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The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream Paperback – 7 Feb 2008

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The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream + Barack Obama: Dreams from My Father (A Story of Race and Inheritance) + The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King, Jr
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Reprint edition (7 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847670830
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847670830
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barack Obama was elected President of the United States on November 4, 2008. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.

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Amazon Review

Editorial Reviews
Barack Obama's first book, Dreams from My Father, was a compelling and moving memoir focusing on personal issues of race, identity, and community. With his second book The Audacity of Hope, Obama engages themes raised in his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, shares personal views on faith and values and offers a vision of the future that involves repairing a "political process that is broken" and restoring a government that has fallen out of touch with the people. had the opportunity to ask Senator Obama a few questions about writing, reading, and politics--see his responses below. --Daphne Durham
20 Second Interview: A Few Words with Barack Obama

Q: How did writing a book that you knew would be read so closely by so many compare to writing your first book, when few people knew who you were?
A: In many ways, Dreams from My Father was harder to write. At that point, I wasn't even sure that I could write a book. And writing the first book really was a process of self-discovery, since it touched on my family and my childhood in a much more intimate way. On the other hand, writing The Audacity of Hope paralleled the work that I do every day--trying to give shape to all the issues that we face as a country, and providing my own personal stamp on them.

Q: What is your writing process like? You have such a busy schedule, how did you find time to write?
A: I'm a night owl, so I usually wrote at night after my Senate day was over, and after my family was asleep--from 9:30 p.m. or so until 1 a.m. I would work off an outline--certain themes or stories that I wanted to tell--and get them down in longhand on a yellow pad. Then I'd edit while typing in what I'd written.

Q: If readers are to come away from The Audacity of Hope with one action item (a New Year's Resolution for 2007, perhaps?), what should it be?
A: Get involved in an issue that you're passionate about. It almost doesn’t matter what it is--improving the school system, developing strategies to wean ourselves off foreign oil, expanding health care for kids. We give too much of our power away, to the professional politicians, to the lobbyists, to cynicism. And our democracy suffers as a result.

Q: You're known for being able to work with people across ideological lines. Is that possible in today's polarized Washington?
A: It is possible. There are a lot of well-meaning people in both political parties. Unfortunately, the political culture tends to emphasize conflict, the media emphasizes conflict, and the structure of our campaigns rewards the negative. I write about these obstacles in chapter 4 of my book, "Politics." When you focus on solving problems instead of scoring political points, and emphasize common sense over ideology, you'd be surprised what can be accomplished. It also helps if you're willing to give other people credit--something politicians have a hard time doing sometimes.

Q: How do you make people passionate about moderate and complex ideas?
A: I think the country recognizes that the challenges we face aren't amenable to sound-bite solutions. People are looking for serious solutions to complex problems. I don't think we need more moderation per se--I think we should be bolder in promoting universal health care, or dealing with global warming. We just need to understand that actually solving these problems won't be easy, and that whatever solutions we come up with will require consensus among groups with divergent interests. That means everybody has to listen, and everybody has to give a little. That's not easy to do.

Q: What has surprised you most about the way Washington works?
A: How little serious debate and deliberation takes place on the floor of the House or the Senate.

Q: You talk about how we have a personal responsibility to educate our children. What small thing can the average parent (or person) do to help improve the educational system in America? What small thing can make a big impact?
A: Nothing has a bigger impact than reading to children early in life. Obviously we all have a personal obligation to turn off the TV and read to our own children; but beyond that, participating in a literacy program, working with parents who themselves may have difficulty reading, helping their children with their literacy skills, can make a huge difference in a child's life.

Q: Do you ever find time to read? What kinds of books do you try to make time for? What is on your nightstand now?
A: Unfortunately, I had very little time to read while I was writing. I'm trying to make up for lost time now. My tastes are pretty eclectic. I just finished Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, a wonderful book. The language just shimmers. I've started Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which is a great study of Lincoln as a political strategist. I read just about anything by Toni Morrison, E.L. Doctorow, or Philip Roth. And I've got a soft spot for John le Carre.

Q: What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?
A: I'm inspired by the people I meet in my travels--hearing their stories, seeing the hardships they overcome, their fundamental optimism and decency. I'm inspired by the love people have for their children. And I'm inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man.


... superbly written and full of deeply felt and impeccable liberal logic... -- New York Times

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

159 of 168 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas J. R. Dougan TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the first book by an aspirant politician, indeed the first political manifesto, (for that is what it is) that I have read cover to cover. (Perhaps, it occurs to me, I should read some of the works by serving British politicians, too, and not just rely on commentaries by journalists?) I bought the book the day after Barack Obama slipped up re-using the "lipstick on a pig" cliché, when, for the first time, McCain and Palin seemed to have achieved a significant lead in the polls.

Obama wrote this book to update his life story, including how he came to be elected senator for Illinois (he completed his first book "Dreams of my father" some ten years earlier), to offer an analysis of how modern American political life has become so polarised, but above all to state his personal and political principles. It would be easy to be cynical: his principles turn out to offer something to everyone, but this is the prerogative and the stategy of the political centrist. Economically, his liberalism demonstrates why Milton Friedman and others were forced to rebrand themselves as libertarians. He seems well versed in the pros and cons of state intervention, and clearly believes in the value of Keynsian-style state intervention, lamenting the breakdown of the New Deal consensus in the 1970s and 1980s. He does, however, go on record as recognising some of the limits of government. While he offers few concrete proposals as to what should be done, the reader does get the impression that this is a man who is aware of major issues and has thought them through in depth. Sadly but unsurprisingly he has not come up with any new solution to the problem that globalisation presents to American manufacturing and the American working class.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Denis Vukosav TOP 50 REVIEWER on 14 Dec 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I didn't read first Barrack Obama's book, but with this one he was able to avoid placing it any particular niche, partly it's his personal history, philosophical discussion, partly policy manifesto with finally, some history lessons.

Book was published in 2008 during his presidential campaign and due to that was dismissed by many people as additional campaign tool.

Nevertheless was it or not, "Audacity of Hope" is intelligent and thoughtful book, worth reading for the reasonableness of author's ideas and the grace of his literary style. It is obvious he has a clear opinion about lot of problems in our world and whether we as readers agree to his ideas and recommended solutions, we should be thinking about them.

Because of his background and different childhood than most of US politicians, author had a chance to see the world with the different eyes. His father from Kenya and mother from US divorced when he was three years old and he grew up with his mother and stepfather in Born in Hawaii and Indonesia. When he was ten years old, he was sent back to US, to live with his grandparents.

Due to his natural interest in racial and social-political issues, after law school he ended in politics, first eight years as the Illinois state senator and afterwards elected as US Senator in 2004. Due to his role of keynote speaker for the 2004 Democrats convention, he became famous and in 2008 he was elected as 44th US president, and 2012 reelected for the second time.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Spider Monkey HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Mar 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'Audacity Of Hope' looks at some ideas in American politics and Obamas own take on them. It looks at things such as Democrat and Republican relations, Race, Faith, Americas relationship internationally and general politics. Obama comes across as someone with a great deal of integrity and common sense. He seems to want to work across political ideological lines for the benefit of America in general. I guess any self penned book will be slightly biased, but for an idea of what Obama believes in and a look at some of his ideas to remedy a selection of Americas ills, you can't go much wrong in starting with this book. Considering he may be the next President, and after reading this lets hope with all of our fibre that he is, it is well worth reading about the beliefs of who could be the worlds most influential man. Clear, eloquent, well reasoned and argued and insightful into his character and ideals. Well worth a read.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Richard Murphy VINE VOICE on 26 May 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you are interested in finding out more about the man behind the sound-bites for one of the front-running 2008 US presidential candidates, this is an excellent read.

The prologue contains a series of declarations. He believes in evolution, scientific inquiry, and global warning. He rejects politics based on racial identity, gender identity and sexual orientations. He highlights how he is ever mindful of how racism meant that people who looked like him were subjugated and stigmatized, and the effects of that continue.

The rest of the book gives his thoughts on a range of policital topics from the bear-pit that is politics in the age of 24 hour news coverage to his experiences of faith, race and family life as it affects Americans every day.

He is analytical, his 10 years as a lecturer in constitutional law giving rigour to his writing, but this is no dry scholarly work. This is a manifesto directed at those people who want a president who understands the complex issues, and is committed to public service.

In a cynical age, this is an articulate reminder that most politicians start with good intentions. And the charm and wit that top politicians must have to succeed comes through on every page. Well worth reading.
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