James Klagge's Reviews > Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition

Reading Obama by James T. Kloppenberg
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's review
Jan 30, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary-issues, philosophy
Read from December 29, 2010 to January 02, 2011

Apparently this book started life as an article, and was expanded to a book. It could have remained an article as there was considerable repetition. It gives a thorough account of Obama's influences from his education and reading, and places him in the landscape of political philosophy. It is impressive and enlightening. The weakest part seemed to me to be his discussion of Obama's philosophical influences--but since I am a philosopher, it was perhaps easiest to see the flaws there. There were a number of oversimplifications--and non-philosophers seem almost universally incapable of understanding the distinction between normative and descriptive issues (especially when it comes to relativism). The book explains well why Obama makes people unhappy both on the left and on the right--his deep-seated pragmatism. One reason I enjoyed the book was b/c the account of Obama's approach resonated with my own experiences as an elected school board member for 8 years. I also made people on both ends of the spectrum unhappy, and for reasons that I think are similar to Obama's.
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Reading Progress

12/29 page 25
06/30 marked as: read
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