Barack Obama: This Improbable Quest

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Barack Obama is quickly becoming America’s most popular politician, and his run for the presidency has brought huge crowds at home and an unprecedented wave of international attention as well. Much more than a biography, this book is a political tour of Obama’s legislative experience as well as his ideas about race, religion, and politics. Political writer John K. Wilson, author of four previous books including a study of Newt Gingrich, explores the reaction Obama has received from the left, the right, and the media. As the first presidential candidate from Generation X, Obama has generated an exciting movement of young people to support his campaign as he defines a new kind of broadly popular progressive politics. As improbable as such a quest may be this fresh new candidate may be just the right one to bridge not only generations but ideologies that often divide. Amid all the hype surrounding Obama, this book provides the first in-depth look at what he believes, what he represents, and how he might transform American politics.

See John Wilson discuss his book on CSPAN CSPAN Interview

See John Wilson's Huffington Post entry which was read by Rush Limbaugh on his show:

Visit John Wilson's website and blog at

This title is discussed in a broad analysis of Obama at the following link:

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Will Barack Obama be the next president of the United States? Should he be? John Wilson thoughtfully examines these questions in a perceptive and incisive analysis of Obama's appeal to the American people.”

"...essential reading for anyone wishing to try to make more sense of contemporary American presidential politics and social policy. Highly recommended for all libraries.

"...a thoughtful look at what Obama's candidacy means"

Geoffrey Stone
“Will Barack Obama be the next president of the United States? Should he be? John Wilson thoughtfully examines these questions in a perceptive and incisive analysis of Obama's appeal to the American people.”
"...a thoughtful look at what Obama's candidacy means"
Library Journal

Regarding freshman U.S. Senator Barack Obama's quixotic (at least by conventional standards) quest for the Oval Office, these books fall between the usual extremes of unabashedly promotional and critical policy analysis. The more thought-provoking is Steele's (senior fellow, Hoover Inst., Stanford Univ.; White Guilt ), who argues that while he shares much in common with Obama, he is convinced that the senator cannot prevail in his race for the White House. In his brief polemic, almost a literary jazzlike riff on U.S. politics, race relations, and contemporary sociology, Steele examines the significance and implications of Obama's candidacy, concluding that while it is historical-even iconic-he cannot be elected because he is "a bound man." By this he means that although Obama seeks to transcend superficial racial identities, he is in a double-bind, suspended between black racial solidarity and white liberal guilt. Steele admires Obama yet questions his character and policy commitments.

If Steele is an Obama agnostic, Wilson (How the Left Can Win Arguments and Influence People ), who studied law under Obama at the University of Chicago, is an Obama disciple. While Obama's candidacy is perhaps the "improbable quest" that he himself declared it in his announcement speech in 2007, Wilson contends that Obama is the most electorally appealing progressive candidate, one who has truly sparked a grassroots movement. While Steele argues that race may be the downfall of Obama's campaign, Wilson counters that Obama, through his policy proposals and charisma, has transcended race in large measure, and, if elected in 2008, would help the country move further down the road towardwhat Martin Luther King called the "beloved community." With caucuses and primaries upon us, we soon will find out which of these books proves the more deeply insightful. Neither is fully persuasive but each is essential reading for anyone wishing to try to make more sense of contemporary American presidential politics and social policy. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Stephen K. Shaw, Northwest Nazarene Univ., Nampa, ID

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594514760
  • Publisher: Paradigm Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John K. Wilson is the author of Patriotic Correctness: Academic Freedom and Its Enemies (Paradigm Publishers 2008); Newt Gingrich: Capitol Crimes and Misdemeanors (Common Courage Press 1996); and The Myth of Political Correctness: The Conservative Attack on Higher Education (Duke University Press 1995), among several other titles. A former student of Barack Obama at the University of Chicago, Wilson is an Illinois native who currently lives in Chicago and has watched Obama rise from state senator to U.S. senator to president of the United States.

Wilson has discussed his work in major media forums including C-SPAN, the O’Reilly Factor, and the Huffington Post. Visit his website and blog at

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