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This issue’s cover features Ally Kennen and her latest book, Quarry. Ally Kennen is interviewed by Julia Eccleshare. Thanks to Marion Lloyd Books for their help with this January cover.
By clicking here you can view, print or download the fully artworked Digital Edition of BfK 186 January 2011
An illustrated biography of the 44th President of the United States and the first black president to enter the White House. Subtitled ‘President for Change’, it might instead have read ‘The Honeymoon Period’, for this book was written in the aftermath of electoral victory, when hopes ran high and promises to push through healthcare reforms were still new and shiny. The disastrous mid-term Elections had yet to take place. Peter Hicks opens with the inauguration of the new President. We learn it was a January morning, but nowhere does he actually tell us in what year (2008? 2009?) or the actual date of his election. He includes lots of detail on Obama’s early life, with photos of his family and the grandparents who had such an influence on him, and he describes Obama’s experiences in community work and his decision to become a lawyer. Bafflingly a spread describing a typical day in the life of the President crops up in the middle of this sequence of transformation from law school student to Democratic Party candidate. UK readers would have benefited from a clearer explanation of the US electoral system. A glossary defines the terms ‘Senate’ and ‘Congress’, but a simple chart would have been helpful. A timeline of Obama’s life would also have been more useful than the page of questions on what it takes to be a politician or the listed contents of companion volumes on Simon Cowell, the Beckhams, Jamie Oliver and Lance Armstrong. Readers must look elsewhere for more up-to-date information on the current US President.