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The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream [With Headpones] Preloaded Digital Audio Player – Abridged, 1 Aug 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Preloaded Digital Audio Player
  • Publisher: Findaway World; Abridged edition (Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605148520
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605148526
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 11.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,574,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

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. We 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.


--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

" He is one of the best writers to enter modern politics."
- Jonathan Alter, Newsweek.com
" [Barack Obama] is that rare politician who can actually write- and write movingly and genuinely about himself...In these pages he often speaks to the reader as if he were an old friend from back in the day, salting policy recommendations with colorful asides about the absurdities of political life...[He] strives in these pages to ground his policy thinking in simple common sense...while articulating these venomous pre-election days, but also in these increasingly polarized and polarizing times."
- Michiko Katutani, "New York Times"
" [Few] on the partisan landscape can discuss the word 'hope' in a political context and be regarded as the least bit sincere. Obama is such a man, and he proves it by employing a fresh and buoyant vocabulary to scrub away some of the toxins from contemporary political debate. Those polling categories that presume to define the vast chasm between us do not, Obama reminds us, add up to the sum of our concerns or hint at where our hearts otherwise intersect...Obama advances ordinary words like 'empathy', 'humility', 'grace' and 'balance' into the extraordinary context of 2006's hyper-agitated partisan politics. The effect is not only refreshing but also hopeful...As you might anticipate from a former civil lawyer and a university lecturer on constitutional law, Obama writes convincingly about race as well as the lofty place the Constitution holds in American life...He writes tenderly about family and knowingly about faith. Readers, no matter what their party affiliation, may experience the oddly uplifting sensation ofcomparing the everyday contemptuous view of politics that circulates so widely in our civic conversations with the practical idealism set down by this slender, smiling, 45-year-old former sate legislator who is included on virtually every credible list of future presidential contenders."
- "Los Angeles Times
"What's impressive about Obama is an intelligence that his new books diplays in aubundance.
- "Washington Post Book World"
An upbeat view of the country's potential and a political biography that concentrates on the senator's core values.
- "Chicago Tribune"

"He is one of the best writers to enter modern politics."
—Jonathan Alter, Newsweek.com
"[Barack Obama] is that rare politician who can actually write- and write movingly and genuinely about himself...In these pages he often speaks to the reader as if he were an old friend from back in the day, salting policy recommendations with colorful asides about the absurdities of political life...[He] strives in these pages to ground his policy thinking in simple common sense...while articulating these venomous pre-election days, but also in these increasingly polarized and polarizing times."
—Michiko Katutani, "New York Times"
"[Few] on the partisan landscape can discuss the word 'hope' in a political context and be regarded as the least bit sincere. Obama is such a man, and he proves it by employing a fresh and buoyant vocabulary to scrub away some of the toxins from contemporary political debate. Those polling categories that presume to defi

"He is one of the best writers to enter modern politics."
Jonathan Alter, Newsweek.com
"[Barack Obama] is that rare politician who can actually write- and write movingly and genuinely about himself...In these pages he often speaks to the reader as if he were an old friend from back in the day, salting policy recommendations with colorful asides about the absurdities of political life...[He] strives in these pages to ground his policy thinking in simple common sense...while articulating these venomous pre-election days, but also in these increasingly polarized and polarizing times."
Michiko Katutani, "New York Times"
"[Few] on the partisan landscape can discuss the word 'hope' in a political context and be regarded as the least bit sincere. Obama is such a man, and he proves it by employing a fresh and buoyant vocabulary to scrub away some of the toxins from contemporary political debate. Those polling categories that presume to define the vast chasm between us do not, Obama reminds us, add up to the sum of our concerns or hint at where our hearts otherwise intersect...Obama advances ordinary words like 'empathy', 'humility', 'grace' and 'balance' into the extraordinary context of 2006's hyper-agitated partisan politics. The effect is not only refreshing but also hopeful...As you might anticipate from a former civil lawyer and a university lecturer on constitutional law, Obama writes convincingly about race as well as the lofty place the Constitution holds in American life...He writes tenderly about family and knowingly about faith. Readers, no matter what their party affiliation, may experience the oddly uplifting sensation of comparing the everyday contemptuous view of politics that circulates so widely in our civic conversations with the practical idealism set down by this slender, smiling, 45-year-old former sate legislator who is included on virtually every credible list of future presidential contenders."
"Los Angeles Times
""What's impressive about Obama is an intelligence that his new books diplays in aubundance."
"Washington Post Book World "
"An upbeat view of the country's potential and a political biography that concentrates on the senator's core values."
"Chicago Tribune
" The self-portrait is appealing. It presents a man of relative youth yet maturity, a wise observer of the human condition, a figure who possesses perseverance and writing skills that have flashes of grandeur. Obama also demonstrates a wry sense of humor His particular upbringing gives him special insights into the transition of American politics in the 1960s and 70s from debates over economic principles to a focus on culture and morality, and into the divisiveness, polarization and incivility that accompanied this transition.
Gary Hart, "The New York Times Book Review"
America s founders set a high standard for political writing, and most contemporary efforts fall woefully short. How nice, then, to have a politician who can write as well as U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. "The Audacity of Hope" is fascinating in its revelation of Obama as someone who considers and questions, rather than asserts and declares. In nine focused chapters, Obama shows himself an agile thinker. This is an idea book, not a public-policy primer.
Elizabeth Taylor, "Philadelphia Daily News
"
Not only is Obama a good writer, his mind is top-shelf, his heart tender.
Les Payne, "Newsday"
A thoughtful, careful analysis of what needs to be done to preserve our freedoms in a time of terror.
Newton N. Minow, "Chicago Tribune
"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An intelligent, thoughtful, measured book setting out Obamas political take in his country as well as some personal background. My impression was that he comes across as genuine and sincere despite knowing that this book was written in mind of winning over voters. At times Obama displays a cautious pragmatic side to himself, I felt this came more dominant later on in his presidency. The book is nicely set out but also has a lucid style so many themes flow together. He offers a critique of the current (as of 2008) political situation in the US and criticizes both the Right and sometimes the Left for the faults he thinks they have. Obama explains quite well the federal nature of the US government and how the senate and the high courts can block measures that the president wishes to put through. On the foundation of the US he doesn't really have an answer as to how such a fine declaration of liberty and human rights co-existed with slavery, I felt he sounded rather weak and unconvincing in this part.

There's an interesting chapter on Politics, Obama writes about the town hall meetings he attends and the ordinary concerns that people often raise. He addresses the challenges that the media present and how important name recognition becomes when running for office. Funding is a well known problem in US politics, Obama sees nothing wrong with accepting donations from interest groups but not wealthy hedge fund mangers. He also talks about the cliff, the gulf that a Politian has to fall when they fail, most of us can hide our misfortunes but politians have to live it all out in the open, no wonder they become cautious and hesitant Obama thinks.
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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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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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