REVIEWED: Elizabeth Warren: Her fight, Her Work, Her Life

Warren

Elizabeth Warren: Her Fight, Her Work, Her Life by Antonia Felix (Biography, 2018).

It may seem a bit early for a full biography of Senator Warren, given that she is–in terms of her political career–still in the early prime of life. Much more may be forthcoming from her, but she is one of the leading figures in the so-called progressive wing of the Democratic Party. And in the meanwhile, Antonia Felix (a best-selling specialist in bio books) has done an admirable job of recounting the Senator’s life and times.

Ms. Warren’s early life, growing up in a lower-middle class family in Oklahoma makes for very interesting reading. Her gradual awakening to the pitfalls of modern economics, especially the realities of bankruptcy law in theory and practice is a compelling story. Doing extensive research not only changed her viewpoint about what sorts of people fall into bankruptcy, it resulted in a string of books that overturned a number of popular and theoretical misconceptions held even by professionals in the field.

Her experiences in leaving the “ivory tower” of academia to attempt to police the financial industry in the wake of the economic meltdown of several years ago not only brought her formally into the political sphere. It also deepened her understanding of and determination to reform the systems of government and finance. So much so that when the chance to run for the US Senate appeared before her, she went for it and won what at first had seemed a most unlikely victory against a fairly popular opponent.

Felix’s take on Warren is very positive, but she doesn’t gloss over the controversies and a couple missteps that the still-learning politician has been part of. She evenhandedly explains the tempest surrounding Warren’s sometimes mocked belief in the family tradition of a very limited Native American heritage, for instance. Also noted is how Warren came into some conflict with the Occupy Wall Street movements, who shared some but not all her beliefs.

This book, the first full-length biography of a rising star in national politics, is surely a preliminary effort. We’ll have to see what comes next for Elizabeth Warren, with later accounts almost certain to fully flesh out her life. But for now, it’s a capable and very readable effort about an important figure in our national life.

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