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View Diary: New book on Obama published by Murdoch's publishing house (72 comments)

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  •  if you read what i wrote very carefully (0+ / 0-)

    There is a difference, Barack Obama did not write this book, but

    it seems at the very least it is authorized by his campaign

    . If we are truly committed to a Murdoch boycott, then we should let our candidates know that it has to start on every level...

    David Mendell has covered Obama since the beginning of his campaign for the Senate and as a result enjoys far–reaching access to the new Senator––both his professional and personal life

    Stating it

    'seems' and it 'is'

    are two different things. But, if the publishing house is saying the author

    "enjoys far-reaching access to the new Senator"

    The point is, Obama's camp must have known something about this book and the real point is not a "hit piece" but let's keep the heat on Murdoch...

    by wade norris on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 01:27:11 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  You. Make. No. Sense. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Do you have a factual basis for "it is authorized by his campaign"?

    •  I read it very carefully (7+ / 0-)
      You say, without even the tiniest shred of evidence,
      it seems at the very least it is authorized by his campaign

      I bought the book and am in the process of reading it.  I've read the acknowledgements, and nothing in them indicates that this is an authorized biography.  Clearly, the author had a good deal of access to Obama and his inner circle, but that's because the author was the principal reporter covering Obama for the Chicago Tribune, one of the two biggest Illinois newspapers, from the beginning of Obama's Senate campaign.  There's no indication that Obama or his inner circle had any idea that he was also going to be writing a book, much less who the publisher of the book was going to be.

      Finally, HarperCollins isn't the typical right-wing Murdoch media outlet.  It's the publisher of, among other things, "A People's History of the United States," by Howard Zinn; "The Left Hand of God," by Michael Lerner; "Bush on the Couch," by Justin Frank, M.D.; "Stupid White Men" by Michael Moore; and "Selling Out" by Mark Green -- none of which would ever, in anybody's wildest imagination, be regarded as right-wing books or right-wing authors.

      "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

      by leevank on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 01:58:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't know the book had been released yet--- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        it's in the book stores now?
         From what I have read about it, I could safely say it wasn't "authorized" by Obama.  It's not at all a "Barack is the Bestest, Greatest, Wonderfulest Person of All Time" love fest.
         What do you think so far?  Is it fair?

        •  My reaction so far (0+ / 0-)
          I'm only about 80 psges into it, so I hesitate to give any definitive opinions, but it certainly isn't the typical, campaign-authorized hagiography.  (Of course, "Dreams From My Father" is far from the typical autobiography of a politician, too.)

          As far as I've gotten (which is to where he decided to temporarily leave Chicago to go to Harvard Law School), I think it's fairly insightful in portraying both Obama's strengths, and some of his warts.  He clearly has a very strong strain of idealism, which can obviously be traced to his mother, but also got a strong strain of realism from his grandmother (who basically raised him during his mother's frequent absences while living in Indonesia or doing her graduate field work in anthropology), and an even stronger dose of realism during his community organizing work.

          It basically portrays him, in his youth, as somebody who was a bright under-achiever, who was more focused on exploring his questions about his identity (both coming to terms with himself as a black man raised by a white family, and coming to terms with himself as the son of an absent father who he gradually discovered wasn't completely the virtual saint that his mother, to her credit, had painted him as) than on his studies.  (And it also notes that he had the laid-back attitude fostered by Hawaii's climate, which doesn't do much for many people's academic achievement -- which is something that my wife, who lived in Hawaii from 1st through 6th grade, has frequently mentioned to me.)

          One of the more interesting insights, which was hinted at in "Dreams From My Father," but not developed as fully as it is here, is the extent to which his two undergraduate years at Columbia were occupied by an almost monastic dedication to studying some of the great political philosophers and theorists.  My impression is that it's probably fairly unusual for people who have a future in politics to engage in this kind of in-depth reading and study at any point in their lives, and it may be the reason for the depth that I've sensed in Obama, that seems to be very atypical for most politicians.

          But there are several things that his campaign obviously wouldn't like, including a portrayal of someone who can be impatient and somewhat thin-skinned at times, and who had a fascination with Malcolm X as a teen-ager that some people would probably find problematic, although it's something that I think is completely understandable for any young black man during that time -- especially for one who was struggling with questions of his identity.

          "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither liberty nor security." -Ben Franklin

          by leevank on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 03:36:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  thanks so much for the partial (0+ / 0-)

            review.  I will read it, Rupert Murdoch be damned.  All you can hope for in these political biographies is that the author is fair and tells the truth as best he knows it.  So many have an agenda and either enhance the loveliness or exaggerate the faults.  I will be satisfied if this book succeeds in giving an objective portrayal of Obama.
             Now if I was writing this book, there would not be one moment in his life where he wasn't absolutely flawless.  hee.

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