In a mid-term piece for New City, Ian Epstein does a survey of recent books on Barack Obama, opening with a dig at the people making the books:
The midterm election is a quadrennial occasion like an extremely exclusive art fair or a seminal trade show for many American industries. The main topic, of course, is the celebrated and increasingly absurd blend of American ritual and American politics. The midterms inject energy into everything, and especially the allegedly troubled industry of pulped trees and human thought that is known as publishing.
Among the books under scrutiny here are Roger D. Hodge's The Mendacity of Hope, Edward McClelland's Young Mr. Obama, Ari Berman's Herding Donkeys, and, of course, Tariq Ali's The Obama Syndrome about which Epstein writes, missing the point of the book entirely:
It lacks the make-you-want-to-stand-up-and-say-fuck-yeah attitude with which Obama adeptly mystified the masses during his campaign.
The book to make-you-want-to-stand-up-and-say-fuck-yeah that Epstein is perhaps looking for is The Verso Book of Dissent ...
Paul Mason reports for the New Statesman on the critical condition of the US economy and social unrest from Gary, Indiana—a town that "signals the president's failure to solve America's most basic problems and to deliver to the very people whose votes put him in the White House."
Debate rages over economic strategy for a town like Gary: fiscal stimulus has failed to provide jobs or growth. Paul Mason asks where the battle will go after November 2.