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Loree Fahy Reviews: Audacity


As Barack Obama ponders the presidential bid, our new political books editor, Loree†Fahy has chosen†a timely review of this US Senator from Illinois' book, The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream(Crown, Oct 17, 2006)


November 19, 2006

Book Review

WARNING: Do not read this†if: you have adopted cynicism as a means of coping with the daily news; you are convinced the USA reached its peak years ago and it's all down-hill from here; you have given up thinking that the American public surely won't believe "the spin" this time; you think holding out hope is not only audacious but hopelessly naive.

Beware the consequences of reading Barack Obama's, The Audacity of Hope. It very likely will shatter your cynicism. But wait--it gets worse. Not only will it dissolve the security that cynicism offers by enlightening you about the life of this exceptional man, it will also raise a glimmer of hope regarding the future of this government, our democracy, and the impact we as a nation could have on the world.

Corruption, Iraq and the economy---according to the exit polls---were the driving issues behind the recent change of leadership in the House and Senate. But confirmed skeptics, who expect the same politician-speak from a book espousing, "If only they would do it my way" become invigorated when they encounter this kind of humility and wisdom.

"No blinding insights emerged from months of conversations [on the campaign trail.] Most of them thought that anyone willing to work should be able to find a job that paid a living wage. They figured that people shouldn't have to file for bankruptcy because they got sick. They believed that every child should have a good education--that it shouldn't just be a bunch of talk-- and they believed they should be able to go to college even if there parents weren't rich."

Hearing these truths one begins to feel hope that we are encountering a politician with the intentions of a public servant. He is someone who looks around to see what the most pressing need in his constituency is, and then responds to it. Have we become so accustomed to having a pre-conceived agenda shoved down our throats, one without personal relevance, without our agreement, that witnessing a politician who responds to the real needs of real people seems a novel predicament?† The book offers plenty of solutions: solutions so down-to-earth and with so much common sense they will inspire you, both with their merit and their simplicity.

Barack makes a distinction between those in Congress who approach our complex world as problem solvers or as politicians whose primary motivation is, above all else, to win. I will be accused of being un-American by not revering the sanctity of winning at all costs.† But a distinction can be made between those who seek a solution regardless of party affiliation or religious persuasion, and those who adhere to a certain ideology regardless of its consequences.† As you might have guessed Barack is the former, and his approach is one that seeks to include a diversity of positions as long as realistic solutions are being offered.

The book closes with a look into Barackís personal life and the important role of his family.† Whether he is picking up something to help his wife get rid of the ants in their kitchen or helping his youngest daughter select the color of an outfit, the book shares a touching glimpse into the day-to-day life of the Obama household.† His wife, Michelle (also a Harvard law graduate) and his two young daughters provide the real world for a real person to respond to in a very real and yet, quite remarkable way.

Welcome back to the world of hope.† Audacity isnít so bad after all.óLoree Fahy, Political Books Editor for

Added Links

BBC Profile: ...the first Black USA President?

NYT article: ...will he run? [website may require registration]

The Senator's Website



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