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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

The Audacity of Hope

US Senator Barrack Obama seems to embody “hope” itself for millions of Americans. His latest book, “The Audacity of Hope” (ISBN 0-307-23769-9 (hard cover), Crown Publishers, 2006) has as its sub-title “Thoughts of Reclaiming the American Dream” and with the prevailing concept that this man could one day become the President of the United States, this book might perhaps show how his thoughts would influence the nation.

Within the first few pages, the reader is taken up with the fluidity of the author’s writing. Even though I am neither American, nor follow American politics other than a cursory overview, from the outset, Barrack Obama involves the reader and gently explains the insurmountability of some of the political problems besetting the US divisionist bipartisan system.

Barrack Obama writes of the human side of his job as a senator and gives wonderful insights into life in the political arena, right down to President George W Bush having an aide dispensing hand sanitizer during handshaking photo opportunity sessions!

He shares with the reader his insight into today’s political administration. “Most people who serve in Washington have been trained either as lawyers or political operatives - professions that tend to place a premium on winning arguments rather than solving problems.”

Of course, all the way through the book, Barrack Obama has taken the high moral ground for himself, though does this without needlessly attacking those politicians of the other persuasion. He presents himself as empathetic, rather than representing the black Afro-American population.

It is a very current book, with frequent references to the Bush administration led US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the debate and fervor regarding the right to turn off the life support for Terry Schiavo.

As expected, the book does deal with the minutiae of American politics, and the Senate in particular. As I pointed out earlier, I have had no real interest in this, but author Obama’s use of the English language is such that he has the ability to suck you along and provokes your interest with his very human pen sketches.

Other topics, which each get a chapter in this book, include Values, the Constitution, Opportunity, Faith, Race, the World Beyond Our Borders, and the Family.

He has a very good background in American history and uses this to explain current directions within American politics, and even the spread of Christianity (in all its various forms) throughout America. He also describes his own faith and his attempts to come to terms with what he believes is the correct path and divergent opinions, all quoting from the same bible.

I would have had to take author Obama to task where he describes Bill Clinton as “the former leader of the free world”. He was the former leader of one of the countries that describes itself as “free”. Free non-Americans did not vote him as their leader.

At B. 995 this is not a cheap read; however, I put it down, feeling that I had just read his campaign dossiers for the forthcoming presidential election, and felt that perhaps he should have been paying me, rather than me paying him.