|2020 Election:||Joe Biden's book||Cory Booker's book||Pete Buttigieg's book||Kamala Harris' book||Bernie Sanders' book||Donald Trump's book||2018 Senate Debates|
An American Life
by Dan Morain
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
Written during the fall 2020 campaign, Kamala's Way is a largely cut-and-paste review of Kamala Harris's life prior to being elected Vice-President. While thorough, it was done without the cooperation of Harris, and so it's very much an arm's-length biography. Author Dan Morain has the advantage of being a veteran California reporter and editor (at the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee) who has covered much of Harris's career. This renders the book less a definitive look of her life thus far than a quick reference for both future biolgraphers and opposition researchers.
It covers familiar ground: how she and her sister were raised by her Indian-born mother subsequent to the divorce from her Jamaican-born father, her attendance at historically black Howard University, the start of her professional career as a prosecutor, and her professional and personal relationship with Willie Brown, the first African-American Speaker of the Assembly in the California legislature. We follow her moves from small time prosecutor to San Francisco District Attorney, then statewide election victories for Attorney-General and U.S. Senator.
Morain covers her triumphs and controversies along the way. An outspoken opponent of the death penalty, she took heat for not asking for the death penalty for a cop killer. She was praised for winning a big case that got money for California homeowners and protection against foreclosures, eventually working with the California legislature in creating a Homeowner Bill of Rights. By the time she reached the Senate, she quickly became known for her tough questioning, sometimes rattling witnesses like Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, and turning a rebuke from a Republican committee chairman into a meme: Courage, Not Courtesy. [p. 183]
The book is at its most superficial in covering her presidential campaign, recounting her strong launch and her memorable confrontation with candidate Joe Biden over school integration at one of the debates, but then hurries to its end, clearly wanting to get the biography out as quickly as possible. Indeed, while Morain scrupulously references all the sources he's quoting from, the book lacks an index. At a slim 257 pages, Kamala's Way is a placeholder for the more substantive biographies that will undoubtedly come in the years ahead.
-- Daniel Kimmel, editor, OnTheIssues.org, May 2021
An American Life
by Dan Morain. Error processing SSI file
Page last edited: Apr 26, 2021