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Book Review of The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
demiducky25 avatar reviewed on + 161 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7

I felt it was important to read this book in order to learn a little bit more about the man who is now president of our country. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised! Barack Obama has a very captivating way of writing. He makes it pretty accessible to every reader and not just those interested in politics (though there were a few parts, at least in the first 2 chapters in my opinion where a working political knowledge would be helpful to make sense of names for instance). He starts each chapter with a personal story...encounters with the people he represented in Illinois, a family story, something related to the theme of the chapter. Then he goes into his beliefs or ideology on that issue...race, faith, difference between Democrats and Republicans, etc. Other personal stories are sprinkled throughout the chapter, and the end of the chapter usually wraps up the story he mentioned in the start of the chapter.

Obviously Obama is going to favor the Democrat side of things, but he avoids Republican bashing for the most part (Bush-bashing, yes, but even that is done pretty respectfully). He states that a lot of what he learned from his mother (treating people with decency & how you would want to be treated, seeing both sides of an issue in order to understand the other guy's point of view even if you don't agree with them) has served him well in his political career. As someone mentioned to him in one of the stories, they did not always agree with Obama, but they felt he would at least listen to them. That is how I feel, that at least he would be willing to consider both sides, rather than just enforce his POV without considering the other side. That is probably a really important trait in a politician, one which many seem to lack. I also got a feeling for Obama as a person, not just as a politician. It was interesting to learn about his childhood and how various life circumstances influenced decisions later in life. Hopefully he can remain as honest and as genuine as he seems in this book because the next few years will be trying for him.

I found it interesting that in one anecdote he asks an experienced politician for advice and the man tells him to enjoy his time in the Senate & that too many Senators are racing to get to the White House. So much for that one! :-P Obama does put out the outline for some policies, nothing in great detail, but a few ideas that he feels America would benefit from. I agreed with most of his plans, but not all. Hopefully he does find a way to put some of these plans out there as president, especially the ones he mentions about health care and our social responsibility to take care of all citizens. All in all, I'm glad I took the time to get to know our President a bit better, and I'm interested in reading his first book Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.