On a bitter cold day in 2007—nearly 150 years after Abraham Lincoln's inauguration—United States Senator Barack Obama of Illinois gathered his supporters at the old state capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Very new to the national political arena, he made an audacious announcement: "If you feel destiny calling, and see as I see, a future of endless possibility stretching before us; if you sense, as I sense, that the time is now to shake off our slumber, and slough off our fear, and make good on the debt we owe past and future generations, then I'm ready to take up the cause . . ." With those words Obama launched one of history's most remarkable presidential campaigns, a forceful intent that revived a moribund political party, cornered its adversaries, gathered increased political momentum with each new day, and ultimately placed a black man in the White House, something nay–sayers proclaimed would never happen.
Emphasizing the revealing experiences of representative Americans from around the country, who tell how the previous eight years of failed policies shaped their personal fate and prompted them to vote for a newcomer blazing the banner of change, Destiny Calling traces a political campaign that fulfilled Lincoln's promise even as it illuminated for the world—anew —America's commitment of hope and freedom. Charles Madigan avoids the "inside politics" tack and the redundancy of most contemporary political coverage. Instead he taps an unheard–from–until–now range of American voters—the most important sources of all, the people who made the decision to send Obama to the White House. Their frustration with the wars, with the response to Hurricane Katrina, with a flat–lining economy, and with the cynicism of politics as usual helped fuel the movement that set a new standard for national campaigns, made the impossible the real, and changed forever how the nation views the process of choosing its leader.
For additional information, see www.destinycallingbo
Charles M. Madigan, who spent many of his forty years in journalism writing about politics for UPI and the Chicago Tribune, is presidential writer in residence at Roosevelt University in Chicago. He recently edited –30–: The Collapse of the Great American Newspaper. He lives in Evanston, Illinois. For more information, see www.destinycallingbook.com.