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Not Even Past:
Barack Obama and the Burden of Race
Thomas J. Sugrue

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"Sugrue examines Obama's race speech during the presidential campaign that reflected the impulses of 'a more perfect union' and explores major themes of racial divisions, including the moral equivalence of black anger and white backlash."--Vernon Ford, Booklist

"Thomas Sugrue's fine book offers a cogent and powerful explanation for [the] mismatch between expectations and reality. He situates Barack Obama's personal racial and political odyssey in a richly textured history of race, class, and politics in the late twentieth century, and in Sugrue's deft and elegant prose, Obama's political biography becomes a lens through which American politics and race relations come into clearer view. . . . [T]he persistence of racial inequality in an apparently "post-racial" world--that is perhaps the most profound challenge facing American politics and society, and Sugrue's book is an essential guide to those who seek to answer that challenge."--Robert C. Lieberman, Political Science Quarterly


"In Not Even Past, one of America's most prominent historians of race and rights turns a shrewd and honest eye to the contemporary scene. It should be essential reading for anyone trying to understand the changes in racial experience and argument in America since the 1960s, and Barack Obama's place in them."--Daniel T. Rodgers, author of Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age

"In this brilliant work of contemporary history, Thomas Sugrue vividly reconstructs the America in which Barack Obama came of age, and expertly probes the varied political and intellectual influences that have shaped our president's thinking about race and civil rights. No one has written about the complexities of racial politics or Obama's racial compromises with more skill, insight, or erudition. A powerful and sobering book."--Gary Gerstle, author of American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century

"Thomas Sugrue's elegant book offers a compelling look at the state of American race relations at the moment of Obama's ascendancy. Embedding this political moment in the context of the complex portrait of civil rights developed in his previous work, Sugrue enables us to see both the power and also the limits of charismatic leadership in driving social change."--Mary L. Dudziak, author of Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy

"Not Even Past is a thoughtful reflection on Barack Obama's rise to the presidency and what it tells us--and doesn't tell us--about the meaning and significance of race in the twenty-first-century United States. Admirably concise and elegantly written, this book lays bare the mystique of the 'postracial' presidency without resorting to the kinds of unanchored generalizations and truisms that too often attend conversations about race."--Alice O'Connor, University of California, Santa Barbara

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File created: 4/21/2017

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