More than a Resumé

The Audacity of Hope

Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

Barack Obama

Crown, $25, 376 pp.


There hasn’t been a book by an active politician as popular as The Audacity of Hope since John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage (1956). It has been at the top of the New York Times best-seller list and others since its publication last October. This appeal is not surprising. Barack Obama has attracted extraordinary attention since his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic national convention and subsequent victory in the race for a Senate seat in Illinois. This interest has of course become even more intense now that he has become a contender for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Time will tell if Audacity will help his candidacy, as Profiles helped Kennedy’s. Obama’s personal history is by now pretty well known: born in Hawaii in 1961 to a white American mother and a black Kenyan father; raised by his mother and Indonesian step-father in Jakarta and then in Hawaii by white grandparents originally from Kansas (family gatherings, he writes, take on “the appearance of a UN General Assembly meeting”). He went to Columbia University, then worked for a nonprofit church-related service group in Chicago before attending Harvard Law School (where he was president of the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude). He practiced civil-rights law and taught at the University of Chicago Law School, and later served three terms in the Illinois State Legislature. The views expressed in this volume were...

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About the Author

James Duffy is a writer and retired lawyer living in New York City. He is the author of a nonfiction study of American politics, Domestic Affairs: American Programs and Priorities, and a political novel, Dog Bites Man: City Shocked!