Obama as Writer: He's the 'Real Deal'

Literary critic sees an eye for the universal, shades of Lincoln
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2008 2:37 PM CDT
The cover of the book "Dreams From My Father" by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
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(Newser) – If it's true that the style is the man, then it makes sense, literary critic Andrew Delbanco writes in the New Republic, to take the measure of Barack Obama from his memoirs. Taking a tour of Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope, Delbanco finds a bit of overwriting, a propensity for cinematic flourishes, a sensitivity to the complexities of character, and an ability to use local details to "open out into universal experience."

Delbanco applauds Obama for having “consciously emulated” Abraham Lincoln as "a man of self-doubt yet with an unswerving sense of mission." Some consider it hubristic, but, he concludes, "to me, it feels like heartfelt homage from someone with a keen sense of the complexities and commonalities of human experience. On the hopeful premise that style really does tell us something about the man, this man—to my ear, at least-—is the real deal."