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Publisher's Summary

From the author of First in His Class, the definitive biography of Bill Clinton; When Pride Still Mattered, the best-selling biography of Vince Lombardi; and They Marched into Sunlight, the classic saga of the Vietnam era - a stunning new multigenerational biography of Barack Obama.

In a groundbreaking work based on hundreds of interviews, including with President Obama, and a trove of letters, journals, and other documents, one of our preeminent journalists presents a richly textured account of Barack Obama and the forces that shaped him.

This book begins in Kansas and Kenya, decades before Obama was born, and ends as he prepares for a political life. The listener gains a deeper insight into the first black president of the United States, revealing as never before the arc of his history, character, contradictions, and ambition. As with First in His Class, Maraniss's seminal book will redefine a president.

This seamless narrative moves through generations and around the world, evoking time and place so vividly that readers feel they are there. Maraniss explodes the myths as he explores the difficult and colorful lives of the president's forebears and then follows young Barack from Hawaii to Indonesia to Los Angeles to New York to Chicago as he struggles with self-identity and searches for home.

©2012 David Maraniss (P)2012 Simon & Schuster Audio

What members say

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Fair

If you're looking for WONDERFUL things to hear about Barack Obama, this is not necessarily the book to read. Conversely, if you're looking for NASTY things to hear about Barack Obama, this is not necessary the book to read. What you will find is a very fair and extensive biographical account. No one could accuse David Maraniss of taking "sides". He has compiled a thorough story of Obama's life and it is for the reader to sift through his descriptions to come to your own conclusions about why Barack Obama is who he is. Is it nurture or nature.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Scott
  • arligton, OH, United States
  • 10-18-12

EXTREMELY thorough!

He really did his background research. Chock full of details from the Presidents background...before he ran for President. Almost zero political info, but very clear background on the influences on his life.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Pixie
  • NASHVILLE, TN, United States
  • 08-17-12

A Story of an Unusual Life, Remarkably Researched

What made the experience of listening to Barack Obama the most enjoyable?

The intriguing details in this book of Obama's life prior to his entry into politics were a result of amazingly intricate research. Even street addresses of relatively minor characters are given, and many of Obama's far flung friends and family who are still alive were interviewed. These details were woven into a well told story that provided an intimate picture of the young man and insight into his present character. I have just acquired Dreams from my Father and, at this point, cannot decide which book should be read first. It is obvious from gentle comments in Maraniss' book that Obama's account of his life is told from the bias that is inevitable in personal memories of the past. This is true of everyone. I now plan to read other books by Obama himself.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Of course Obama himself was my favorite, but the stories involving his mother totally changed my view of her. Maraniss enables the reader to understand even flawed characters.

Have you listened to any of David Maraniss’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have not, but his performance was excellent. I believe that only he could have pronounced the exotic names of people and places with such fluency

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

My reaction was not extreme other than the enjoyment I had in listening to it

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • x
  • 06-25-12

Also known as "Too Much Information"

Would you try another book from David Maraniss and/or David Maraniss?

Never

What do you think your next listen will be?

Confessions of St. Augustine<br/>

What does David Maraniss bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A lot more that anyone could possibly want to know

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

This whole experiment with socialism is almost over.

Any additional comments?

Also could have been titled or perhaps "Requiem of a Light-Weight" of even "So What, Who Cares".

9 of 43 people found this review helpful