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The Breakthrough

Politics and Race in the Age of Obama
Narrated by: Gwen Ifill
Length: 8 hrs and 49 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Politics
4 out of 5 stars (34 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A veteran journalist surveys the American political landscape and illuminates the evolution of the African-American politician - and the future of American democracy.

Gwen Ifill began her journalism career at the Boston Herald in 1977, covering race riots by telephone. It was too risky for a young black reporter to venture onto the grounds of South Boston High School. Thirty years later, a black man announced his candidacy for president of the United States.

Obama is the leading edge of a sea change in American politics, but his is by no means the only story. Ifill offers incisive, detailed profiles of other prominent black leaders, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and U.S. Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama. She also covers up-and-coming figures from across the nation.

Drawing on interviews with such power brokers as Obama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vernon Jordan, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, and many others, as well as her own razor-sharp observations and analysis, Ifill shows why now is a pivotal moment in American history.

©2009 Gwen Ifill (P)2009 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"After 30 years of reporting for newspapers and television, Ifill is programmed to give both sides of the story and avoid expressing an opinion. She lends a sympathetic ear to Obama and Clinton, to the surviving lions and the impatient upstarts, to those who want to erase race from politics and those who think race is indelible. Perhaps that's why, in the end, her book is gently persuasive. Without cheerleading for any individual, it gives us something to cheer about: a breakthrough that is bigger, even, than Obama's." ( The Washington Post)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Interesting

This is a fascinating account of the modern incarnation of African American politics. I enjoyed hearing about the tensions between old and new generation politics, the interviews with African American political families, and Ms Ifill's thorough analysis of it all. Who knew there were so many trailblazers all around the country?

5 of 7 people found this review helpful