Barack Obama: Book summary and reviews of Barack Obama by David Maraniss

Barack Obama

The Story

By David Maraniss

Barack Obama
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2012,
    672 pages.

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Book Summary

In Barack Obama: The Story by 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Obama's story here is interior and uncharismatic, but it makes for a revealing study in character-formation as destiny. The book ends as Obama prepares to enter Harvard Law." - Publishers Weekly

"General readers, including those who enjoyed David Remnick's The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama, will be gripped by this absorbing, graceful account." - Library Journal

"Starred review. This is a highly textured and intimate look at the family stories behind Obama… A thoroughly fascinating, multigenerational biography that explores broader social and political changes even as it highlights the elements that shaped one man's life." - Booklist

"Another in the author's line of authoritative biographies… Maraniss' portrayal… is masterful and moving." - Kirkus Reviews

"The books of David Maraniss are like majestic rivers rolling to the sea, gathering in all the other confluences as they go, gaining their incredible subsurface force. But here, in a multigenerational portrait of a young man owning the most improbable history, Maraniss has outdone himself. Finally, you can understand the man who became the 44th president." - Paul Hendrickson, author of Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved, and Lost, 1934-1961

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Author Information

David Maraniss Author Biography

Author photograph by Lisa Berg

David Maraniss is an associate editor at The Washington Post and the author of several critically acclaimed and bestselling books, including When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton, They Marched Into Sunlight – War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967, and Clemente – The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero. He is also the author of The Clinton Enigma and coauthor of The Prince of Tennessee: Al Gore Meets His Fate and "Tell Newt to Shut Up!"

David is a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and won the Pulitzer for national reporting in 1993 for his newspaper coverage of then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton. He also was part of The Washington Post team that won a ...

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