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The Audacity of Hope – from the Monitor archives

Barack Obama gives readers a blueprint of his view that America requires "a different kind of politics."

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[The Monitor occasionally reprints book reviews of current interest. This review of "The Audacity of Hope" by Barack Obama originally ran in the Monitor on Jan. 30., 2007.] It's easy to see why The Audacity of Hope quickly shot up to the top of the bestseller list. In a refreshing voice, presidential hopeful Barack Obama gives readers a blueprint of his view that America requires "a different kind of politics."

Coming off as an earnest – if somewhat wide-eyed – new senator, Obama gives sweeping assessments of the country's intractable concerns: healthcare, education, and energy.

Obama advocates, for instance, for universal healthcare, but leaves the details to be ironed out. If he decides to push beyond an exploratory presidential bid, the generalities won't be enough. But his writing is at least refreshingly free of the vitriol and nuanced policy positions that characterize the debates in Washington.

Obama takes on the most divisive topics in America, such as race and social issues, in a way that shows respect for alternate views. A constituent who has problems with Obama's pro-choice position on abortion receives a personal letter from the Senate candidate. On race, he's firmly in favor of affirmation action, but notes how "many Americans disagree ... arguing that our institutions should never take race into account. Fair enough – I understand their arguments."

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