With Barack Obama so much in the news these days, it is helpful to read this well-researched book by Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendell.
Obama himself wrote his own story ten years ago, “Dreams from my Father”, before he became famous. It came out again last year and was reviewed by Books on Beechwood last March. It tells the commendably detached story of how Obama struggled to find his own identity -with a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, U.S.A.
Mendell’s book goes on from there and shows how once Obama did settle on his identity he has become a remarkably steady character, not pushed around by the tremendous media pressure that has descended on him in his run for the presidency.
After graduating with honors from Harvard Law School, Obama became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. In early working days he experienced the violent moods of inner city kids in L.A. After a year in Manhattan, he took a job in Chicago with an organization pulling urban blacks and suburban whites together in a plan to save manufacturing jobs in metropolitan Chicago. He worked for multiculturalism, believing blacks should enter the mainstream power structure and work for change. He himself decided politics would be a faster way to a achieve this and won a seat in the Illinois State Senate on Chicago’s South Side.
The rest of Mendell’s book is an exciting look at the game – and the fight – to win the Presidency of the United States. We meet Obama’s vivacious wife, Michelle, and two young daughters. For the rest we can watch television and see the pressure piled on this young family.The story of course is still mid-way. This is a very good background book.
Book Review by Anne McDougall