Kamala Harris attends her inauguration. Image: Getty

Kamala Harris attends her inauguration. Image: Getty

"This moment embodies our character as a nation, it demonstrates who we are. Even in dark times, we not only dream, we do," Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the United States hours after the inauguration of Joe Biden on Wednesday.

It was a historic moment for America: Harris is the first black and first Asian-American US vice-president.

She's also an author. In 2019, she released The Truths We Hold: An American Journey (released in paperback in the UK in Janaury), a memoir that details her story as a Jamaican-Indian daughter of immigrants to the path to the White House.

Truth is something that has long been part of Harris’s remit: as a lawyer and, later, California’s Attorney General, her career has existed in the pursuit of it. 

“You chose hope and unity, decency, science, and, yes, truth,” she told the cheering crowds in Wilmington, Delaware, in November as news of Joe Biden’s election victory was made official.

While the book opens on the eve of the 2016 election – the moment, she later said, that inspired her to write it, having “really felt a more urgent need to tell people what we’re fighting for” – the book nevertheless spans the 58-year-old’s life so far: the first date with Douglas Emhoff, whom she would go on to marry; her initial failure and subsequent success in sitting the bar exam; the behaviour ingrained in her by her parents to minimise the experience of racial prejudice.

But The Truths We Hold is also a good primer on Harris’s take on policy and US history. Immigration, economy, national security and that other major epidemic in America, the opioid crisis, are all reckoned with through a combination of Harris’s professional experience and personal compassion. “Almost everything I’ve done professionally has been motivated by some experience I’ve been exposed to,” Harris told the New York Times in 2019, which gives some indication of what she will be like as Vice President in the months and years to come.

  • The Truths We Hold

  • Discover Vice President-elect Kamala Harris's New York Times bestselling book about the core truths that unite us and the shared values that will see us into the future.

    Known for bringing a voice to the voiceless, Senator Kamala Harris is committed to speaking the truth. The daughter of immigrants, she was raised in a community that cared deeply about social justice and, from facing prejudice at a young age, Harris never hid her passion for doing what is right.

    Throughout her career, from starting out as a prosecutor right up to her position as California's Attorney General, and now as a US Senator, her hallmarks have been applying a compassionate yet data-driven approach to the thorniest issues.

    Through the arc of her own life, Harris communicates a vision of shared struggle, purpose, and values and grapples with complex issues that affect America and the world at large, from health care and the new economy to immigration, national security, the opioid crisis, and accelerating inequality.

    By reckoning with the big challenges we face together, drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her, Kamala Harris offers a master class in problem solving, crisis management, and leadership.

  • Buy the book

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