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Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage Hardcover – September 22, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage is an intimate and ultimately riveting look at their unique ­relationship, and the humor, faith, fortitude, and grace that define it. It is, above all, a uniquely American love story. Given the obvious historic significance of what they accomplished­ together, the marriage of Barack and Michelle stands as one of the great personal and political partnerships in American history.

Yet, incredibly, the true nature of the marriage remains a mystery. And now, for the first time, Christopher Andersen draws on important sources—some speaking here for the first time—to paint the first complete, compelling portrait of America's first black First Family.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Christopher Andersen is the critically acclaimed author of twenty-eight books, which have been translated into more than twenty-five languages worldwide. A former contributing editor of Time magazine and senior editor of People magazine, Andersen has also written hundreds of articles for a wide range of publications, including Life magazine, the New York Times, and Vanity Fair.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1St Edition edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061771961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061771965
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,676,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Probably one of the few books I've read that seems very down to earth.
Amazon Customer
The worst part is that Andersen makes blanket assertions that are not attributed to any named source or backed up by any discernible proof.
L.
I'm not a Fan of Barack but this book was a good read and seemed to be one of the more HONEST things about him.
Michelle L. Hormann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Reader in the Midwest on September 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book seemed so promising. It was supposed to be a more intimate look at the Obamas' marriage. However, it is basically a rehash of what was already reported in newspapers, magazines, or culled from interviews and other public comments. It doesn't seem to really focus on the marriage so much as it retells Barack's journey to the White House. I didn't get the behind-the-scenes details the book promised. Several of the Michelle/Barack quotes inserted in the text as if the author interviewed them himself are actually quotes from network evening news interviews that I even remember watching. I think the author also rehashed bits from Barack's Dreams from My Father. There are a few tiny details that I didn't know about - his roommate in NYC and his impressions. That's about it. Everything else is pretty old news. Overall, this books offers very little insight into the Obama marriage and partnership.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Dahlia2002 on September 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The book's quotations are almost all from articles written about the Obamas during the campaign, from Obama's own book, or from David Mendell's bio of Obama. Christopher Andersen's "research" consisted of pulling together work that others did to make a quick buck off of the public's interest in the Obamas. In addition, there are numerous errors throughout the book including getting addresses, dates, etc. You'll get a better sense of the Obama marriage by reading David Mendell's book (see, there's an author who actually conducted his own interviews), or any of the freely available profiles written about the Obamas.
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27 of 36 people found the following review helpful By L. on September 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was looking forward to reading this, thinking the author might come up with some unique insight into the Obama marriage. I was aware that the Obamas and their close friends would probably not cooperate with such a book, and I was also aware that Christopher Andersen is a bit of a hackish celebrity biographer, but I still had hopes that he might do some actual investigative work and come up with some new interviews and sources of information.

I was wrong. If you've read magazine articles about the Obamas (or Obama's own 2 books), you've already read all the information about their marriage contained in this book. But that's not the worst part. The worst part is that Andersen makes blanket assertions that are not attributed to any named source or backed up by any discernible proof. (There are also no end-notes in the book that would indicate who was interviewed and what the sources for particular assertions are. Such end-notes are customary for any biography that wants to be taken seriously).

For instance, he makes the blanket assertion that Obama was in church the day the Rev. Wright made his "God D*** America" sermon. If you followed the 2008 campaign at all, you know that this was actually a very big topic of discussion. Obama says he was not in attendance during that controversial sermon. Hundreds of reporters could not find ANY proof that he was. Neither the Clinton or McCain campaigns, who would have dearly loved to find such proof, could find ANY indication that he was. In fact, the Obama campaign released proof of his official schedule for that day that showed he was actually in Florida on the day in question. Yet here comes Christopher Andersen in his book saying definitively that Obama attended that sermon. That's a pretty bold assertion. He's saying Obama lied.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By nimira on December 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's nice to get an insight to the background, relationship, and real life that the current President and First Lady live. I quite enjoyed reading about their upbringing and how they met.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Humphrey on December 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I did find out new information about the Obama's in this book. I feel it gives the readers insight on their lives before marriage, during the early years and through the campaign. It doesn't sugar coat their personalities, which I like. If you like politics and history, you will like this book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone who sees the class of the First Couple is struck by the question, "How did these 2 come together?" This book tries to explain the History of how this happened. Michelle was a young working attorney, going through the grind, when she heard of this "hotshot" attorney who would be coming to work for the Summer. She thought, like many others, that he had a "funny" name. However, when she met him, there was more substance to him than she had envisioned. She was also a little surprised to tell herself that she found him attractive. As they began to have informal conversations, one co-worker noted that she felt there was gravitas to the budding relationship, when late one afternoon, Obama was seen sitting comfortably on the edge of her desk, just casually talking. Another co-worker felt there was "something going on" when he found himself at the movie theater, standing in line close to where Obama and Michelle were also standing. Michelle thought that actually making their relationship public early on would have been "tacky," since they were only one of a few Black folks at the firm. Michelle had once tried to set Obama up with a friend, but Obama was having no part of that. Michelle's mother also had doubts about Obama being bi-racial. The book details the couple's first kiss, with Obama talking about taking her out in his Hyde Park neighborhood to an ice cream shop, laughing as he tells the tale of the kiss tasting of chocolate. Michelle found humor in the rusted out spot in the passenger's side of Obama's Datsun. It seems Obama had long held dreams of becoming President, but only shared that fact with Michelle's older brother, Craig. Craig had to tell Michelle not to be so rough on Barack, because she had a reputation for "eating guys up" that she had dated.Read more ›
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