The Audacity of Hope


Revision as of 17:15, 24 January 2007 by (Talk)

The Audacity of Hope
Author Barack Obama
Country United States
Language English
Subject(s) Political convictions
Publisher Crown
Released October 17, 2006
Media Type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 288
ISBN ISBN 0307237699
Preceded by Dreams from My Father

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Executive Summary

The junior U.S. Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, was propelled to national prominence at the 2004 Democratic Convention when he delivered a rousing keynote address entitled “The Audacity of Hope.” In the less than 20 minutes it took to deliver the speech, Obama was catapulted to sudden fame, with many analysts predicting that he may be well-positioned to enter a future presidential race. In 2006, Obama released The Audacity of Hope, a book-length account that expands upon many of the same themes he originally addressed in the convention speech that bore the same title.

The Audacity of Hope is an unusual blend of autobiography and policy analysis that veers far from the boilerplate, often ghostwritten biographies that many politicians release in the years leading up to a major campaign. In it, Obama recounts his unique childhood and the insight that his racially mixed heritage and the experience of living in a number of exotic locales instilled in him. He also discusses in great detail virtually every major political issue facing the American electorate today, offering his opinion and possible strategies for reform.

On issues ranging from abortion to defense, Obama’s stance is one that attempts to find a middle ground between reactionary conservatism and myopic, overly idealistic liberalism. Hearkening back to a period when Congress was characterized by collegiality and mutual respect, Obama calls for more real compromise and cooperation between Democrats and Republicans. His overarching message is that America has the inherent potential to offer hope to anyone, regardless of their background or experiences; however, in order to ensure that opportunities exist for all in a secure, functional, and sustainable national environment, a number of key policy changes are necessary.

Chapter Summaries


Obama begins the book with a brief overview of his political career, which has spanned a decade. After law school , Obama moved to Chicago to begin working as a community organizer in the city’s poor African American neighborhoods, while also teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago. Over the course of several years, Obama experienced both successes and failures in local and state politics. He reports that his motivation in entering politics was to cut through decades of polarizing partisanship and develop a moderate, effective approach. Obama notes that this same impulse prompted him to write The Audacity of Hope.

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Obama concludes The Audacity of Hope with an account of the days and weeks leading up to his delivery of the keynote address bearing the same title as the book at the 2004 Democratic Convention. He expresses gratitude at the attention and accolades that his sudden fame has afforded him, but at the same time, he says that he remains somewhat puzzled at the processes and machinations by which all of this hype came to be focused upon him. Regardless of which way his political career heads in the future, he vows to retain perspective, humor, and humility, as well as an overarching commitment to the greater good that first propelled him into public service.