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Showing 1-10 of 47 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 86 reviews
on August 3, 2017
Read this somewhat against my will for a book club. Didn't vote for him and really was not too interested. Glad I read this book. I have a very great deal more respect for him and found it interesting enough to want to know more. It only covers the time until he was elected President, esp. his political career in Chicago. Not being a Chicagoan until very recently I found this a tiresome, not knowing any of the names or the municipal organization here. But it was important to know about to put it in context with the rest of his life, both political and personal. Tangentially, it also illuminated the character of Michelle Obama a little bit showing that, especially at the opening of his national career, she may have been somewhat misunderstood Kept me interested in spite of myself. and changed my thinking.
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on February 3, 2011
This was an excellent political biography. Much in the same vein as Caro's 'The Years of Lyndon Johnson', this book is just as much a biography as it is a synthesis of the events in a life that lead to an ascendency to the Presidency. Much like Johnson, we leave feeling that at this time and place in history, Obama was born to be the President. Also of significance (and particular interest to those who didn't religiously follow the campaign, such as I) is the busting of the myths surrounding Obama, such as his birthplace and alleged radical ties. Remnick uses the long-time nettle of the right (i.e. facts) to give an accurate depiction of reality, but this is not to say that The Bridge is a text that deifies Obama. This is a measured, meticulously structured, and fair assessment of Obama's life through his election. I did take issue, however, with the rather thin research and accounting of several key events in Obama's life. Michelle Obama, for example, was never interviewed for this book and their relationship is not discussed too deeply. This is only of significance to a book that is organized around the principle that virtually every relationship and activity in Obama's life has on some level contributed to the accomplishment of some higher purpose. Glossing over his relationship with Michelle, which by all accounts has been formative for them both, seems sloppy and incomplete. The Bridge, however, was an overall excellent read that successfully avoided getting sucked into political whirlpool and still managed to focus on the historical significance and context of the rise of the forty-fourth President.
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The White House has been home to many colorful characters in the more than two centuries since it was first occupied in 1800-think of the polymath Thomas Jefferson, the swashbuckling Andrew Jackson, and the big game hunter and peacemaker Teddy Roosevelt-but Barack Obama is at least their equal. With a life story no Hollywood screenwriter would dare concoct, President Obama is the avatar of multicultural America. In David Remnick's formulation, he is "the bridge" between white and black, the elite and the street, and-equally important-between the generation of African-Americans who followed Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Lewis in the civil rights movement, and those who were born too late to have experienced its pains and joys directly.

This is familiar territory to anyone who has dipped even briefly into the flood of writing about Barack Obama, much of it essentially biographical, and Remnick brings few new insights to the story. However, what he brings is the fruit of hundreds of interviews with Obama himself, his closest aides and advisers, as well as others in the media and academia who can help cast light on the workings of the President's mind.

The special emphasis in this book is race. Remnick follows the threads of Obama's own journey of self-discovery and his sometimes-troubled interaction with others, especially older leaders, in Chicago's African-American populous diaspora, and he puts Obama's rise to the presidency in historical perspective as an expression of the black community's centuries-long struggle for equality in America. To Remnick, Dr. King and his colleagues represented the "Moses generation," destined to approach the walls of Jericho but never to enter the promised land beyond. Obama embodies the "Joshua generation" that stands on the shoulders of its parents and now seeks to claim the fruits of this historic struggle.

David Remnick is best known now as editor of The New Yorker for the past dozen years, but in his relatively short life-he's just a few years older than his subject in The Bridge-he distinguished himself as a reporter, first for the Washington Post and later for the New York Times. He won a Pulitzer for Lenin's Tomb, the 1993 book based on his years as Moscow correspondent for the Post.

(From Mal Warwick's Blog on Books)
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on December 29, 2016
Another great work by a wonderful writer.
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on June 22, 2014
...like Barack Obama is impossible once he became President. A look at the forces that shaped him and made him aspire to the presidency, this is a partial portrait of a person whose role on the world stage is still evolving and incomplete.
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on July 15, 2010
I was very eager to read this book about the process of Barack Obama being elected President. There had been alot going on behind the scenes of the campaign that I wanted to know about.

While I knew a fair amount about Obama's early life, I did find it interesting to read more about his experiences in Hawaii and Indonesia and especially at Occidental College. That is an aspect that is not reported on much.

However, once we got into the real meat of the book, I found it exceedingly tedious. There was a multiple paged book review of Dreams of my Father, where a short synopsis would have sufficed. Speeches were quoted in length. Background information on people such as Mayor Daley and other local politicians was way more than you needed to know.

Finally, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. i am on the chapter On to the White House. I feel like I have been reading this for 18 month now. It does not go fast and at times things get so complicated that I can see where the readers attention can easily be lost.

It is okay, but not the best book on the subject.
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on June 2, 2012
This biography of President Obama is a very well researched. The Pulitzer prize winning author, David Remnick, has interviewed hundreds of persons for this book, from those who went to school with him as a child and undergraduate and graduate schools to those who worked with him in the various arenas he worked in (i.e., academia, civil rights attorney, community organizer, etc.) to those who worked with him on his political campaign to the politically established of all creeds who had to deal with him (i.e., his campaign staff, politicos who he dealt with, etc.). This is one of the book's great strengths. In addition, the author does a good job at researching his subject's family history, relationship with religious organizations, work history and, of course, history in politics. All of this he does in a very "pop" narrative style, with the inherent weaknesses (i.e., lack of footnotes) and strengths (very readable).

Unfortunately the book also has a sizeable number of weaknesses. One is that, as of June 2012, nearly all of its contents are really nothing new to anyone who has been following the news closely regarding the President over the past few years. No new facts of importance are presented. Neither are there any insights into his personality, governance style or political goals. The book also leaves many important questions regarding its subject unanswered. For example, when and why did he decide to run for the presidency? Was he driven by ambition? A thirst for power? Ideology? What does he hope to accomplish?

Hence, in short, the book provides a good factual dossier on the President Obama but does not present anything new the public did not know about him as of June 2012 nor does it provide any insights into his character. Hence a three star book.
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on June 17, 2013
Whether a supporter or not, I think it's a useful read in learning more about President Obama. I think it merits a place on any reader's bookshelf, especially one interested in current events and the actions that are making up our history.
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on May 2, 2010
Overall, a good book. It's a good effort at placing events in Obama's life into context and offers a lot of insight into his development. The only critical note I would make is that it details someone who demonstrated good but not spectacular ability until a brilliant law school career without any insight into this sudden development. The book notes his years as a community activist but fails to explain the jump from above average performance to a stellar showing. The book also fails to capture what seems his passion for making a difference in people's lives and why he felt compelled to take on the world's most powerful office to make that change.

It's worth the read and effort. It offers a very good explication of Obama's efforts to both positively address and to avoid the trap of the politics of grievance.
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This book sat on the side of my bed for more than a month. That month was my loss! Yes, I knew there was something special about Barack Obama, but as a Hillary Delegate two years ago, I somehow missed out on understanding the real Barack Obama ... the "Joshua Generation" Barack Obama. The voluminous commentaries (actual quotations) by persons with first-hand acquaintenship with our President dating back to even before his days in the fifth grade at Punahou (K-12) School in Hawaii (through the present) made President Obama bigger than life. For the first time, I think I fully understand what motivates his seemingly dispassionate ("No Drama Obama") persona and his clear and directed hopes and work for a better America. Day-to-day living, politicking and governing are three very difficult tasks to combine for those of us who don't (and didn't) face the obstacles that Obama has faced from almost before he was conceived ... but with what Obama has had to live with for almost 50 years ... all I can say is "wow!" This book is one of the most important books I have ever read and recommend it to absolutely anyone!
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