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

Barack Obama

The Story

by David Maraniss

Barack Obama by David Maraniss X
Barack Obama by David Maraniss
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  • Published Jun 2012
    672 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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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

This information about Barack Obama was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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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 a distinguished visiting professor at Vanderbilt University. He has won two Pulitzer Prizes for journalism and was a finalist three other times. Among his bestselling books are biographies of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Roberto Clemente, and Vince Lombardi, and a trilogy about the 1960s – Rome 1960; Once in a Great City (winner of the RFK Book Prize); and They Marched into Sunlight (winner of the J. Anthony Lucas Prize and Pulitzer Finalist in History). A Good American Family is his twelfth book.

Author Interview
Link to David Maraniss's Website

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