Brandon's Notepad

May 27, 2014

The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

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The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama
This is a short review of The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, written by David Remnick, narrated by Mark Deakins.

The Bridge is a thorough examination of the early life and career of President Obama. It is a story of a man raised in culturally diverse Hawaii who has a deep desire to help the oppressed, but who must first learn how to identify with those he strives to serve by redefining himself. Metaphorically referring to Obama as a bridge, the image is used in varied and sometimes-subtle ways. For example, as part of the Joshua Generation he connects the old ways of the Moses Generation (the Civil Rights Movement) to the Promised Land (a new future of real freedom in America). As such, he acts like a bridge over the waters of the River Jordan. Also, early in the book, the conflict at the Edmund Pettus Bridge is recounted, the crossing of which is finally upon us with the election of the first United States President who happens to also be black (you’re welcome, Gen. Powell).

While I cannot say that it is an unbiased work, I do believe that the author remained fairly objective and faithful to his sources. [Of course, as with any piece on history, the degree to which it accurately represents the absolute truth in all matters may never be known.] It certainly paints a rosy portrait of Obama, which actually fits my needs well. It built upon what I had already learned about his ancestry and my basic knowledge of his candidacy and tenure, and it will provide a good mental backdrop for when I read the more critical assessments written by his opponents. Also, many details that previously drew my attention only as news bites were adequately connected and explained by the narrative.

As usual, I listened to the audiobook version. The narration by Mark Deakins is excellent. He varies his voice when reading quotes and has a distinct sound when quoting Obama himself, making it very easy to visualize the text and prevent the user from getting lost in a sea of words.

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