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Review of "The Essential Barack Obama" by Barack Obama

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The Essential Barack Obama
by Barack Obama

Random House Audio
Audio CD
$44.95 Suggested Retail Price

This is a two-book set, featuring the books by Barack Obama, "Dreams From My Father", and "The Audacity Of Hope". In "Dreams From My Father", Obama gives us a look at his unusual family. He is the son of a Kenyan father and a white American mother. He grew up in Hawaii, with quite a bit of travel later that included Southeast Asia and then back to America in New York and later to Chicago. His father was killed in an auto accident while Barack was still very young, so he really didn't know him very well. Between the upheavals in the Black community in the 1960's and 70's as he was growing up and going to college and his need to connect with his African heritage, he travels to Kenya to find distant relatives. Written nearly 10 years ago, it is a fascinating story of his family and his life before politics.

"The Audacity Of Hope" is much more of a political statement, but filled with that oratory that has served this man so well in the presidential election. While trying to veer to the center of the political spectrum by chastising big government when it suits him, he does nonetheless rely heavily on traditional Democratic principles of heavier taxes for the wealthy and an array of job training programs, tax credits for the poor and middle class, a compromise health care program, and a slightly schizophrenic approach to free trade. If he hadn't admitted to liking John La Carre in a recent interview, I would probably have given this book a much harsher review. All kidding aside, it is an important look at this man's political principles and his ideas for solving the most pressing problems America faces at home and around the world. It is a very inspirational message of hope, with some pragmatic compromises, that every undecided voter should hear. The fact that it's read by Senator Obama makes it very personal and, of course, enjoyable listening.

Rainbo Electronic Reviews published this review in our May, 2008 issue.

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