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Publisher's Summary

Barack Obama's keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention instantly catapulted the little-known state senator from Illinois into the national spotlight. Three months later Obama would win election to the US Senate; four years later he would make history as America's first black president. Now, at the end of his second presidential term, David J. Garrow delivers the most compelling and comprehensive biography ever written of Obama in the years preceding his presidency.

Moving around the globe, from Hawaii to Indonesia to the American Northeast and Midwest, Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama meticulously unpacks Obama's life, from his tumultuous upbringing in Honolulu and Jakarta to his formative time as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side, working in some of the roughest neighborhoods, to Cambridge, where he excelled at Harvard Law School, and finally back to Chicago, where he pursued his political destiny. In voluminous detail, drawn from more than 1,000 interviews and encyclopedic documentary research, Garrow reveals as never before the ambition, the dreams, and the all-too-human struggles of an iconic president in a sure to be news-making biography that will stand as the most authoritative account of Obama's pre-presidential life for decades to come.

©2017 David J. Garrow (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Refreshingly Objective Biography

What made the experience of listening to Rising Star the most enjoyable?

I was interested in a scholarly and objective treatment of Barak Obama and this book delivers in spades. It is probably the longest book I have ever listened to or read, and it would have been fine with somewhat less detail, but I knew the length before I began listening. Had I stopped reading prior to the epilogue, I would not have rated it so highly, but the last 90 minutes really pulled everything together. The author clearly demonstrates not only how, but why the Obama presidency was such a disappointment----more so to those closest to him than to his foes. If anyone purchases this audiobook and, due to its length, is tempted to stop listening, I strongly encourage him/her to invest an additional 90 minutes and listen to the epilogue.<br/>The narrator did an admirable job and gets a solid five star for no glaring mispronunciations, despite the plethora of obscure surnames.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Best Read I have ever had.


I enjoyed reading the book. It was so long that I went back to read the beginning again. I think the writer was the best I have read. He seemed to have done very good research. The reader was excellent. The part I liked most was the relationship President Obama had with his students. C.S. Brown, Seattle

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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The chronicled detailed events keeps you engaged. Very interesting

Beautifully written. A lot of surprises- I thought I knew all there was to know!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Well-Researched Narrative on the Life of Obama

Where does Rising Star rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the most well-written and researched books I've listen to thus far far.

What did you like best about this story?

I appreciated how well the authored researched the subject and the objectivity of analysis. The author doesn't take over with editorializing the decisions of his life. Respecting the intelligence of the audience to develop their own conclusions. As a fan of the former president, I feel like the book validates my perception of the man at the same time acknowledging his imperfections. You don't accomplish what Obama has in his life without being extremely exceptional and I appreciated how well the author captured that for the reader. I would rate this book as high as Caro's books on LBJ in terms of the depth of research. However, Caro's writing style is flawless and this book, although close, is not as beautifully written as Caro writes. High praise for this exceptional book and I enjoyed every minute.

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

Unfortunately never before but this is an author I will begin to follow.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The Audacity to Follow an Improbable Dream.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Rising Star The making of Barack Obama

Would you consider the audio edition of Rising Star to be better than the print version?

Yes I would it is great

What other book might you compare Rising Star to and why?

May be the book roots because both people are black.

Which character – as performed by Charles Constant – was your favorite?

This one because it is the only one that I have listen to.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It took me 1 mouth to listen to.

Any additional comments?

It is just great book to listen to because he is a great man and he comes from a great family

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The Encyclopedia of Barack Obama

As you may have assumed from the page count, there is a lot of information here. It sometimes reads more like an encyclopedia than a narrative. “Here is an event that happened, here are the 6 people that were involved, here is what each of them ate, here is what each of them commented on that event, etc.”
I give the author credit for the exhaustive research. Typically, the author only chimes in in his own voice with a subtle jab at Obama over a misstatement or something. The number of different accounts of Obama seem to (by law of averages) create an even handed representation of Barack. Only the last chapter (his presidency) gets a unanimously critical account.
This is the first Obama bio I have read. I assume there are better narratives and unique perspectives out there but it would be hard to beat the amount of information contained in this book. Overall I recommend it.

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Very factual

I enjoyed the book in terms of the life of Barack Obama, meticulously researched very interesting. It did not seem opinion based until we got to the epilogue, put a taint on the entire book for me

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  • dr
  • 05-09-17

Too much

I'll update this review, but this is way too long. I was so interested in finally seeing a well-written biography on Obama. I'm 45 min in and still lost on some opener about steel mills in Chicago....no interesting story on Obama. This 56 hour book needs an editor.

14 of 29 people found this review helpful

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Antidote to the Trump Presidency.

If you could sum up Rising Star in three words, what would they be?

Heart Warming, Bright.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Rising Star?

The writer is able make Harvard's Contract Law classes lively.

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

Excellent Reader. I wouldn't be able tackle this massive book on my own.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

So far... The Obamas' first date.<br/>

4 of 9 people found this review helpful

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A book about Barack Obama. But first, a history of the world.

Either the audiobook narrator is accidentally reading the wrong book, or the author seriously needs an editor. I've been listening for an hour and a half and still no mention of Barack Obama! I'm patient, but this is ridiculous. Thank goodness for Audible's return policy!

3 of 7 people found this review helpful