reviewed by Marc Schulman
The Audacity of Help by John Wasik This new book by John Wasik demonstrates both the power and danger of of an instant book. By coincidence last week as I was reading the book my ten-year-old son asked me if there were any new books out on President Obama since he has become President. I was able to show him this book, the unspoken- yes books can be relevant, and everything is not on the web. The books subtitle is Obama’ s Economic Plan and the Remaking of American Who wins, who loses in health care, education and energy.
Wasik presents a largely sympathetic view of the action of the Obama administration and its plans for the future. He presents a succinct history of the economic crisis, laying bare the various stages that brought about the crisis. He then goes through point-by-point the initial actions of the Obama administration as reflected by the stimulus package and the budget that was approved. The author does a good job of presenting the campaign promises of Obama, them comparing them with the bills that have emerged from Congress. By doing so he presents the most in-depth presentation I have read on the details of the stimulus package and the subsequent budget bill.
The book suffers from two shortcomings, first people are missing from the book- although President Obama’s picture appears on the cover, reading the book provides no incite into the roll the President played in the events that unfolded over the past six months. When one finishes the book the reader will have a better understanding of what was passed and what was not, but now why. The second shortcoming is the medium. The book will clearly have a short shelf life. Events are quickly outpacing some of what has been written in the book. Our 100% wired always on world is having a hard time finding the right balance. On one hand I or another reader would be unlikely to spend the time reading through the details of this book on the web, we are too easily distracted on the web to do it (even if you are like me and have no problem reading on the web) on the other hand this book just cries out for an instant update- were do we stand now on health care reform- where are the constantly changing deficit numbers today.
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