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The Faith of Barack Obama Hardcover – August 5, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; Book Club edition (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595552502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595552501
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,588,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a veteran communications professional, it comes as no surprise that Mansfield commands an easygoing conversational speaking style that helps buffer some of the potentially loaded issues he chooses to tackle. While he may be best identified by his ties to the conservative evangelical community, Mansfield possesses the ability to explore divergent ideologies while acknowledging some of his personal red flags with a tone of utmost respect. Listeners in search of a definitive, comprehensive Obama spiritual biography may not find the level of dramatic new revelations they were hoping for, but Mansfield succeeds in adding thoughtful theological and political context to events and experiences. Perhaps the most captivating section involves Mansfield's account of a Sunday visit to Trinity United Church of Christ, the congregation from which Senator Obama resigned his membership following publicity surrounding controversial statements by founding pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Mansfield presents an analysis of Obama's distinctly postmodern journey that will generate valuable discussion across the religious spectrum. A Thomas Nelson hardcover. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Stephen Mansfield is the New York Times best-selling author of Lincoln's Battle with God, The Faith of Barack Obama, and Benedict XVI, Searching for God and Guinness, and Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill. Stephen lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Beverly. For more information, log onto

More About the Author

Stephen Mansfield is a New York Times bestselling author and a popular speaker who coaches leaders worldwide.

He first rose to global attention with his groundbreaking book "The Faith of George W. Bush," an enormous bestseller that Time magazine credited with shaping the 2004 U.S. presidential election. The book was also a source for Oliver Stone's award-winning film "W." Mansfield's "The Faith of Barack Obama" was another international bestseller. He has written celebrated biographies of Booker T. Washington, George Whitefield, Winston Churchill, Pope Benedict XVI and Abraham Lincoln, among others. Publishers Weekly has described his book, Killing Jesus, as "masterful." His recent "Mansfield's Book of Manly Men" has inspired men's events around the world.

Stephen speaks widely about men, leadership, the power of heritage, and the forces that shape modern culture. He is also an in-demand leadership coach whose firm, The Mansfield Group, offices in Washington D.C. just three blocks from the White House.

Mansfield lives in Nashville and Washington, D.C. with his wife Beverly, an award-winning songwriter and producer.

For more information, log on to StephenMansfield.TV.

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Customer Reviews

Enter into the discussion Stephen Mansfield and his latest book, The Faith of Barack Obama.
C. Stauffer
"Those of us on the political Left . . . we also love God." p. xv The Faith of Barack Obama offers fair, solicitous views of the nation, its leaders, and its future.
Elizabeth Osborn
While the author reportedly did not interview his subject for the book, he does quote heavily from Obama's interviews, memoirs and writings.
Michael E. Waddell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Bittner on July 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Faith of Barack Obama" disappoints those looking for a close-up view of his personal walk with Christ. While Stephen Mansfield is fair in describing Obama as a person of faith and makes it pretty clear which faith (Christianity), Mansfield also makes it obvious that this book was rushed to press without the author having had any personal interviews with Barack. He references a couple of Obama's speeches regarding faith and race, references an Easter Sunday excursion he took to Trinity (Obama's church for 20+ years) and gives credit to the campaign for being professional and helpful. Going to the Obama YouTube page provides an opportunity to see and hear over 1,000 videos of speeches and interviews that would flesh out Barack's faith for any interested individuals much better than this book was able to provide.
One highlight of the book comes in chapter five: four faces of faith. Mansfield compares John McCain's, Hillary Clinton's, and George W. Bush's faith to Obama's. While Obama's faith wasn't fleshed out in this chapter, it seemed safe to assume it would be fleshed out in a following chapter since the whole book was dedicated to this pursuit. Disappointingly, that chapter wasn't included in the book.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Matthew R. Carroll on October 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Stephen Mansfield has done well in this brief book about Barack Obama's life and faith. Presidential biography makes some of the most interesting reading, and the story of presidential candidate Barack Obama is among the most remarkable. I am grateful for the opportunity to read and review the book. It has helped me to better know who Obama is, and understand his significance.

Perhaps most interesting to me is that Obama, if elected, would be the first "Third Culture Kid" to become president. One of the aspects of Obama's life that Mansfield makes clear is that Obama is a "man without country" (xvi). He was too white for his black friends, and too black for the society of his white grandparents. He was born in Hawaii, and barely knew his father from Kenya. A significant portion of his childhood was spent in Indonesia where his step-father introduced him to folk-Islam. And his mother sent him to a Catholic school, though she herself taught Obama her "atheistic optimism" (14).

Technically, John McCain is also a TCK, born in the Panama Canal Zone, and moved from base to base much of his childhood, though in my opinion, as far as cultural diversity goes, that does not hold a candle to running barefoot in the streets of Jakarta.

As a TCK myself, I find Obama's biography fascinating. Raised in Colombia of American parents, I can identify with the feeling of being neither fish nor fowl. I can sympathize with his longing for belonging, and yet never quite fitting in. And even when apparently finding some birds of a feather, I know the feeling of resting lightly on the roost. Mansfield describes Obama's association with Jeremiah Wright's church and suggests that Obama was able to attend there for 20 years and "take the chicken and spit out the bones" (64).
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Helen Hancox on August 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
[This review was originally written for a UK-based magazine]

This is a short book at about 130 pages (although with a 45 pages of appendices including texts of speeches) but it provides an excellent introduction to Barack Obama and the place that his Christian faith holds in his life. It briefly describes his upbringing by an atheist mother and Muslim father, his conversion to Christianity and his relationship with his mentor, Jeremiah Wright. The book doesn't delve deeply into Obama's political history but discusses a few of his political views and how they fit with his faith. There is a particularly helpful chapter which looks at Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and George W Bush and the way in which the faith of each of them works out in their lives.

The book was an easy read with some interesting anecdotes and no strong political axe to grind although I didn't feel that I got a very in-depth look at the character of Obama, he still felt somewhat distant. The book accurately portrayed the rising importance of Christian faith in American politics and showed the different ways in which the faith of the candidates can be demonstrated. It is a helpful resource for those interested in American politics and in the man who may well be the next President.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Peterack VINE VOICE on July 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I will admit I picked up this book with trepidation. I understand from the author's website that he is not planning to vote for Obama and thought I was going to read a "very" biased book. Instead I found one that treated its subject extremely generously and fair.

Most importantly the author, through a biographical journey, helps the reader to understand Obama's faith walk, which like so many American's cannot be buttoned down; and has varied at times in his life for various reasons (i.e. parents dragging him, etc.), as well as the reasons for remaining a member of Jeremiah Wright's congregation for so long. For this reason alone, supporters and critics would be well served to read this.

My favorite section was Chapter 5 "Four Faces of Faith" where Mansfield does an excellent job taking the faith journeys of McCain, W.Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Obama to compare the different faces of Christianity among American's today. This chapter is not a "stand alone" though as the details of Obama's "face of faith" is best understood only by reading the previous chapters, and thus is relegated (and rightly so, in my humble opinion) to only a paragraph in Chapter 5.

I found only a minor disagreement with the author via the lens that he draws between Obama's and McCain's faith expressions. Using different lenses, Obama's looks like a negative (serving politics over religion), while McCain (serving country over, but inspired by religion) as a positive. Though I see the point he is making, I do not feel that Mansfield was convincing enough to make the point, as it appeared to me that both are the same, inspired by faith to serve a greater cause.

That being said, if you do not want to slog through a longer, more detailed bio of Obama, and want a very well researched focus on his spiritual journey, this book is an excellent vehicle in which to explore those points.
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