Excerpt of Airlift to America by Tom Shachtman
(Page 6 of 6)
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Obama lost the 2008 Massachusetts primary to Clinton but won
many other primaries in the late winter and early spring, and amassed
significant numbers of delegates even in states where he came in second.
His delegate total continued to rise until June 4, 2008, when it
became obvious even to die-hard Clinton supporters that Barack
Obama would win the Democratic nomination.
In a speech announcing the delegate total that put him over the
top, he called his victory a defining moment for our nation, the nominating of an African- American as the presidential candidate of a major political party. [T]onight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another a journey that will bring a new and better day to America.
Five months later, in the general election, Obama was elected as
the nations forty-fourth president. His new prominence as a result
of his victory emphasized that much more needed to be known about
the East African airlifts, which had started his ball rolling.
Like the story of Obamas rise, the airlifts were an expression of a quintessentially American trait, an aspect of what America had so
consistently offered to the peoples of the rest of the world: an open,
helping hand, and the experience and understanding of what it
means to be free, to be educated, and to conceive personal dreams
that have a substantial chance of being realized.
This book tells that story, recounting the creation, execution,
and achievements of those airlifts, including their important effects
on the presidential elections of 1960 and 2008, as well as on the integration
of American campuses, on the way that foreign students
were recruited for the United States and treated once here, and on
the health and survival of the independent nations of East Africa in
their most formative years.
Excerpted from Airlift to America
by Tom Shachtman. Copyright © 2009 by Tom Shachtman.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights
reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.