New books

As a reward for myself for my hours of work over the past few months I bought up on some books I had been eyeing (online) for a while now. Yesterday, the first of them arrived – In His Own Words: Barack Obama – The American Promise. It’s over 500 words of Obama’s speeches from 2007 to September 2008. Primarily I bought this as a resource above anything else. It’s far better to watch those speeches over YouTube or similar websites than read them. However, when it comes to actually looking at the construction of speeches as texts, here’s 500 pages of examples.

Today I got the shipment that contained 3 books that I was really looking forward to getting. The first is Faking It: How to Seem Like a Better Person Without Actually Improving Yourself. It’s a book by a group of people who run the website CollegeHumor.com (I recommend checking it out because there is some seriously funny videos that they have made). It’s a satirical stab at all those self-help and motivation books that clutter bookstores these days. I flicked through a few pages and was laughing out loud at some of the things in there. Extremely funny stuff.

The second book is How Barack Obama Won: A State-by-State Guide to the Historic 2008 Presidential Election. As the title suggests, it’s a state-by-state guide to the exit polls, the real number results, and some commentary on why the state went the way it did. It’s good for three reasons. Firstly, it provides a summary of the election results according to the state-based demographics – so a good political historical resource. Secondly, I’m able to use it to cross-check some of my statements and my prediction made on this blog. Thirdly, come the reelection bid, I’ll have a great resource to ground all my predictions for the results in 2012. I’ll be able to compare these comprehensive results with the 2010 results, and the state of state demographics in 2012.

The third book is one that has received a fair bit of attention recently. Not for anything negative mind you, rather because President Obama has been spotted carrying it around. It’s also been a book that has shaped Obama’s political moves since his election. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln is all about the cabinet that Lincoln assembled out of his political opponents. An example, his Secretary of State was a man that was the heavy favourite to with the Republican primary, only to be beat by this new-comer, upstart of Lincoln. It was a bitter fight too. Sound a little familar? Anyway, I’m keen to delve into this one, as William Seward (Lincoln’s Secretary of State) is my favourite Secretary of State in US political history (due to the things he did through the Civil War – not least, when Britain threatened t o intervene on behalf of the Confederacy, Seward exploded in a series of letters to British politicians and representatives telling them that the North wanted a war with England and would happily engage with them!). I’m also keen to delve in because it’s a great US political history read.

I’m expecting 4 more books, over 3 packages. One should arrive tomorrow. It will contained Obama: The Historical Campaign in Photographs (apparently the best visual resource of the campaign’s progress) and American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. I’ve been looking for a good Jackson, one of my favourite presidents, biography that looks at his political career more than his military one. When this was released, it was called the be all and end all of all Jackson biographies. So I’m eager to start this one too. Photographs is more of a light read/flick through/visual resource to keep at hand for the future. It also brings together all those eventful photos that are spread out all over the Internet into one book.

The 2 remaining books are Obama: The Historic Front Pages – a collection of the world’s newspapers that depict various events through Obama’s campaign (highly interesting and a good historical resource) – and The innauguration of Barack Obama: A Photographic Journal – another visual resource to keep on hand. Those working at Amazon.com could easily be mistaken for thinking a shipment full of US political reads, and books about the new president, would be destined for a US address.

I’ll try and keep my readers informed as to my progress through the books and how well they rate.

Thomas.

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