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The Truths We Hold: Book Review Print E-mail
Written by Kam Williams   
Monday, 28 January 2019 00:00

We've seen... [the Trump] administration align itself with white supremacists at home and cozy up to dictators abroad; rip babies from their mothers' arms in grotesque violation of their human rights; give corporations and the wealthy huge tax cuts; derail our fight against climate change; sabotage health care and imperil a woman's right to control her own body; all while lashing out at... the very idea of a free and independent press...

Americans know we're better than this... But we're going to have to fight for it... This book grows out of that call to action, and out of my belief that our fight must begin and end with speaking [the] truth... that racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and anti-Semitism are real in this country, and we need to confront those forces.”

Excerpted from the Preface (pages xiv-xv)

Kamala Harris has officially thrown her hat in the ring for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, launching her campaign with a spirited rally in her hometown of Oakland attended by over 20,000 enthusiastic supporters. The first term senator from California's bid is reminiscent of Barack Obama's in that she's racially mixed and has conveniently published a very timely autobiography which also lays out her political platform.

In it, we learn that Kamala Harris' father, Donald, was from Jamaica and taught economics at Stanford, and her mother, Shyamala, a cancer researcher, was born in India. The book is very engaging and reads like she actually wrote it herself, unlike most celebrity bios nowadays.

She reflects fondly on a culturally rich childhood growing up in the Bay Area until the age of 12 when her mother took a job in French-speaking Montreal. In high school, Kamala Harris developed an interest in becoming an attorney, and decided to attend Howard University (where she would join the debate team and pledge AKA sorority) because it was the alma mater of her hero, Thurgood Marshall.

After graduation, she returned to Oakland to study law at UC Hastings before kickstarting her legal career. She enjoyed a meteoric rise from assistant prosecutor to San Francisco District Attorney to California Attorney General to U.S. Senator.

Because she spent so much time representing the state in criminal cases, Kamala Harris positions herself here as a political progressive, ostensibly to convince skeptics of the criticisms she now levels at the justice system as racist. Overall, I'd say this opus serves as a persuasive introduction to a charismatic candidate likely to be in the presidential race for the long haul.

The Truths We Hold
An American Journey
by Kamala Harris
Penguin Press
Hardcover, $30.
336 pages
ISBN: 978-0-525-56071-5
The book is available on barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, .ca or .co.uk


About the author of this review: Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications around the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada, and the Caribbean. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee, and Rotten Tomatoes. He is a contributor to TheLoop21.com, eurweb.com and so on.  He is also a columnist for our webmag www.megadiversities.com.   One of his interviews made the cover of Heart and Soul magazine last fall.  One of Kam Williams' interviews with Spike Lee is included in the 2002 book entitled Spike Lee: Interviews (Conversations with filmmakers).  This book collects the best interviews of Lee.  Some of Kam Williams' articles are translated into Chinese, French and Spanish.  In 2008, he was Voted Most Outstanding Journalist of the Decade by the Disilgold Soul Literary Review.  In addition, he has been honored at the U.N. (for BMORENEWS GLOBAL FORUM ON WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT) on June 15th 2012 by the Foundation for the Support of the United Nations (FSUN). Williams is an erudite Attorney who holds a BA in Black Studies from Cornell University, an MA in English from Brown University, an M.B.A. from The Wharton School, and a J.D. from Boston University. Recently, he was featured on this website: http://www.caribbeanlifenews.com/stories/2015.  Kam Williams is a member of the Bar in NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars. He lives in Princeton, (New Jersey) with his wife.  Kam Williams can be reached at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .