Barack Obama's "Audacity of Hope" – Book Review

Audacity of Hope

The first impression I could gather on reading Barack Obama’s best selling book is – It is a honest portrayal of his surroundings, his feelings, problems, opportunities and they are well perceived! Obama is an interesting writer who manages to keep the reader engaged throughout and is transparent in placing his points for discussion. It looks more like he is narrating the main national issues, ideas and the solutions to the reader while highlighting the shortcomings of the present situation in the US.

He writes:
“My argument, however, is that we have no choice. You don’t need a poll to know that the vast majority of Americans – republicans, Democrat, and Independent – are weary of the dead zone that politics has become, in which narrow interests vie for advantage and ideological minorities seek to impose their own versions of absolute truth. Whether we are from red states or blue states, we feel in our gut the lack of honesty, rigour and common-sense in our policy debates and dislike what appears to be a continuous menu of false or cramped choices…”

In fact, this is the situation faced by most democracies; there is corruption of basic values and ideals – as we, voters and the elected representatives, are free to choose what we want to do! The voters are equally responsible just as the the elected representatives are to ensure probity in public life! Voters in the developed world are educated, prosperous (so that they cannot be bribed to get their votes!) and it is surprising that they still elect or even re-elect the wrong leaders. In my opinion, the developed world has to show the right way of governance to the lesser countries. America – the land of equal opportunity to all – is no longer as it was earlier! Mounting debts, hedonistic lifestyle affecting civic culture, bitter partisanship within the two political parties, too many drop-outs in high school, teenage pregnancy, gay marriages, rising number of divorces, stifling institutions that do not allow a honest politician to pursue his or her service to the nation and now, getting bogged down by the growing insecurity amongst American families due to recession besides the threat of trans-national terrorism.

The chapter on ‘Opportunity’ is well described and many innovative ideas to bridge the gaps in education, health care insurance, clean energy requirements, and rising unemployment have been placed in front of the reader; I would say, good work/ research done. The chapters on Faith, Race and Values are really inspiring and it speaks of exalted character of Obama. The writer comes across as a sincere politician seeking ‘Change’, and at the same time, dividing his time for work and family well. His style of writing by getting personal and describing his family situation while discussing common areas of concern is noteworthy. In addition, his enthusiastic efforts to analyse the pros and cons of the constitution are positive!

I am glad that he has been a writer for quite long, having penned more than ten books like ‘Letter to my daughters’, ‘Dreams from my father’ etc. He has been teaching in the Law school at the University of Chicago for nearly 10 years prior to his running for his first public office i.e, Senator at the Illinois State. At the time of writing this book ‘Audacity of Hope’ (2006), there were no indications that he would be elected the next President and so it is intriguing to read what he wants to do for his country!


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