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Jon_B
Posts: 1,893
Registered: ‎07-15-2008
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Political autobiographies - what do they mean to you?

As most everyone here in the Book Clubs surely knows, the United States is currently in the middle of a rather heated presidential election.  And of special interest to us, as book lovers, is the fact that both of the major candidates in this election are authors.

 

Both John McCain and Barack Obama have authored non-fiction books that give insights into their ideological views and the ideas that have influenced their political outlook.   For example, Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, outlines his views on partisan politics and their effect on the American political scene as well as his thoughts on religion and its place in poltics.  McCain's book Hard Call, while less overtly political, shows us his approach to the decision making process - especially when under pressure - which is obviously an important element in the character of anyone running for a political office.

 

However both candidates have also written books of a more introspective, personal nature.   McCain's "Faith of my Fathers" tells the story of his grandfather and his father and their military careers, as well as documenting much of McCain's own history and his own military service in the Vietnam war.  Obama's "Dreams from my Father" details much of Obama's family history, his relationship with his absentee father, and his relationship between these family issues and experiences and his thoughts on race in America.  

 

Both of these books were written well before the current election, and obviously neither one of them contains content that is addressing the current campaigns.  However these books are frequently cited in conversation - by both supporters and opponents of the candidates in question - as indicators of a candidates character or of his thoughts on a given matter.

 

How do you - as readers and as voters - feel about books like these?  Have you read these autobiographical books by McCain and Obama?  If so, do you feel that they have helped you understand either candidate in a way that you did not previously?  Or do they simply confirm ideas that you already had?  Do you think its possible that a support of one candidate might in fact decide to support the other candidate after reading one of these books?  Or do you find it more likely that most voters would interpret the content of these books in a way that supports the impressions they already have of the candidates?  Overall, how useful do you consider these books - not only as historic artifacts, but as part of the reading voter's role in political process itself?

 

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Librarian
Posts: 483
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Political autobiographies - what do they mean to you?


Jon_B wrote:

 

 

 

How do you - as readers and as voters - feel about books like these?  Have you read these autobiographical books by McCain and Obama?  If so, do you feel that they have helped you understand either candidate in a way that you did not previously?  Or do they simply confirm ideas that you already had?  Do you think its possible that a support of one candidate might in fact decide to support the other candidate after reading one of these books?  Or do you find it more likely that most voters would interpret the content of these books in a way that supports the impressions they already have of the candidates?  Overall, how useful do you consider these books - not only as historic artifacts, but as part of the reading voter's role in political process itself?

 


               I have not read any autobiographical books by Obama or McCain. I think such books can have both of the effects you mentioned depending on the reader------the book could make some readers change their minds or readers may interpret the book to support what they already believe. I think such books do have a place as one way to fill out one's picture of a candidate along with other methods---newspapers, speeches, debates, examining the records, etc. I recently purchased Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton but I haven't started reading it yet because I had to read my in-person book club selection. And now I will be starting The Believers for First Look. I don't think I would get to any of these books before the election. But I like the idea of reading about the candidates. Also, I admit that I'm a Hillary supporter. My mind has been going back and forth with the issues of both candidates. And I admit that I am still not entirely certain which way my vote will go on Election Day. I am part of the block of voters considered by some to be  important to this election-------the Independent.

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