BOOK REVIEW: OBAMA TALKS BACK

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Obama Talks Back: Global Lessons – a Dialogue with America’s Young Leaders, by Gregory J. Reed, Esq., (Amber Books, Phoenix, Arizona, 2012, 294 pages).

Update: Obama Talks Back has received an NAACP Image Award nomination for literature. The winner will be announced live on TV from Hollywood February 1, 2013.

Book Review by Dennis Moore

December 17, 2012 (San Diego)--Gregory J. Reed, Esq., CEO and Founder of Keeper of the Word Foundation, has written a poignant and heartfelt book that resonates with me for a number of reasons: Obama Talks Back: Global Lessons – A Dialogue with America’s Young Leaders.

This historic collection of students’ letters accompanied with President Obama’s responses, speeches, public statements, and quotations during his campaign and his presidency is the most comprehensive collection of letters and responses ever assembled as a book for a sitting U.S. president.  The several thousand letters received by the Keeper of the Word Foundation form an exclusive dialogue between our nation’s youth and a President of the United States of America. These letters are priceless, timeless, and powerful.

 I have a kindred spirit with President Obama, as his home away from the White House  is right down the street from the Church in Chicago that I and two of my children were baptized at, the Apostolic Church of God.  President Obama gave that riveting and heartfelt Father’s Day speech at the church, where he had been a longtime friend of the pastor and the neighborhood; his speech has been viewed on YouTube video by millions around the world.

Mr. Reed is the award winning author of sixteen books. He is also a Wayne State University and Michigan State University alumni and has been an active practitioner in the legal profession for twenty plus years. His clients are preeminent in their fields; his professional and civic contributions carry national and international significance. 

The foreword and epilogue of Obama Talks Back are written by William Alexander Haley, PhD. Mr. Haley is the son of the late Alex Haley, Pulitzer Prize author for “Roots” and “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” He is the CEO of the Alex Haley Foundation.

Typical of the letter exchange between students and President Obama, is that of a David, a student at the Swift School in Chicago, who writes,

Dear President Obama,

        Some changes in America that I would like to see would be gun violence, gangs, and Global Warming. One of the first changes in America that I would like to see is eliminating gun violence because many people die in the U.S. everyday from guns.

       Secondly, global warming is affecting our climate, which brings the topic of pollution. Big companies dump waste into our lakes, which is our drinking water source for the city. Biohazards are effecting both humans and aquatic animals in the lakes. And I don’t want to get sick or worse die. To make this world a better place you should start new programs, which include a law that requires the use of a battery-backup car, hydrogen based cars, or filtered exhaust cars. This will both reduce the gasoline we use for our car and will reduce greenhouse gases produced by cars. I want my future to be happy and I don’t want to have colder winters and hotter summers every year.

       I want you to think these ideas over, and I know that they are best for us the children. Gangs and guns hurt people like me, and pollution will kill us all in the end if it isn’t slowed down. I will try to help my future all I can, and I hope you do all you can to save the earth . President Obama responded to David’s letter by stating;

Dear David,

         Your letter raises two separate concerns; violence in our nation and our environmental problems, but both are connected to one subject, and that is the economy. Yes, we need more cops on the streets. Yes, we need fewer guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Yes, we need more outstanding teachers in the classroom. Yes, we need more opportunities to reduce crime so that many of our young people will not resort to crime and violence. Those opportunities come from a stabilized economy. This new economy must consider the new possibilities of a greener economy that reduces our pollution levels.

        We can’t simply turn to the strategies of the past.

        We are living through an age of fundamental economic transformation. We may not find a cure-all plan, but yes we can, and yes we will address the gun violence and threat of global warming.

       Barack Obama

The fact that this man, this President, would take time out of his busy schedule to respond to David and so many other young students who had written to him says a lot about his concern and commitment to the future of young people.

Chapters in Obama Talks Back: Global Lessons – A Dialogue with America’s Young Leaders include “Message to Young People”, “The Letters: What I Want for You and Every Child”, “Obama Talks Back On: Education/Digital Currency, Courage and Hope, War-Crime-Non-Violence & Justice, The Economy, Social Concern-Activism-Family-Parenting”, “Obama Talks to American Students”, “Spiritual Journal to the White House,” “President Obama’s Most Notable Speeches”.

In some of President Barack Obama’s remarks, he talks of global lessons and universal lessons of change taught to him by his mother and discoveries from prior leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Franklin Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela. He speaks as to how these lessons can transform the lives of our youth by adopting the values of perseverance, confidence, purpose, sacrifice, patience, unity, integrity, courage, dignity, selflessness, and commitment.

This is a profound book that provides a rare glimpse into the private letters sent to the President and his accompanying remarks to young people, a book that I highly recommend that every home, organization, library, university, bookstore and college have for the many upcoming generations of young readers to read. It is an eye opener and an essential piece of reading for both America’s families and America’s leaders.

Dennis Moore is a writer and book reviewer with the East County Magazine in San Diego and the book review editor for SDWriteway, an online newsletter for writers in San Diego. He is the author of a book about Chicago politics; “The City That Works: Power, Politics and Corruption in Chicago.” Mr. Moore can be contacted at contractsagency@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter at: @DennisMoore8.

Comments

"Trayvon Martin" - Zimmerman Verdict: No Happy Ending

One of the young people that had written a letter to President Obama, stated in the book: "One of the first changes in America that I would like to see is eliminating gun violence in the U.S. everyday from guns." Ironically, today in the U.T. San Diego, Ruben Navarrette, Jr., a Carlsbad resident who writes a syndicated column for The Washington Post Writers Group, wrote a column titled: "Zimmerman Verdict: No Happy Ending." Navarrette seemed critical of President Obama, when he stated in his column: "Just a few weeks after the shooting, President Obama made the provocative comment: 'If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon Martin,' The president seemed to be taking sides, improperly injecting himself into a local investigation before anyone had been charged with a crime." Navarrette also seemed to take issue with the prospect of the Justice Department filing charges against Zimmerman, as he stated: "Now that Zimmerman has been acquitted in state court, federal prosecutors are looking into the shooting to determine whether they should file criminal civil rights charges. Filing charges would be a mistake." Surprisingly, Navarrette even seemed to take issue with The Rev. Al Sharpton, The Rev. Jesse Jackson and Tavis Smiley, branding them as "the usual grievance merchants." I have always respected Ruben Navarratte, and have never read an article by him quite like that. It made me wonder as to what his agenda might be.

"44th ANNUAL NAACP IMAGE AWARDS"

The NAACP announced this week that comedian, author, radio and talk show host, Steve Harvey will host and Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah, Wanda Sykes and Tony Goldwyn will be part of an all-star line-up to present at the 44th NAACP IMAGE AWARDS. In addition, Dennis Haysbert will be the in-show announcer during the LIVE broadcast from Los Angeles' historic Shrine Auditorium on Friday, Feb. 1, 8-10 p.m. ET (PT tape-delayed) on NBC. Gregory J. Reed's Obama Talks Back has been nominated to receive an Image Award in literature at this event.

 

"I'm honored to be hosting the 44th NAACP Image Awards, and celebrate the variety of film, TV, literary, music contributions, and special honorees this yeear. We're live on stage, got great things in store for the night!" commented Mr. Harvey. The NAACP Image Awards is the premier multicultural awards show. It celebrates the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors. The NAACP Image Awards are being produced by Reginald Hudlin and Brad Lachman. Bill Bracken will serve as Supervising Producer and Byron Phillips as Producer. The production team also includes Tony McCuin as Director and Melanie Massie as the Talent Executive.

 

Nominees for the NAACP Image Awards are determined by the number of entries received by the deadline. Event sponsors include: FedEx, UAW/Chrysler, AT&T, Hyundai Motors, Wells Fargo, General Motors, Walmart, Bank of America, Walgreens, Gilead Sciences, AARP, Ford Motor, Anheuser Busch and Pepsico. 

"Obama Talks Back" wins NAACP Image Award in Literary Work

Congratulations goes out to Gregory Reed for winning an NAACP Image Award last night in Los Angeles for his book; Obama Talks Back: Global Lessons - A Dialogue With America's Young Leaders. Congratulations should also go out to the Publisher and CEO of Amber Communications, Tony Rosa, for this tremendous and inspiring book that I had the please to review for East County Magazine.

Newtown, Connecticut

Ironically, after the referenced David of the Swift School had written President Obama about gun violence, the President attended a service in Newtown, Connecticut after the deaths of 20 young children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and stated: "I can only hope it helps for you to know that you're not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we've pulled our children tight," President Obama said. "And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide; whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it." President Obama further noted that he has attended  similar services in three other cities, stating; "Since I've been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting. The fourth time we've hugged survivors. The fourth time we've consoled the families of victims," he said. "And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across  America - victims whose - much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

President Trump accuses former President Obama of wiretapping

I am absolutely stunned that in the midst of the recent Russian allegations of hacking, and Attorney General Sessions meeting with the Russian Ambassador, that President Trump would accuse former President Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower without any evidence. Is this really an attempt to deflect the bigger issue of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Putin and the Russian Government?

"Obama unveils gun control plan!"

President Barack Obama's broad effort to reduce gun violence will include proposed bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as more than a dozen executive orders aimed at circumventing congressional opposition to stricter gun control.