- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Amistad; 1 edition (August 14, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060858206
- ISBN-13: 978-0060858209
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 58 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,491,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Obama: From Promise to Power Hardcover – August 14, 2007
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*Starred Review* Since his speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, Obama has captured attention as reporters, politicos, and ordinary citizens have wondered if he might be the nation's first black president. Chicago Tribune reporter Mendell argues that although Obama's rise to the national stage might seem unplanned, it is the outcome of a carefully calculated strategy by an ambitious man. Mendell chronicles Obama's personal evolution, from Barry, a biracial adolescent growing up in Hawaii, to Barack, the Harvard law school graduate. Obama's complex backgroundwhite midwestern mother and Kenyan fatherhas been both an asset and a liability to his search for acceptance among African Americans and voters in general as they have had to assess who he is and what he stands for. Mendell tracks Obama's rise through the frustrations of community organizing and the rough-and-tumble world of Chicago politics to the rarefied, if no less brutal, world of the U.S. Senate. Mendell draws on interviews with Obama, his wife, family, friends, aides, and rivals, as well as his own extensive coverage since Obama's days in the Illinois Senate, to offer a nuanced, compelling look at a man of idealism and ambition intent on making history. Bush, Vanessa
“David Mendell got to Barack Obama before most of the rest of the world, telling the story of Obama’s remarkable rise to power with deep reporting and in vivid detail. Obama was perhaps the most unlikely person ever to seek the presidency. Mendell’s fine book provides the historical backdrop for how Obama got to the starting line of that 2008 campaign. The story he tells is as fresh today as it was at the time.” (Dan Balz, Chief Correspondent at the Washington Post)
“This book was required reading for those of us who covered Obama’s 2008 campaign. Two White House terms later, it remains a fascinating and unfiltered read about the remarkable political rise of a major historical figure.” (John McCormick, Bloomberg national political reporter)
“Long before Barack Obama was president, David Mendell was there?and we’re lucky he was. In Obama: From Promise to Power, he uses his extraordinary access to Barack and Michelle Obama, their friends and aides, to deliver an engaging and insightful portrait of one of the most intriguing leaders in modern American history.” (Peter Slevin, author of Michelle Obama: A Life.)
“I recommend this wonderful book to anyone who wants to know the real story behind Barack Obama’s historic rise to national political stardom. Having covered Obama since his Senate campaign began, David Mendell offers an insightful, richly detailed and refreshingly balanced account of a ‘change candidate’ who was neither as perfect or as flawed as others might want you to believe.” (Clarence Page, 1989 Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Chicago Tribune)
“Long before Barack Obama made history, he attracted the attention of the gifted journalist David Mendell. His intimate interviews with the rising political star, and his brilliant analysis of the movement that formed around him, endure as an unparalleled chronicle of the making of an American president.” (Evan Osnos, winner of the National Book Award for Age of Ambition, and staff writer at the New Yorker)
“Before Barack Obama was a towering political figure, he was a local pol. This book serves as a corrective to Obama mythmaking on both sides, and it provides an insider’s glimpse at the political origins and stunningly swift rise of Barack Obama.” (Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed)
“David Mendell was on the Obama story long before the rest of the world caught on. This book remains an essential text for understanding President Obama’s formative years.” (Alec MacGillis, government and politics reporter for ProPublica and author of The Cynic: A biography of Senator Mitch McConnell)
The single best source of background information on our new president. (National Review)
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Mendell's writing includes a biography of the Hawaii native and it includes interviews he conducted with Obama's half-sister who lives in Hawaii, his maternal grandmother (now deceased), who helped raise him, childhood friends and his basketball coach. Mendell then takes the reader through Obama's undergraduate collegiate years at Occidental College and Columbia University. The author discusses Obama's law school term at Harvard, focusing on his willingness to listen and respect opinions and ideas contrary to his own.
As expected, Mendell writes extensively about Obama's political career, starting with his first campaign for the Illinois state senate and including his unsuccessful run for Congress in 2000. The author shares his observations of the candidate and politician Obama, and includes interviews with Michelle Obama. Mendell pulls no punches when he describes Barack Obama's occasional bouts of condescension toward reporters and others. However, he also discusses Barack's thoughtfulness and compassion for the less fortunate.
In total, David Mendell presents a balanced approach to covering Barack Obama, and makes frequent reference to Obama's memoir, "Dreams From My Father". This work of non-fiction should be included in any college course on political science as well as any personal reading list of anyone interested in American political figures.
ffers new insights into how stressful running a campaign is.