SOCIAL SCIENCES

Audacity: How Barack Obama Defied His Critics and Created a Legacy That Will Prevail

HarperCollins. Jan. 2017. 272p. index. ISBN 9780062426970. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062426994. POL SCI
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New York magazine writer Chait (The Big Con) is clear about his agenda for this book. Rather than a history of Barack Obama's presidency (2009–17) or another biography, this book presents an argument: while Obama had setbacks and made mistakes, he was successful in long-term American policy that he intended to enact when he took office. Chait's evidence comes from information available to the public. From these sources, the author shares Obama's successes in preventing further economic depression during the 2009 crisis. He also implemented the Clean Power Plan and got China on board with more environmentally friendly policies through negotiation. Last but not least, Obama got the Affordable Care Act passed. Chait not only focuses on the positive, he also acknowledges the president's blunders, such as his failure to enforce his "red line" in Syria.
VERDICT Overall, this strong account is accessible to general readers. [See Prepub Alert, 5/16/16.]

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