The Oprah Winfrey Show: Reflections on an American Legacy by Deborah Davis comes to bookstores today! Back in August, I gave a preview of the list of contributors, including Maya Angelou, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela and many, many more.

It includes this poem in the foreword by Maya Angelou:

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see my passing,
It ought to make your proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels.
The bend of my hair,
The palms of my hands.
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman.
That's Oprah.

It has a first printing of 350,000 and covers all the ways Oprah's show changed the world, from encouraging reading to transforming the nature of journalism, from giving back to creating new conversations about health, wellness and relationships. It includes 150 photographs--plus a full list of her 283 favorite things and all of her book club picks.

One passage in the introduction captured the crux of the book:

What was the legacy of The Oprah Winfrey Show? Like the dots in a pointillist painting by French master Georges Seurat, the individual episodes combined to make a powerful whole, a colorful canvas full of subjects, people, stories, ideas, and perspectives. Whenever Oprah introduced us to a person we never met, a pain we never felt, a thought we never considered, a possibility we never imagined, or a question we never asked, we evolved, and the world evolved with us. Looking back--and looking forward--the show, and the woman who gave it its name, have had a profound and unprecedented impact on life and the way we live it.

One of the most interesting questions posed by the book is: Who will ask the hard questions now that Oprah is off the air? She got people talking about AIDS, racism and abuse -- topics that hadn't really been discussed frankly and openly on television before.

What do you think? How will the end of The Oprah Winfrey Show affect America?

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