The groundbreaking multigenerational biography, a richly textured account of President Obama and the forces that shaped him and sustain him, from Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, political commentator, and acclaimed biographer David Maraniss.
In Barack Obama: The Story, David Maraniss has written a deeply reported generational biography teeming with fresh insights and revealing information, a masterly narrative drawn from hundreds of interviews, including with President Obama in the Oval Office, and a trove of letters, journals, diaries, and other documents.
The book unfolds in the small towns of Kansas and the remote villages of western Kenya, following the personal struggles of Obama’s white and black ancestors through the swirl of the twentieth century. It is a roots story on a global scale, a saga of constant movement, frustration and accomplishment, strong women and weak men, hopes lost and deferred, people leaving and being left. Disparate family threads converge in the climactic chapters as Obama reaches adulthood and travels from Honolulu to Los Angeles to New York to Chicago, trying to make sense of his past, establish his own identity, and prepare for his political future.
Barack Obama: The Story chronicles as never before the forces that shaped the first black president of the United States and explains why he thinks and acts as he does. Much like the author’s classic study of Bill Clinton, First in His Class, this promises to become a seminal book that will redefine a president.
Between epic framing and prosaic content, a canny portrait of the 44th president through the age of 27 finally emerges from this sprawling biography. Journalist and bestselling author Maraniss (First In His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton) dwells too grandly on the mythic confluence of Kenya and Kansas in Obama's veins; he's more cogent in analyzing the legacy of his father's keen intellect, his mother's self-possession, social conscience, and anthropologist's neutrality, and Obama's cosmopolitan childhood spent bouncing between Hawaii and Indonesia. Deploying exhaustive research, including countless interviews with friends to correct Obama's distorted memoir of youthful racial alienation, the author depicts a well-adjusted, basketball-crazy kid whose uneventful life involves more reflecting than experiencing. Maraniss pads this less-than-gripping narrative with the meatier back-stories of forebears, many scenes of the college-age Obama brooding over his identity, and pages of relationship angst from a girlfriend's diary. The book doesn't gel until the final chapter on Obama's community organizing work in Chicago, where strands of his personality detachment, aversion to confrontation, consensus-seeking, idealism tempered by an understanding of the realities of power, a "determination to avoid life's traps" coalesce into his mature politics. Obama's story here is interior and un-charismatic, but it makes for a revealing study in character-formation as destiny. The book ends as Obama prepares to enter Harvard Law. Photos.
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Barack Obama the Story
Better than Caro!
A journey of the soul
It is amazing and incredible how Obama traverses intergenerational trauma and transforms this into a personal and collective healing process. Anyone who cannot appreciate this journey may be in danger of losing their soul...that is if they have one to lose. On the bright side this story will help those who may fall in the latter category. This story has what is eloquently phrased in the 23rd psalm when the psalmist sings..."he restoreth my soul."
Great work from a great author
I enjoyed this authors work on Bill Clinton and had high expectations for this book and am pleased to say that they were met. This book - regardless of political ideology - is about the early childhood and adulthood of the Barack Obama and rarely goes into politics; It's purely a personal biography. If you have any interest in the early life of a future president then this is definitely worth reading.