the civil rights movement, or his family history, the other part were his musings on the direction the policy in the US should be taken. This wasn't the main reason for my dislike of his book, my primary reason was the fact that as I read the book after he took up office as President, imagining him as President writing the book made perfect sense, it was just a big manifesto. But considering the book was released before he announced his candidacy, it just seemed cocky, almost like it was a foregone conclusion.