The young politician whom Barack Obama called "the future of the Democratic party" reflects on lessons learned in the military and public service.
Ask any Democratic strategist for a short list of names to watch, and Kander is sure to come up. A lawyer and former Army captain, he served in Missouri's House of Representatives and then as secretary of state. He ran for U.S. Senate in 2016 and was narrowly defeated, but he vastly outperformed Democrats in a state that went handily for Donald Trump. Since the election, Kander has traveled to nearly every state in America, advocating for voting rights as a part of his nonprofit organization Let America Vote. In many ways, his book is typical of political memoirs. He takes us through his military and political careers, laying out a case for his experience and how it has prepared him to lead. (Though he hasn't officially announced that he's running for another office, the book serves as a clear indication that we haven't seen the last of his name on a ballot.) What keeps the book from feeling canned or hackneyed is precisely what has made the author so successful as a politician: a magic combination of authenticity, principle, and humor. It's clear from the book that Kander has mastered the art of the humble brag; he highlights his accomplishments without apology but never comes across as arrogant. He underscores his progressive values even while calling a red state home. Perhaps most importantly to the reader, he's often laugh-out-loud funny (particularly in his liberal use of footnotes). There's nothing groundbreaking about the book except that it affirms that Kander has what so many politicians spend a lifetime searching for—and he makes it look easy.
Kander seems like the rare politician you might actually want to have a beer with; if you can't, this book is the next best thing.