There no real good way to review this book, so I am not going to. And if you're not a fan, nothing I say will change your mind. If you are a fan, you already know everything I could possibly say.
Was President Obama perfect? No.
Do I believe he had the best interest of our nation at heart in his eight years in office and served admirably? Undoubtedly, yes.
So, I am just going to share some highlights I found especially poignant. It was such a relief reading this book, to "hear" the voice of an adult who understood the weight of the world on his shoulders as he steered our country through tumultuous times and brought us out of terrible economic conditions. I read it in the first week of December 2020, as four years of chaos, incompetence, and greed were finally sort of winding down. It was very easy to slip into Barack-Obama-is-talking-to-me mode, because that's what it felt like, a conversation between friends.
Highly highly recommended.
"Perhaps most troubling of all, our democracy seems to be teetering on the brink of crisis - a crisis rooted in a fundamental contest between two opposing visions of what America is and what it should be; a crisis that has left the body politic divided, angry, and mistrustful, and has allowed for an ongoing breach of institutional norms, procedural safeguards, and an adherence to basic facts that both Republicans and Democrats once took for granted" (1%).
"Do we care to match the reality of America to its ideals? If so, do we really believe that our notions of self-government and individual freedom, equality of opportunity and equality before the law, apply to everybody? Or are we instead committed, in practice if not in statute, to reserving those things for the privileged few?" (1%).
"...we will learn to live together, cooperate with one another, and recognize the dignity of others, or we will perish. As so the world watches America - the only great power in history to be made up of people from every corner of the planet, comprising every race and faith and cultural practice - to see if our experiment in democracy can work. To see if we can do what no other nation has ever done. To see if we can live up to the meaning of our creed" (1%).
"More than anyone, this book is for those young people - an invitation to once again remake the world, and to bring about, through hard work, determination, and a big dose of imagination, an American that finally aligns with all that is best in us" (1%).
Ted Kennedy (8%): "The power to inspire is rare. Moments like this are rare. You think you may not be ready; that you'll do it at a more convenient time. But you don't choose the time. The time chooses you. Either you seize what might turn out to be the only chance you have, or you decide you are willing to live with the knowledge that the chance has passed you by."
Discussing his candidacy (9%): "But who knows," I said, looking around the table. "There's no guarantee we can pull it off. here's one thing I know for sure, though. I know that the day I raise my right hand and take the oath to be president of the United States, the world will start looking at America differently. I know that kids around this country - Black kids, Hispanic kids, kids who don't fit in - they'll see themselves differently, too, their horizons lifted, their possibilities expanded. And that alone...that would be worth it."
A lesson from John McCain (you can disagree with much of his politics as I do, but you also have to admire how he responded multiple times to the blatant racism, bigotry, and disrespect that began so heavily permeating politics when Obama began his campaign) (21%): "I have to tell you, he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States," he said, causing his audience to boo lustily. Answering another question, he said, "We want to fight, and I will fight. But we will be respectful. I admire Senator Obama and his accomplishments. I will respect him. I want everyone to be respectful and let's make sure we are because that's the way politics should be conducted in America."
On the bin Laden mission (74%): Then, with a suddenness I didn't expect, we heard McRaven's and Leon's voices, almost simultaneously, utter the words we'd been waiting to hear - the culmination of months of planning and years of intelligence gathering. "Geronimo ID'd...Geronimo EKIA." Enemy killed in action. Osama bin Laden - code-named "Geronimo" for the purposes of the mission - - the man responsible for the worst terrorist attack in American history, the man who had directed the murder of thousands of people and set in motion a tumultuous period of world history, had been brought to justice by a team of American Navy SEALs. Inside the conference room, there were audible gasps. My eyes remained glued to the video feed. "We got him," I said softly.
I will never forget that announcement as long as I live. We got him. Thank you, President Obama.
GREAT REVIEW... i still don't know how El Estupido got elected: if there was ever voting fraud it was by him and his cronies...ReplyDelete
Thank you! The one thing we can be thankful for with the former guy getting elected is that it showed us a lot of peoples' true selves.Delete
Like Corona. We could have done without both of them but that was the only positive side of it/him.Delete
EXACTLY!! I know who to avoid from now on for both of these reasons.Delete
It does make me a bit sad though that people I thought I knew well, I didn't. That's always a bit of a shock.Delete
I know. A lot of people have made that same experience here with Corona.Delete
Agreed! I had no idea I knew so many conspiracy theorists who don't believe in science! Luckily most of those are acquaintances and not good friends.Delete
I think you had space for *at least* 20 more stars there.... [lol]ReplyDelete
ALL THE STARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lolDelete
A love your "non-review". I totally agree, there is nothing we can do or say to convince people that he was a good guy. What I probably love most about him is that he admits where he was wrong and that he is not faultless (as opposed to another one who shall not be named).ReplyDelete
I'm more or less in the middle of the book and this is certainly one that I want to finish but also don't want to finish. Barack Obama has such a great way of talking to the reader, it really is as if we were sitting opposite a friend.
Thank you! Humility is a wonderful quality, as is the ability to admit when one is wrong. Plus there's the added bonus of Obama being highly intelligent and hilarious.Delete
I felt the same way as you do. I wanted to read it, but not finish the book. I am looking forward to the second book and another conversation with an old friend. That's really the perfect way to describe it.
I have just finished it and am looking forward to the second part now.Delete
And yes, only humble people can be really great. If you boast about yourself, it never sounds right and can be easily proven wrong. Never with Barack Obama. He knows what he knows and he knows that people who truly want to understand will understand.
And as we have seen many times with the former guy...he and his sycophants can't stop talking even now about how great they are and how great the country was doing when Biden took over. He said we would never hear from him again if he lost...yet he's still yapping.Delete
I doubt he remembers anything he said yesterday.Delete
That's true too. What a doofus.Delete
I have not read the book. Memoirs, even of people that I admire like him, are not my favorite things. We were privileged as a nation to have him in office for eight years, a man so honorable and so thoughtful that he could never descend to the gutter politics practiced by his enemies. That probably made it doubly difficult for him to respond to the despicable lying attacks that were so much a part of their opposition to him.ReplyDelete
Agreed 100%! I can't imagine how awful it was to see and hear the terrible things said about himself, Michelle, and the girls. And to follow his historic presidency with such a dumpster fire of racist trash...Delete
As a Brit, I think he's been the best president in my lifetime.ReplyDelete
As a German, I agree. And I've been through quite a few, including Kennedy and Carter who came close.Delete
I love to hear things like this Flora, thank you!Delete
Thank you Marianne, I never get tired of hearing things like that.Delete
I don't blame you. Knowing there are people elsewhere who think the same as you always makes you understand that you are on the right track.Delete
Yes, it helps a lot because it also comforts me to know that the rest of the world sees what we have done before and what we are capable of again now that the other guy is out of office.Delete
I think the majority of people was more than relieved, both in and out of your country. It's just that the other side shouts louder. My parents would always say, whoever shouts is wrong. Good point, I think.Delete
Excellent point. Though I have shouted my share of times over them, yikes. But I try not to.Delete
It's the way they are shouting.Delete
That's true. I could do without their nonsense.Delete
This makes me so excited to read this! I recently read Becoming by Michelle and then added this to my TBR.ReplyDelete
I LOVED Becoming, too!! I read their books fairly close together and it made me miss them both so much more.Delete
I have the book but I'm waiting for my hold at the library to listen to the audio as well. I want to read and listen to this book at the same time. My husband has read the book and loved it.ReplyDelete
Does he narrate the audio?? That is enough to make me read it again.Delete
I just posted my review where I just had to mention yours.ReplyDelete
I'll go take a look right now!Delete