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“Barack and Roll: Grading a Presidency’s Midterm Examinations”

Clara Heyworth 1 November 2010

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 ...

Filed under: reviews