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Books by and about 2020 presidential candidates
Crippled America,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
Fire and Fury,
by Michael Wolff (2018)
Trump Revealed,
by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher (2016)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2016)
Promise Me, Dad ,
by Joe Biden (2017)
The Book of Joe ,
by Jeff Wilser (2019; biography of Joe Biden)
The Truths We Hold,
by Kamala Harris (2019)
Smart on Crime,
by Kamala Harris (2010)
Guide to Political Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2017)
Where We Go From Here,
by Bernie Sanders (2018)
Our Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2016)
This Fight Is Our Fight,
by Elizabeth Warren (2017)
United,
by Cory Booker (2016)
Conscience of a Conservative,
by Jeff Flake (2017)
Two Paths,
by Gov. John Kasich (2017)
Every Other Monday,
by Rep. John Kasich (2010)
Courage is Contagious,
by John Kasich (1998)
Shortest Way Home,
by Pete Buttigieg (2019)
Becoming,
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Higher Loyalty,
by James Comey (2018)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2017)
Higher Loyalty ,
by James Comey (2018)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

This Is What America Looks Like
My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman

by Ilhan Omar



(Click for Amazon book review)

Click here for 16 full quotes from Ilhan Omar in the book What America Looks Like, by Ilhan Omar. Click here for 1 full quotes from Jim McGovern in the book What America Looks Like, by Ilhan Omar. Click here for 1 full quotes from Nancy Pelosi in the book What America Looks Like, by Ilhan Omar.
OR click on an issue category below for a subset.

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

When Ilhan Omar was elected to Congress in 2018, she became the first Somali refugee and one of the first two Muslim women to join the House. One of her first concerns, even before she was elected, was whether she would be able to wear the traditional hijab as Congressional rules banned any headgear on the House floor. With the help of Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern – chair of the Rules Committee – she got it changed so now hijabs, yarmulkes, and other special purpose head coverings are permitted.

It was not the last time she would make her mark. Along with Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, Omar became part of "the Squad," newly elected women of color who would be outspoken for progressive policies. In her autobiography, This is What America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman (written with Rebecca Paley), she tells a compelling story of a woman who from a young age insisted on meeting the world on her own terms.

Arriving in the US at the age of 12 and with an English vocabulary that consisted of "Hello" and "Shut up," she worked hard to succeed in school. One of her hallmarks was a refusal to be bullied, which meant schoolyard fights in middle school, but also standing up to the political establishment and Somali elders when she decided to run for office. The latter group thought it unseemly for a woman to seek office, and held a meeting with her father, declaring it was "beneath" them to meet with Ilhan herself. Her father's reply suggests where her feistiness comes from: "When she wins, I hope you know that I will tell her not to take any meetings with you." (p.193)

The later pages of the book focus more on government policy and politics, such as how she successfully worked with a Republican majority in the Minnesota legislature on education reform, and how she's fought the anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies that flourished during the Trump years. She also addresses the accusation of antisemitism – which she calls a "toxic misperception" (p. 245) – after she criticized the influence of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC by saying "it's all about the Benjamins." She was a quoting a lyric of rapper Puff Daddy not realizing she had raised an old antisemitic trope about Jews and money. Her discussion of the incident and the aftermath includes not only her apology but how she regretted it when she realized how it came across. There was none of the passive aggressive "I'm sorry if people were offended." She owned her remarks, a rare instance of a politician taking responsibility in such a case.

As the book came out partway through her first term, there's not a lot about her Congressional career. What comes across, though, is that in the classic division of members of Congress as publicity-seeking "showhorses" and policy-oriented "workhorses" she's very much the latter.

-- Daniel M. Kimmel, editor, OnTheIssues.org, May 2021

 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
Civil Rights
    Gay marriage bans threaten freedom and civil liberties.
Crime
    Lurking and spitting ordinances allowed police harassment.
Education
    My family always deeply prized education.
    Help parents get an education with support for childcare.
Foreign Policy
    Toxic misperception that as a Muslim she hates Jews & Israel.
    Supports two state solution for Israel & Palestine.
Government Reform
    The first, most important step is to get people to vote.
    2012: Campaigned against state voter ID law.
Homeland Security
    9-11 caused Americans to see Muslims seen as dangerous.
Immigration
    Presidential approval carries weight in attacking immigrants.
Principles & Values
    Advance images of America didn't include NYC garbage.
    Helped found "Unity in Diversity" group in high school.
    A healthy religious practice is for you and you alone.
    A badge of honor having so many invested in one's failure.
    Constantly being underestimated has been helpful to me.
    Helped Ilhan Omar amend House rules on religious headgear.
    Margaret Thatcher is my greatest hero, but not her politics.
    We have to all work for the America we want and deserve.


The above quotations are from This Is What America Looks Like
My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman

by Ilhan Omar.

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Page last edited: Oct 09, 2021