Top positive review
Powerful but missing a piece...
February 18, 2016
Booker does a fantastic job of connecting anecdotal moments from his time on city council and as mayor to give life to infuriating realities that Michelle Alexander conveys in her work, The New Jim Crow; furthermore, he connects to themes that promote reforms within the criminal justice system that Bryan Stevenson has dedicated his life’s work to rectify.
There is a refreshing theme of humility throughout this book that was not always evident in Booker’s “larger than life” presence when he was first elected as mayor. Despite “having more degrees than the month of July”, Booker acknowledges a difference between schooling and education since many of his most revered mentors throughout his post-academia journey lacked the prestige tied to so much of the education portion of his resume. Booker’s recognition of the prevalent “poverty of empathy” is powerful, his connections to Gandhi and Martin L. King are uplifting; however, there are moments of hopeless that he conveys without resolve - clearly, he has much work ahead of him.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, I was really disappointed that there was no mention of lessons learned from successes and failures of education reform - specifically the $100 million from Facebook. This was such a highly publicized segment of his mayoral tenure before he took the vacant senate seat. As an educator, it made me think that the political tensions around this topic could not plausibly be "United".
Regardless, I hope Senator Booker continues to write because his prose is passionate. It made me believe that he does have the power to uplift the masses to unite through an "interdependence" that he beautifully conveys through both personal anecdotes and parables.