The Audacity of Hope – by Barack Obama
Audiobook narration by Barack Obama, publisher: Penguin Random House (audiobook version, 2006)
What I learned from this book
It’s funny how easy it is to forget that as recently as this book was released, 2006-07, Obama was the sole African-American in the Senate. It’s no wonder that he encountered the level of resistance he did when leapfrogging over this body into the presidency in 2009. I bet more than a few colleagues were completely blindsided by his rapid ascent. Anyhow, with the power of hindsight (being 20/20) it is easy to see now how the U.S. is in the kind of tribal state it is. A large swath of Americans has proven that they were, in fact, completely blindsided by the appearance and success of Barack Obama as a politician and an individual. I suppose it’s just one of many issues the country will need to deal with as democracy matriculates down this long and winding road dubbed “America.”
What I liked about this book
I liked the honesty Obama revealed about his wife, Michelle. It was very clear that Michelle was no fan of politics and a lot of the decisions required for Barack to take his journey to the top of the U.S. government. I imagine she was even more clearly aware of the sacrifices needed for them and their family to make. That said, it provides for an even more amazing result. Gutsy! Of course, gutsy at a personal price though…
What I disliked about this book
Though I find few areas to complain about in Obama’s writing style, I would be less than genuine if I didn’t point out that I listened to Audacity right on the heels of Dreams from my Father. So, as anyone who has listened to both would most likely agree, I was coming off a “sugar high” from one of the finest books I’ve ever listened to or read.
I guess it’s just that Audacity was, as the follow up work, very focused on his political career path and thoughts – as opposed the personal details. Political details, in my opinion, will never rival the excitement and interest of the personal variety. I know it’s unfair to compare the two, but since it was so fresh, I just felt a noticeable come down from Obama’s first book (Dreams). That’s just me though. In fact, as political works go, it was a solid read overall.
Whom would I recommend to read this book
I think this book is a great read for anyone who is unclear about the process, preparation, and sacrifice it took for Obama and his family to ultimately arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It reminds me of many sports figures whom we hear the commentators’ incredulity at how “this guy makes it look easier than it really is!” Yes, perhaps it seemed much easier of a road than it ultimately was.