Inspirational and instructive, Obama's reading of this abridgment demonstrates why his visibility is on the rise. His impassioned voice is clear and powerful, resonating with expression and feeling as he discusses how Americans can restore hope in the future. His call for change is stirring and unequivocal, and he conveys empathy for a nation caught in tremendous social upheaval. His analysis of education, race, welfare, and globalization illustrates an understanding of a changing world and a need to adapt. This rendition calls to mind an impassioned civics lesson or a sermon that one would actually ponder and remember. Obama's performance surpasses and engages listener expectations, encouraging not only responsibility, but also tolerance and respect. Listeners will feel that the senator from Illinois is talking to them individually and will come away, enlightened and enthusiastic, ready to tackle the challenges besetting today's America. M.H.N. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine
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Barack Obama smoothly blends personal memoir with clear, bold statements on his political views. His delivery is exceptionally polished, and a strong sense of his character comes through. Due to both his stories and his earnest tone, he seems likable, reasonable, and trustworthy. He also shows a fine sense of humor (and does a surprisingly good George W. Bush imitation). However, except when he speaks about his family, Obama's voice is almost free of passion, making one wonder if he has the fire to fuel his ambitions. As for his political reasoning, he strongly stakes out a pragmatic middle-liberal position. His concern for people seems genuine, but his policy proposals offer little that is new. G.T.B. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine
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December 4, 2006
Obama reads his own words with the conviction and strength that listeners would expect from the Ilinois Democratic senator. The audacity of his hope echoes in each sentence he speaks as he lays the groundwork for reclaiming the values and inner strength that makes the United States so grand. While Obama is a great public speaker, those same skills could be overwhelming within the confines of an audiobook. Listeners will rejoice that he does not turn this reading opportunity into a six-hour speech. Instead, his cadence, speed and tone work to bring the listener from point to point, building inspiration through provocative thought rather than intense voice and personal charisma. Political inclinations will determine whether Obama's solutions or intentions are valued or disregarded. However, in his sincerest moments, he seizes hold of the problems plaguing the nation while criticizing both sides' failure to grasp the actual problem and to become bogged down in petty politics. He emphasizes the complexity of politics in a pluralist country spread out over millions of square miles. But even in his exploration of the political landscape, he does not hesitate to admit to his own limitations within the system. Simultaneous release with the Crown hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 2).