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The American Journey of Barack Obama 1st Edition

82 customer reviews
ISBN-10: 0316045608
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Editorial Reviews


"The phenomenon that is Barack Obama has intrigued us all. Who is Barack Obama? The editors of LIFE have gone a very long way toward helping us all answer this question. Senator Obama's singularly American life has been characterized by tragedy and triumph, drama and despair, anxiety and anticipation, and, ultimately, enormous excitement and the deepest historical significance. In this book, Obama's tale is told in all of its dimensions, from the mistakes he has made and the obstacles he has confronted and overcome, to his moments of almost sublime and glorious transcendence. With spectacular photographs--funny, surprising,exceptional in detail--combined with a highly readable narrative, Obama's biography comes to life, from his youth in Hawaii to his roots in Africa, from Harvard to Chicago and, eventually, to his life as a public servant in Washington. Who is Barack Obama? Read these compelling words and study these exceptionally candid and beautiful photographs and discover the answer for yourself." (Henry Louis Gates, Jr. )

About the Author

LIFE has long been one of the country's pre-eminent publishers of periodicals and books, and is renowned for its presentation of photography. The editors who bring you THE AMERICAN JOURNEY OF BARACK OBAMA are the same who created One Nation: America Remembers September 11, 2001, also published by Little, Brown, which reached No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list and was hailed by The Wall Street Journal as "a thorough and thoughtful telling."

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (October 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316045608
  • ASIN: B0031MA946
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.6 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,103,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 69 people found the following review helpful By James Hiller VINE VOICE on October 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Many times has it has been said, Barack Obama comes from humble roots: an absent father, being raised by his grandparents in Hawaii, excels and acheives all the way to Harvard. His meteoric rise, the result of a supportive extended family, and a fierce intellect, is inspirational enough. Life has taken that story, and told it again, this time, accompanied by some of the most touching and revealing pictures I have seen of Obama yet.

The pictures span his own life, from childhood to the present, and offer a glimpse into the world of this man who might be about 44th president. The pictures of his childhood are absolutely endearing, and show what a diverse world Obama came from. Growing up in Hawaii, he was often the only student with partial African-American heritage in his classes, and he recounts how kids wanted to touch his hair because it was so different. One picture of his grandmother hugging him at his graduation reveals intense love and pride she had; it's one of my favorites just because of the look on her face.

As Barack grows up, the man that we see today starts to take shape; out of college, this gangly community organizer meets his future wife Michelle Obama, and a glimpse into their love and their relationship shows up in the book. I am always particularly touched by any picture of Barack and his girls. They are poignant, fun, and show Obama in the role he probably loves best: dad.

One final photo in a book of trememdous photos really brings Barack to the everyday man: a picture of him with his feet up, and holes in the bottom of the soles of his shoes. I look in my closet, and see most of my shoes with the same problem, and I realize how much like me, like all of us, this man truly is. Life has created a book that anyone, Barack Obama voter or not, would be proud to have on their shelf, in their collection.
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24 of 31 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Crawford on October 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
LIFE has done an excellent job in capturing Obama's "journey"---from the beginning to present! The book is an excellent combination of text and pictures. In addition to summarizing his successful political life, the book also gives a realistic and well-rounded view of Senator Barack Obama's life as a man, husband and father. This book is unbelievable and would make a great gift for family and friends OR for yourself!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By laytonwoman3rd on January 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As one would expect with a LIFE publication, this coffee table book contains many excellent photographs of its subject. It was published after Obama won the Democratic nomination, but before the election results were known. We see Barack Obama in his youth; in Hawaii; at Harvard; with his family, immediate and extended, in the U.S. and in Kenya; at work and at play. The text gives us background biographical details about his life and complicated family history. It is certainly not an in-depth look at the politician or the man, but was a comfortable, pleasing read for the eve of his inauguration as the 44th President of the United States. It has the feel of a souvenir. The best part of the text are several essays on specific topics---race, faith, the world's view of Obama---by well-known writers including Gay Talese, Bob Greene, Nancy Gibbs, and my personal favorite, Andrei Codrescu who discusses immigration from his own unique perspective . Some of the photos are spoiled, in my opinion, by being spread over two pages. I would rather have had them reproduced on a single page to avoid that spinal crease through the center.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Garbato on December 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I've long been a fan of the Time/Life glossy pictorial hardcovers (e.g., the Time Annual Year in Review and Life Album: Pictures of the Year series), so when Life's THE AMERICAN JOURNEY OF BARACK OBAMA became available through Library Thing's Early Reviewer program, I jumped at the chance to review a copy. Though I'm not an Obama voter - I supported Kucinch in the primaries, McKinney/Clemente in the general election - I found myself moved by the historic nature of his campaign (and victory) nonetheless. In particular, the photos and speeches which came out of the 2008 campaign cycle have proven poignant and inspirational; considering previous Life volumes, I hoped that this book might capture some of the more memorable campaign moments.

Since THE AMERICAN JOURNEY OF BARACK OBAMA is largely a work of photojournalism, let's start with the photographs. TAJOBO is a gorgeous, colorful book, filled to the brim with photos: Obama/Dunham and, later, Obama/Robinson family snapshots; photos of Barack Obama during his college years; pictures taken throughout Obama's political career; candid shots of Barack and Michelle with children Sasha and Malia; and, of course, a number of photos from the campaign trail, including a few stills of the Obamas working the daytime talk show circuit. If you followed the 2008 elections, no doubt you'll recognize some of the more iconic photographs, such as the one of Obama, leaning back in an office chair, with a phone nestled snugly between ear and shoulder, feet propped up on a desk - showing two very beaten, worn soles.

Sadly, Life only includes a few photos of Obama's supporters, taken during his speeches and rallies; of the shots they do include, most are of the stadium-sized crowds, rather than of individual supporters.
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