Morain gives readers the public Harris on her own terms: a leader who rose to power in the crowded terrain of California politics ... Morain is admiring of Harris and forgives her for the policy compromises that still attract criticism ... Morain relies on insights he gathered in his time covering California politics, bolstered by interviews with Harris’s colleagues through the years, giving the book the feel of an insider’s tale. But without access to the vice president-elect or her family, Morain cannot get to the inner Kamala Harris. Curiously, Kamala’s Way provides little on how racism and sexism shaped Harris’s path. In his effort to explain her character, Morain comes very close to trading in old, pernicious stereotypes about Black women, though perhaps unwittingly so ... this story about how she ran the gantlet of American politics will leave readers admiring Harris for how she has not only survived but thrived.
As Dan Morain makes plain in this detailed and dutiful biography, Ms. Harris is notably less moderate (or, if you’d prefer, more progressive) than Mr. Biden—and so, naturally, a source of strength to voters on the left ... Morain is a writer deferential to Ms. Harris. Word choices are telling ... The virtue of Mr. Morain’s book lies not in elegance, to which it makes no claim, nor in its revelations ... It lies, instead, in a prosaic but sturdy completeness of story. Ms. Harris—as is her prerogative—omitted much detail from her own autobiography. Mr. Morain has filled in many of those blanks[.]
Kamala's Way isn't particularly revelatory, dryly detailing her early days in the Alameda County district attorney's office in California, as well as the political allies and adversaries she encountered during her rise. Although meticulously reported, it occasionally reads like a slapdash Wikipedia page rather than a compelling narrative. But after the circus of the outgoing presidential administration, there is a level of comfort reading an exhaustive account of a lawmaker just putting in the work. It isn't a mere puff piece either, as Morain rightfully holds Harris accountable for her past support of capital punishment and mass incarceration policies.