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The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream
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The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  97,933 ratings  ·  4,058 reviews
In July 2004, Barack Obama electrified the Democratic National Convention with an address that spoke to Americans across the political spectrum. One phrase in particular anchored itself in listeners’ minds, a reminder that for all the discord and struggle to be found in our history as a nation, we have always been guided by a dogged optimism in the future, or what Senator ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 608 pages
Published November 7th 2006 by Random House Large Print Publishing (first published 2006)
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Erik ^ I wouldn't hold too much weight in what Chantelle is saying with a response like that. All those poorly written romance novels must be going to her…more^ I wouldn't hold too much weight in what Chantelle is saying with a response like that. All those poorly written romance novels must be going to her head.

Do some research and find out for yourself. Look at his policies and what he stands for. I personally think he's an extremely intelligent man, far from perfect, but a competent leader.

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I’m assuming Obama will be the next President of the USA. That will probably be a good thing. Recently I did an online quiz to pick which candidate I would be most likely to vote for – as an Australian this was purely an academic exercise – but it said I should support Obama. Naturally, my politics and his are quite different – I’m to his extreme left, but I thought I should find out more about him just the same.

It is an odd thing how different Australians are from Americans. We are both ‘fronti
I've now finished this book, which I've been reviewing a chapter at a time. Before starting, I was concerned that it might lower my opinion of him. Many people have been rather dismissive, and perhaps that's why I didn't read it earlier. In fact, it has had the opposite effect. It's well thought out and convincing, and I respect him more. The one major criticism I have is that it's stylistically unimpressive; you can see that it would have benefited from another revision pass. He is however so i ...more
It is a good thing that these days, if a Democratic candidate wants to continue war and occupation in Iraq, he has to call it "phased redeployment" a la Obama, rather than "20,000 more troops," a la Kerry. People are fed up with the old policies, and they're looking towards candidates who talk left. I think that's a sign of a real shift among regular people, and we shouldn't dismiss anyone who wants to see real change but still has hopes in the Democratic Party. This is true even if we already k ...more
Linda C.
Jul 03, 2007 Linda C. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Barack Obama fills me with hope.

Hope for the United States, and hope for America's standing on the world stage.

This book shows the human side of a man who is running for president. He tackles many different issues from faith, race, family life, war, international relations, and politics.

All are done in a thoughtful manner.

I get the sense that when he attempts to address an issue that he truly wants to hear from all interested parties, and work to come to an accommodation that everyone can live w
I found the first couple of chapters of this book a bit murky, due to my ignorance of American political life and methods, but after that I found it fascinating. I loved the way that Obama can communicate at all levels. This book could so easily have been a dry and dusty analysis of his political life and experiences, but instead it was an intensely human and open discussion of the issues that matter to him. I liked him before I read the book, and I liked him even more afterwards.

I was particula
I used to think that a liberal was simply someone whose background and education was deficient of the facts needed to understand the full ramifications of their left-leaning policies. For example, in a debate I once heard Maxine Waters (D-CA) incredulously ask "Why not?!" when told that the government can't afford free healthcare, free college, free daycare, etc. Because apart from the land of fairies and puppy-dog tails where the Congresswoman, if not grew up, at least spent most of her summers ...more
Jun 28, 2008 Anne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who's voting in 2008
One reviewer said he'd read this whole book and was left not knowing what Barack Obama was a way, I see his point--readers expecting a manifesto of voting positions will be sorely disappointed. For that, read the congressional record. Readers expecting a standard-bearer for the left will also be disappointed, as Obama's focus is not a solid 'Yes' check in all the predictable party line talking points. For instance, neither pro nor anti-war, he wholeheartedly supported the war in Afghani ...more
Dec 07, 2008 Jan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any American adult
Recommended to Jan by: my brother
Is it possible to think clearly if you can't speak and write clearly? It must be, because Bush and Palin can't be stupid and have made it as far as they have. Oh, but what a pleasure it will be to have a President whose writing can compare with some of the Federalist Papers by Madison or the speeches of Lincoln.

There are a few clichés in the book, and a few typos and grammatical or style errors that led me to think the editor, not the author, was asleep at the switch. There are several passages
Aug 03, 2008 Ryan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everbody, especially all Americans.
Often, I like to read books outloud. It helps me to stay attentive and be an active reader. Rarely is a book so pleasing to hear in my own voice as The Audacity of Hope was. Most political or historical writing can be cumbersome and difficult to explore in this manner. Barack Obama's writing, instead, is strong, clear, and easy to read, with a cadence and strong diction that many writers do not succeed to develop.

Part memoir, part declaration and history of liberal wisdom, this book was a true
Beth F.
I pay as little attention as possible to the political arena in the hope that I can find a healthy balance between being peripherally aware of what’s going on without being sucked into the madness. I never intended to read this book and the only reason I picked it up in the first place was because it counted for a reading challenge I’m participating in through a group on this site.

Before starting the book, I had read some reviews written by other users and without fail, every single one reminded
Jul 18, 2008 Kirt rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 2008 voters
Superb rhetorician. Polished delivery. (I listened to this as an audio book.) Consummate politician. (His words worked well with varying positions he may or may not take.) Would make a great friend and neighbor. (Genuine and endearing family anecdotes -- courtship, diapers, daughters with wardrobe issues, wife with absentee-husband issues.) But overall, it was clear that he and I see things through very different lenses, and that through his lens he sees himself being somewhat bigger than life. ...more
I didn't like it because it was fiction parading as non-fiction, from the story to the author. William Ayers wrote this book, not Obama. And it's filled from the first page to the last with evasions, omissions, obfuscations, skirtings of the truth, and outright lies.
Wow, this man is really going to be our President? I imagine most politicians except Dubya and Sarah Palin could recite some of the political and economic and foreign history that Obama talks about in this book, but they could never frame it so well or so inspirationally. Not only does he know the history, he thinks about it and clarifies it. He thinks! This president-elect loves America and Americans, what we are and what we can be. Fascinating book, and I loved getting a little glimpses into h ...more
What kind of bozo writes his memoirs before having achieved anything of merit (Read my review of Harry Potter). He is simply a classic socialist/marxist redistribution of wealth liberal. "From each, according to their ability, to each, according to their need." Would you give your 'A' to the most struggling student in the class? What good would it do anyways? The same goes for money! I really thought people weren't making these moronic arguments anymore, I guess I was wrong.
Oct 16, 2008 Sparrow rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Sparrow by: Sarah Palin, when she said "Who is that guy?"
I could not help but think to myself, “Get a room,” as I finished the section titled “Our Constitution” in Senator Barack Obama’s most recently published book, The Audacity of Hope. I’ll admit that by the time I finished the first chapter, “Republicans and Democrats” I had a little crush on Senator Obama (sorry Michelle), so his love letter to the American Constitution felt a little like I had gone through his desk looking for a pen and come upon something I was never meant to see. I got the fee ...more
I bought this book in April during an unexpectedly long layover at the Houston airport, read half of it, then forced myself to put it down as I was becoming too emotionally invested in the prospect of an Obama presidency and felt that I needed to pace myself, since it was only April and I am frankly still recovering from the political PTSD of November 2004. I picked it up again during another transcontinental trip this past week and determined to finish it this time, hoping to educate myself abo ...more
Whether the reader agrees or disagrees with Obama's politics is of course the greatest factor in his or her enjoyment of the book. As an Obama supporter, I was a biased reader and indeed very impressed by his writing and reasoning. However, this book represents the core of his politics and is not simply the icing on the cake.

First of all, it must be noted that I was rather worried that he would disappoint as an author. Having read several politicians' books, I was used to that excessively frien
Aug 29, 2008 Jessica rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all those people who still say they "don't know what Obama is about"
He really is a great writer! And he's fricking brilliant. I enjoyed this immensely and can't wait to see him put these plans into action.
Sep 11, 2014 Sara rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: patient readers
Obama is not a writer nor a storyteller; good thing neither are required to be a good leader. I like Obama, but this book was a disappointment. I don't know if I can honestly classify it as "read," as I had to keep skimming and skimming to get to anything interesting. Lots of meandering reminiscences and obseravations in politics in general.

I was hoping more for clear and strong political essays, with personal experiences to solidify them. It is all well and good that he knows so much about the
I just finished Barack Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope,” which I started what feels like a year ago, but completing it at this point nicely dovetails in with all the unavoidable political coverage of late. While there’s certainly no way I would have started this book in the MIDST of all the conventions and coverage, I have to say it has come to a conclusion at a fitting time. I find Obama such a compelling, captivating figure, but I’m often frustrated at only being able to learn so much (of a subs ...more
In "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream," Senator Barack Obama offers a message of hope to the cynics that would claim that our country is hopelessly divided and politics has devolved into a power game of little interest to ordinary Americans. Senator Obama believes there are, in fact, ordinary Americans out there that do care about our country, are engaged in politics, and can manage to find common ground with neighbors and friends whose politics or values they may d ...more
I initially approached this book with a fairly open mind, but soon enough found myself filled not with hope but boredom. Obama certainly is a smart and likable guy, but his autobiographical meanderings and relatively trite, feel-good messages (e.g. that an advocate of abortion rights and a pro-life doctor can both be basically decent people) did not engage my mind at all. This is not to say that I think Senator Obama has not brought something positive to the public sphere - I think he has had a ...more
The first thing I will say to anyone thinking of "reading" this book is to pick up an audio copy. It's read by the author, so you truly get the meaning of every word in the sense the author intends.
That said - I really enjoyed it. Not being someone huge on history, there were some moments where I was out of the loop in regard to what Obama was referencing (and these were the moments when actually reading the copy may have proved more beneficial than hearing it read aloud) - but these morsels of
Nov 08, 2008 Louis rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want to understand how the (messy) U.S. political system works
Shelves: history, biography
The Audacity of Hope is not a biography, it is a discussion of politics in the United States. It is not a denunciation of the current political system, but a description of it and how and why it developed the way it has.

Obama walks through a number of topics, the two-party system, values, the constitution, politics, opportunity, faith, and race, and writes about how each is related to the political process. He discusses the actual issues that are involved, how various groups within the United St
***Dave Hill
(Original review:

For everyone who bitched last election about not knowing “who Barack Obama is,” the answer was as close as his memoir, written in 1995 when he became the first black man elected president of the Harvard Law Review, before his rise into politics (the audiobook was recorded — with an additional preface, while he was Senator; I got a copy of the unabridged version, which also includes his 2004 DNC keynote speech).

The book tells of his child
Worthless Bum
Apr 04, 2009 Worthless Bum rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who want to know more about the personal side of President Obama.
Recommended to Worthless by: Given as a Christmas gift by my stepmother
A somewhat interesting and fairly well written account of the backround and political views of current president Barack Obama. The autobiographical aspects of this book were interesting, hearing about what it was like growing up for Obama, about his Kenyan father and white mother, about the values his mother instilled in him. He goes on to mention how he came to meet his wife and start a family with her, and some of the political work he's undertaken throughout his short career as a politician. ...more
Mark Oppenlander
I have been contemplating what to say about this book. It's a challenging book to review, and I assume that whatever I write will draw the ire of at least a few of my Goodreads friends. I also assume that people will decide whether to read this book or not primarily on the basis of who they already believe President Obama to be. And that's too bad, because on its own merits, this book has much to recommend it, regardless of whether you agree with Mr. Obama's politics or not. Here are a few thoug ...more
I'm not going to rate this book in terms of stars because it doesn't seem fair. First of all, one's political position is going to be a stronger influence than usual in how one takes the author's sentiments. Second, there are several elements - particularly the occasional self-servingly glib statements (such as his dicussion of flying on private jets), and a general tendency to be marketing oneself - that I would usually call an author out on, but that for a campaign driven memoir are virtually ...more
Very enjoyable. I loved hearing how Barack and Michelle met. If you like President Obama this is a nice book. I listened to the audio and Barack read the book.
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Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America. He is the first African-American President to be elected President of the United States, and was the first to be nominated for President by a major U.S. political party. He was the junior U.S. Senator from Illinois from 2005 until he resigned on November 16, 2008, following his election to the Presidency.

Barack Obama is the son of
More about Barack Obama...

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“I believe in evolution, scientific inquiry, and global warming; I believe in free speech, whether politically correct or politically incorrect, and I am suspicious of using government to impose anybody's religious beliefs -including my own- on nonbelievers.” 143 likes
“We think of faith as a source of comfort and understanding but find our expressions of faith sowing division; we believe ourselves to be a tolerant people even as racial, religious, and cultural tensions roil the landscape. And instead of resolving these tensions or mediating these conflicts, our politics fans them, exploits them,and drives us further apart.” 48 likes
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