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Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity Hardcover – July 1, 2012
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"The Best 'Worst President'" by Mark Hannah and Bob Staake
A noted political commentator and renowned New Yorker illustrator team up to give Barack Obama the victory lap he deserves. Learn more
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"With lively prose and interpretive precision, Ian Reifowitz reveals the forty-fourth president’s pivotal role in the remaking of American identity. Obama’s America is one of those rare works of history that should enlighten the future as well as it explains something of great significance about the past."—Michael Kazin, author of American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation and professor of history, Georgetown University
"This is social science at its best. The book focuses on the president but employs insights into his identity as an individual to provide a penetrating and novel view of our identity as a people."—Amitai Etzioni, author of The New Golden Rule and University Professor, George Washington University
"Scrupulously attentive to the exact words used by Obama and his critics, Ian Reifowitz analyzes the discourse of race and national identity as it has swirled around the first black president. This book is a conscientiously documented, vigorously argued defense of Obama’s conception of the United States as an ethnoracial 'gumbo' sustained by a vibrant civic nationalism."—David A. Hollinger, author of Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism and professor of history, University of California, Berkeley
"Tracing Barack Obama’s discourses on national identity, Ian Reifowitz demonstrates how Obama privileges unity over division, nation over identity, and the pursuit of the common good over the pursuit of individual gain. Reifowitz explains clearly and engagingly how and why Obama’s vision of America is more inclusive and less divisive than that of any previous president. This book will be of interest to scholars of rhetoric, multicultural studies, and the American presidency, as well as to general readers of American history and politics."—Jennifer Mercieca, author of Founding Fictions, and associate professor of communication, Texas A&M University
"The election of Barack Obama was a major victory for race relations in America, pushing forth one of America's best values: cultural unity. Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity is a discussion of culture, social issues, and politics as Ian Reifowitz presents an optimistic view of what Barack Obama can do for America culturally, the fierce response to his rise, and what it ultimately means for America's future. An intriguing alternative perspective on the influence that Barack Obama holds on American culture, Obama's America is a solid addition to any cultural studies collection, highly recommended."—The Midwest Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
That said, as someone who is politically in the middle of the road, I am very intrigued by this book. This book does hinge heavily on President Obama, but mostly, and more importantly, it is about what it means to be American and how this is evolving (if it is at all) and how our President, like any other president, is having an effect on that.
In this powerful and timely book, historian Ian Reifowitz traces the rocky path our national identity has taken over the past two centuries. When our country was first founded, only white men who owned property could vote. Being "American" was often equated with being Protestant, white, and male. For much of the time since then, many people have not been considered "real Americans": women, Native Americans, Jews, Catholics, immigrant groups (such as people from China, Ireland, Italy, Poland, eastern Europe, Japan, India, Africa, Mexico, Latin America, etc.), and gay people. In the 1950s, only those who gave up all their cultural heritage and adopted a rigid and narrow "American-only" identity were considered American.
But in the last few decades, a much more inclusive concept has developed of what an American is. This new outlook appreciates the many ethnicities, religions, and cultures that make up the multi-colored tapestry of America. In this view, being patriotic means embracing everyone who makes this country their home and valuing the rich diversity of ideas and culture that they (or their ancestors) brought with them, while at the same time embracing our mutual American history and identity.
Reifowitz sees President Barack Obama's vision of our American identity as exemplifying this "democratic pluralism". Obama contrasts our civic nationalism with the divisive ethnic nationalism (and religious fundamentalism) that afflicts many countries and with the hyper-individualist, Ayn-Randian perspective that scoffs at the common good. Reifowitz sees the development of this civic nationalism as a very positive development in our history - embracing an image of ourselves that is both unifying and fully inclusive.
I have just ordered the book and look forward to reading it and the views it presents. Ir seems obvious to me that
"dangerous propaganda" (review) has not read the book for he does not present any evidence or references to the book to establish his point.I think that this is just another Obama hater propagating his propagandistic views,in a phrase(blowing smoke).Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thoughts, into words, into action.......two out of three.
I was given this book after stopping and starting it several time I finally finished it. Read more
I like that he has woven Pres. Obama's past speeches and books into his writing of "Obama's America". It gives you an even greater understanding of the man - Obama.Published 11 months ago by barbara Roy-Ruan
Could there really be a person that would have any interest in finding out what Obama's vision is of America? Really? Really? Read morePublished on July 10, 2013 by lewislapin
The book is worth a read and could come at no better time! The last election showed us if we ever doubted that our national identity has been shifting and that our President... Read morePublished on November 18, 2012 by B. NYC
Reifowitz is another leftist who claims to be "inclusive" but is "optimistic" because "America's demographics are changing." (WHAS interview 8:30am Sunday, Sep. Read morePublished on September 9, 2012 by Packbook
This book is an amazing and accurate depiction of President Obama visions for this country. The comments by the negative reviewers are ignorant and idiotic, please ignore them. Read morePublished on September 1, 2012 by Collin McCreath