A revelatory biography of the first Black woman to stand for Vice President, charting how the daughter of two immigrants in segregated California became one of this country’s most effective power players.
There’s very little that’s conventional about Kamala Harris, and yet her personal story also represents the best of America. She grew up the eldest daughter of a single mother, a no-nonsense cancer researcher who emigrated from India at the age of nineteen in search of a better education. She and her husband, an accomplished economist from Jamaica, split up when Kamala was only five.
The Kamala Harris the public knows today is tough, smart, quick-witted, and demanding. She’s a prosecutor—her one-liners are legendary—but she’s more reticent when it comes to sharing much about herself, even in her memoirs. Fortunately, former Los Angeles Times reporter Dan Morain has been there from the start.
In Kamala’s Way, he charts her career from its beginnings handling child molestation cases and homicides for the Alameda County District Attorney’s office and her relationship as a twenty-nine-year-old with the most powerful man in the state: married Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, a relationship that would prove life-changing. Morain takes readers through Harris’s years in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, explores her audacious embrace of the little-known Barack Obama, and shows the sharp elbows she deployed to make it to the US Senate. He analyzes her failure as a presidential candidate and the behind-the-scenes campaign she waged to land the Vice President spot. Along the way, he paints a vivid picture of her values and priorities, the kind of people she brings into her orbit, the sorts of problems she’s good at solving, and the missteps, risks, and bold moves she’s made on her way to the top.
In Kamala’s Way, we meet an unconventional, bright, and ambitious girl who grows into a young woman on the move. A woman with goals and an intensity about achieving them. She had no problem being mentored by powerful people, including an older man who opened some doors for her.
But she worked hard and had the ability to speak out against the wrongs she witnessed in her daily life. Moving from her role as a prosecutor to attorney general of California and finally to a senate seat in 2016, she was poised to become the change that she wanted to effect in the world and was ready to correct the ills she encountered.
Sometimes her “way” put her on a path of antagonizing some, while at other times, her truly compassionate side shone through. In the end, she stayed focused and finally found her true calling in the 2020 election as the Vice President in Joe Biden’s Presidency.
Sometimes the author skipped around a lot in the telling of this story, but he always caught me up in the end. 4.5 stars.#2021ReadNonFic