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The Faith of Barack Obama Hardcover – August 5, 2008

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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

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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: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #972,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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. In 2014, Mansfield released The Miracle of the Kurds, an introduction to the Kurdish people that reached bookstores just as Kurdish troops were standing heroically against the evils of ISIS in the Middle East. The book was named "Book of the Year" by Rudaw, the leading Kurdish news service.

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 38 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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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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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary Snyder on April 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I expected more. The history of Barack Obama's upbringing is essential to the story and I appreciate the attention to detail. The author did a wonderful job in researching his past and his church along with the controversial Rev. Wright.

However, the book falls short in personal interviews. The author didn't interview Senator Obama -- and I wonder how much can I learn about a man's faith without hearing his words on his faith.

All together an insightful book and one that is sheds light on many things in the President's life, but can only be taken in conjunction with what Barack Obama has to say about what he believes. Attending a Christian church does not make you a man of faith -- that's a personal decision to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Simon Laub on December 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
According to archbishop Desmond Tuto: "You must read this perceptive
and well written book". And so I did.

I am not sure we are much wiser after reading the book though.
On the afterlife Obama tells his daughter: "I wondered
if I should have told her the truth, that I wasnt sure what happens
when we die, anymore than I was sure where the soul resides or what existed
before the Big Bang."
Kind of the usual post modern christianity. Then what about Obamas
connection to the Trinity church and Jeremiah Wright
(And his sermons where America is damned for her rascism,
HIV is devised by the US government as a weapon against black,
and 9/11 is chickens coming home to roost).
Not much new in this book either I am afraid.
Trinity is just a "vessel" for values he already had, for "community
or shared traditions in which to ground most deeply held beliefs".
Questions do not magically disappear - Instead by joining the church,
Obama becomes a part of something, instead of just being a loner.
Then what about his childhood years?, when he ran around
in Indonesia wearing a sarong, the traditional indonesian skirt for men.
Was he a muslim back then?
According to the book, a child must have reached puperty before he can convert
to islam, and young Barack was years away from that. And therefore
he is not an apostate now.

Still the book seens somewhat rushed,
it is still less than crystal clear what it means
to be the child of "an atheist mother and a Muslim father,
to convert to Christianity and have a powerful relationship with
a colorful man like Jeremiah Wright".
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