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Download A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited about Obama and Why He Can’t Win Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited about Obama and Why He Can’t Win, by Shelby Steele Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (109 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Shelby Steele Narrator: Richard Allen Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Full of fresh insights into the cultural politics of race…a tour de force.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Joy Weese Moll | 2/13/2014

    " Read this in a day and will probably read it again before discussing it in a book club next month. I think it will provide lots of fodder for discussion. Steele makes intriguing points that I want to think about further. In the end, the argument seemed simplistic and contrived for drama, so I am unconvinced that it describes race in America today or that it applies to Obama's ability to win. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Marlene | 2/11/2014

    " Interesting perspective. Don't know how much of this is one man's opinion. Basically states that Obama can't win both the white and the black vote because of the manner in which he must appeal to each side - either by being a bargainer or a more confrontive challenger. Gives you something to think about. Short book - read it in an evening. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Erica | 1/29/2014

    " I appreciated the message of this book and its thought provoking nature. I think I should have started with a book written by Obama himself, as I beame frustrated with the degree of assumtion and hypotheses used by the author. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Cathy | 1/26/2014

    " Worthwhile read - I question whether "bargining" and "challening" postures are used just in racial situations or whether they are just as likely in class/econmic disparity. "

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