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© Chris Tilbury

Mr Nowhere goes to Washington: Why Barack Obama did fulfil his promise

Obama's instinctive patriotism shines through in the first volume of his memoirs

During the Trump years, it is hard to deny that a faint miasma of disappointment has lingered over the reputation of his predecessor. Yes, Barack Obama might personally be one of the most attractive presidents ever—charming, decent, eloquent—but how come he was succeeded by such a stinker? If he hadn’t exactly let Trump in, he hadn’t kept him out either. On the left, figures like Bernie Sanders and “public philosopher” Michael Sandel have argued that Obama’s rhetoric prepared the way for the Donald. I don’t think this is really true, and as the clouds lift a little and the Great Heffalump is dragged by painful degrees out of the White House, I think we can begin to see why it isn’t—especially if we read this first volume of Obama’s presidential memoirs with the attention it deserves.

Dreams from my Father was probably the best book ever written by…

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