Review: The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris

The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris

The Truths We Hold
Kamala Harris
Penguin Press
January 8, 2019

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Senator Kamala Harris’s commitment to speaking truth is informed by her upbringing. The daughter of immigrants, she was raised in an Oakland, California community that cared deeply about social justice; her parents–an esteemed economist from Jamaica and an admired cancer researcher from India–met as activists in the civil rights movement when they were graduate students at Berkeley.

Growing up, Harris herself never hid her passion for justice, and when she became a prosecutor out of law school, a deputy district attorney, she quickly established herself as one of the most innovative change agents in American law enforcement. She progressed rapidly to become the elected District Attorney for San Francisco, and then the chief law enforcement officer of the state of California as a whole.

Known for bringing a voice to the voiceless, she took on the big banks during the foreclosure crisis, winning a historic settlement for California’s working families. Her hallmarks were applying a holistic, data-driven approach to many of California’s thorniest issues, always eschewing stale “tough on crime” rhetoric as presenting a series of false choices. Neither “tough” nor “soft” but smart on crime became her mantra. Being smart means learning the truths that can make us better as a community, and supporting those truths with all our might.

That has been the pole star that guided Harris to a transformational career as the top law enforcement official in California, and it is guiding her now as a transformational United States Senator, grappling with an array of complex issues that affect her state, our country, and the world, from health care and the new economy to immigration, national security, the opioid crisis, and accelerating inequality.

By reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her, Kamala Harris offers in The Truths We Hold a master class in problem-solving, in crisis management, and leadership in challenging times.

Through the arc of her own life, on into the great work of our day, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values. In a book rich in many home truths, not least is that a relatively small number of people work very hard to convince a great many of us that we have less in common than we actually do, but it falls to us to look past them and get on with the good work of living our common truth. When we do, our shared effort will continue to sustain us and this great nation, now and in the years to come.

My Review

I’ve been curious about TRUTHS WE HOLD for a while, so when my name finally came up in the holds at the library, I was super excited to read it.

A lot of it focuses on her family and early life, events that shaped Kamala Harris’s beliefs and values. She also discusses some of the issues she tackled as a prosecutor and California’s Attorney General.

I found her message inspiring, and her hope for the future really uplifting. She seems really smart and deeply caring, and her passion for the people she serves made reading about what can be big nameless, faceless political issues interesting the way that having a passionate history teacher makes even the grinding parts of history engaging and memorable.

I’m not usually a huge nonfiction reader, but I found myself sneaking in a few pages of TRUTHS WE HOLD between chores and in other odd spare moments. I would recommend reading this book to anyone who’s curious about Kamala Harris’s life and her values.

The Truths We Hold on Amazon

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 15 up.

Kamala is a Democratic Senator from California and currently running for president.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
No profanity.

Romance/Sexual Content
Brief story about how she met her husband.

Spiritual Content
References to her Christian faith.

Violent Content

Drug Content 

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 Responses to Review: The Truths We Hold by Kamala Harris

  1. Colleen Phillips says:

    Interesting that you reviewed nonfiction. Especially because it doesn’t seem to be tagged as YA. I have become more interested in nonfiction of late. Maybe I’ll see if this book is available in the digital library. Thank you for your review!