cover image A Fighting Chance

A Fighting Chance

Elizabeth Warren. Metropolitan, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-1-6277-9052-9

Warren, the freshman senator from Massachusetts turned Democratic rock star, serves up a frank and lively account of how she became the banking and finance industry's fiercest nemesis. Warren's passion is rooted in her personal history. As a young girl in her native Oklahoma, she saw her family's fortunes nose dive after her father's heart attack, losing their car and almost their house and forcing her mother back into the job market at age 50. Warren puts herself through college, marries, grows weary of stay-at-home motherhood, and fatefully decides to enroll in law school, inspired by "television lawyers who were always fighting to defend good people who needed help." She develops an expertise in bankruptcy, becoming one of the country's go-to experts. In these pages, she displays a down-home charm and an effortless rapport with everyday people that makes her story more engaging than the average political tome. Her sketches of the powerful, among them President Barack Obama, the late Ted Kennedy, Timothy Geithner, provide a feel for the ups and downs of inside the Beltway relationships. Yet the pivotal, often vicious campaign battle with former Bay State senator Scott Brown that catapulted her into the U.S. Senate is an almost anti-climactic footnote to her fight to set up her baby, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The book is more memoir than manifesto; Warren emerges as a committed advocate with real world sensibility, who tasted tough economic times at an early age and did not forget its bitterness. (Apr.)