Rave Review from the Times for The Persistence of the Color Line, by Randall Kennedy

“Mr. Kennedy, a Harvard Law School professor, sets what we know of Mr. Obama’s presidency thus far in relief against the sorry history of racial politics in the United States. He worries, even in 2011, about “an inflated sense of accomplishment” in regard to racial progress.”

“Among the best things about “The Persistence of the Color Line” is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley.”

 —Dwight Garner, The New York Times Book Review

Unquestionably, Obama has been in the hot seat since before the beginning of his Presidency. Issues as important as how will he tackle the financial crisis, create jobs, lead our country during a time of war and a potential double-dip recession, to more mundane issues such as the questioning of his nationality, his religion, and his oftentimes excessively diplomatic political mien have plagued his time in the spotlight.

As the new electoral year nears, a common threat of disappointment seems to linger among the many that supported Obama back in 2008: what happened to the man who ran his campaign on the basis of change?  What happened to his audacity, the hope, the championing for the middle class?

Here, in The Persistence of the Colorline, Kennedy—eschewing the critical excesses of both the left and the right—offers a gimlet eyed view of Obama’s triumphs and travails, his strengths and weaknesses, as they pertain to the troubled history of race in America.