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A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited about Obama and Why He Can't Win

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A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited about Obama and Why He Can't Win Cover

ISBN13: 9781416559177
ISBN10: 1416559175
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"Steele accuses Obama of presenting himself as a protester to blacks and a unifier to whites. But when he holds that Obama cannot serve the aspirations of one race without betraying those of the other, it is Steele...who seems out of date and most threatened by Obama's candidacy." Darryl Pinckney, The New York Review of Books (read the entire New York Review of Books review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Shelby Steele's beautifully wrought and thought-provoking new book, A Bound Man, the award-winning and bestselling author of The Content of Our Character attests that Senator Barack Obama's groundbreaking quest for the highest office in the land is fast becoming a galvanizing occasion beyond mere presidential politics, one that is forcing a national dialogue on the current state of race relations in America. Says Steele, poverty and inequality usually are the focus of such dialogues, but Obama's bid for so high an office pushes the conversation to a more abstract level where race is a politics of guilt and innocence generated by our painful racial history — a kind of morality play between (and within) the races in which innocence is power and guilt is impotence.

Steele writes of how Obama is caught between the two classic postures that blacks have always used to make their way in the white American mainstream: bargaining and challenging. Bargainers strike a "bargain" with white America in which they say, I will not rub America's ugly history of racism in your face if you will not hold my race against me. Challengers do the opposite of bargainers. They charge whites with inherent racism and then demand that they prove themselves innocent by supporting black-friendly policies like affirmative action and diversity.

Steele maintains that Senator Obama is too constrained by these elaborate politics to find his own true political voice. Obama has the temperament, intelligence, and background — an interracial family, a sterling education — to guide America beyond the exhausted racial politics that now prevail. And yet he is a Promethean figure, a bound man.

Says Steele, Americans are constrained by a racial correctness so totalitarian that we are afraid even to privately ask ourselves what we think about racial matters. Like Obama, most of us find it easier to program ourselves for correctness rather than risk knowing and expressing what we truly feel. Obama emerges as a kind of Everyman in whom we can see our own struggle to accept and honor what we honestly feel about race. In A Bound Man, Steele makes clear the precise constellation of forces that bind Senator Obama, and proposes a way for him to break these bonds and find his own voice.The courage to trust in one's own careful judgment is the new racial progress, the "way out" from the forces that now bind us all.

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling and controversial author Steele comes the illuminating examination of the complex racial issues surrounding presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Synopsis:

In Shelby Steele's beautifully wrought and thoughtprovoking new book, A Bound Man, the award-winning and bestselling author of The Content of Our Character attests that Senator Barack Obama's groundbreaking quest for the highest office in the land is fast becoming a galvanizing occasion beyond mere presidential politics, one that is forcing a national dialogue on the current state of race relations in America. Says Steele, poverty and inequality usually are the focus of such dialogues, but Obama's bid for so high an office pushes the conversation to a more abstract level where race is a politics of guilt and innocence generated by our painful racial history — a kind of morality play between (and within) the races in which innocence is power and guilt is impotence.

Steele writes of how Obama is caught between the two classic postures that blacks have always used to make their way in the white American mainstream: bargaining and challenging. Bargainers strike a "bargain" with white America in which they say, I will not rub America's ugly history of racism in your face if you will not hold my race against me. Challengers do the opposite of bargainers. They charge whites with inherent racism and then demand that they prove themselves innocent by supporting black-friendly policies like affirmative action and diversity.

Steele maintains that Senator Obama is too constrained by these elaborate politics to find his own true political voice. Obama has the temperament, intelligence, and background — an interracial family, a sterling education — to guide America beyond the exhausted racial politics that now prevail. And yet he is a Promethean figure, a bound man.

Says Steele, Americans are constrained by a racial correctness so totalitarian that we are afraid even to privately ask ourselves what we think about racial matters. Like Obama, most of us find it easier to program ourselves for correctness rather than risk knowing and expressing what we truly feel. Obama emerges as a kind of Everyman in whom we can see our own struggle to accept and honor what we honestly feel about race. In A Bound Man, Steele makes clear the precise constellation of forces that bind Senator Obama, and proposes a way for him to break these bonds and find his own voice.The courage to trust in one's own careful judgment is the new racial progress, the "way out" from the forces that now bind us all.

About the Author

Shelby Steele is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America, which won the National Book Critics' Circle Award. Steele's most recent book is White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Rights Era. He is a contributing editor at Harper's Magazine, and his work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, Newsweek, and The Washington Post. For his work on the PBS television documentary Seven Days in Bensonhurst, he was recognized with both an Emmy Award and a Writers Guild Award. In 2004, President George W. Bush, citing Steele's "learned examinations of race relations and cultural issues, "honored him with the National Humanities Medal. He lives in California.

Table of Contents

Part I: The Man

Chapter One. The High Possibility

Chapter Two. Plausibility

Chapter Three. Search for the Father

Chapter Four. Becoming an Authentic Black

Chapter Five. Belonging

Chapter Six. Two Women

Part II: The Society

Chapter Seven. Masking

Chapter Eight. Bargaining and Challenging

Chapter Nine. The Iconic Negro

Chapter Ten. Born to Bargain

Chapter Eleven. Bind I: The Discipline

Chapter Twelve. Bind II: Is He Black Enough?

Chapter Thirteen. "The Visible Man"

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

penderlu, November 16, 2008 (view all comments by penderlu)
Any chance Mr. Steele could change the subtitle in this book?
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
Edward, February 25, 2008 (view all comments by Edward)
Amidst all that has been said about Mr. Obama on the Internet-- this is a must read!
Be informed and read the review online and be informed.
I hope Obama can prove Mr. Steele wrong and win the US Presidency 2008!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(11 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781416559177
Subtitle:
Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win
Author:
Steele, Shelby
Publisher:
Free Press
Subject:
People of Color
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - General
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
Public opinion
Subject:
Political
Subject:
cultural heritage
Subject:
United States Politics and government.
Subject:
Obama, Barack
Subject:
Biography-Political
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20071204
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
160
Dimensions:
7.5 x 5 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Political
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Politics » General

A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited about Obama and Why He Can't Win Used Hardcover
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$4.95 In Stock
Product details 160 pages Free Press - English 9781416559177 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Steele accuses Obama of presenting himself as a protester to blacks and a unifier to whites. But when he holds that Obama cannot serve the aspirations of one race without betraying those of the other, it is Steele...who seems out of date and most threatened by Obama's candidacy." (read the entire New York Review of Books review)
"Synopsis" by , From New York Times bestselling and controversial author Steele comes the illuminating examination of the complex racial issues surrounding presidential candidate Barack Obama.
"Synopsis" by , In Shelby Steele's beautifully wrought and thoughtprovoking new book, A Bound Man, the award-winning and bestselling author of The Content of Our Character attests that Senator Barack Obama's groundbreaking quest for the highest office in the land is fast becoming a galvanizing occasion beyond mere presidential politics, one that is forcing a national dialogue on the current state of race relations in America. Says Steele, poverty and inequality usually are the focus of such dialogues, but Obama's bid for so high an office pushes the conversation to a more abstract level where race is a politics of guilt and innocence generated by our painful racial history — a kind of morality play between (and within) the races in which innocence is power and guilt is impotence.

Steele writes of how Obama is caught between the two classic postures that blacks have always used to make their way in the white American mainstream: bargaining and challenging. Bargainers strike a "bargain" with white America in which they say, I will not rub America's ugly history of racism in your face if you will not hold my race against me. Challengers do the opposite of bargainers. They charge whites with inherent racism and then demand that they prove themselves innocent by supporting black-friendly policies like affirmative action and diversity.

Steele maintains that Senator Obama is too constrained by these elaborate politics to find his own true political voice. Obama has the temperament, intelligence, and background — an interracial family, a sterling education — to guide America beyond the exhausted racial politics that now prevail. And yet he is a Promethean figure, a bound man.

Says Steele, Americans are constrained by a racial correctness so totalitarian that we are afraid even to privately ask ourselves what we think about racial matters. Like Obama, most of us find it easier to program ourselves for correctness rather than risk knowing and expressing what we truly feel. Obama emerges as a kind of Everyman in whom we can see our own struggle to accept and honor what we honestly feel about race. In A Bound Man, Steele makes clear the precise constellation of forces that bind Senator Obama, and proposes a way for him to break these bonds and find his own voice.The courage to trust in one's own careful judgment is the new racial progress, the "way out" from the forces that now bind us all.

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