26 September 2023

Kamala’s Way: An American Life

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Dan Morain, Simon & Schuster, $32.99.

Not many outside the United States of America (US) would have perhaps heard about Kamala Devi Harris before the 2020 US presidential elections. However, she has been making history for a very long time.

Harris is the first Asian-American and African-American to become the US Vice-President — and a woman at that!

The daughter of India-born Shyamala Gopalan and Jamaican-born Donald Harris, Kamala (whose name means lotus flower) was California’s first Black woman to become a district attorney. Then she went on to assume the same position in San Francisco, before finally going on to become the first-ever woman to assume one of the highest-ranking positions in US political history.

The question being asked was how could the daughter of two immigrants born in segregated California rise to become the nation’s first black female vice-president? She did it Kamala’s Way!

The journey that took a woman into the White House for the first time makes for fascinating reading. The narrative about how Kamala became one of America’s most effective power players is engrossing.

Veteran journalist Dan Morain gives a comprehensive account of 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 also examines her failure as a presidential candidate and the behind-the-scenes campaign she waged to land the vice-president spot.

From a family of achievers, interwoven into this captivating chronicle is a vivid picture of Kamala’s values and priorities, along with the risks taken, the slip-ups and the courageous moves made along the way to the top.

The public knows Kamala Harris today as being tough, smart, quick-witted and demanding — a prosecutor — with legendary one-liners.

What she goes on to achieve from here will make for another significantly illuminating story about Madam US Vice-President!

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