Friday, January 23, 2009

The Books That Maketh Obama

I've been pointed to this article about Obama's reading. You probably have read it, but it's good to just take a look at the books that maketh a person:

Mr. Bush and many of his aides favored prescriptive books — Natan Sharansky’s “Case for Democracy,” which pressed the case for promoting democracy around the world, say, or Eliot A. Cohen’s “Supreme Command,” which argued that political strategy should drive military strategy. Mr. Obama, on the other hand, has tended to look to non-ideological histories and philosophical works that address complex problems without any easy solutions, like Reinhold Niebuhr’s writings, which emphasize the ambivalent nature of human beings and the dangers of willful innocence and infallibility.

What’s more, Mr. Obama’s love of fiction and poetry — Shakespeare’s plays, Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick” and Marilynne Robinson‘s “Gilead” are mentioned on his Facebookpage, along with the Bible, Lincoln’s collected writings and Emerson’s “Self Reliance“ — has not only given him a heightened awareness of language. It has also imbued him with a tragic sense of history and a sense of the ambiguities of the human condition quite unlike the Manichean view of the world so often invoked by Mr. Bush.


Ana S. said...

I actually hadn't read it yet. I sort of count on you to point me towards cool articles, and you never disappoint :P

purplefugue said...

He's on Facebook?! Ack!

Bybee said...

I love hearing about Obama's reading life. He feels almost like one of my reading friends because I'm getting good ideas from his lists.

darkorpheus said...

Nymeth - Isn't wonderful to have an American president that reads something decent? The books maketh a man and his policies.

Indigo - Makes you want to go search "Barack Obama" on Facebook, right? :)

Bybee - I approve of his reading list too. And he looks good with that copy of Post-America World in that picture.