The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama
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In this nuanced and complex portrait of Barack Obama, Pulitzer Prize-winner David Remnick offers a thorough, intricate, and riveting account of the unique experiences that shaped our nation’s first African American president.
Through extensive on-the-record interviews with friends and teachers, mentors and disparagers, family members and Obama himself, Remnick explores the elite institutions that first exposed Obama to social tensions, and the intellectual currents that contributed to his identity. Using America’s racial history as a backdrop for Obama’s own story, Remnick further reveals how an initially rootless and confused young man built on the experiences of an earlier generation of black leaders to become one of the central figures of our time.
Masterfully written and eminently readable, The Bridge is destined to be a lasting and illuminating work for years to come, by a writer with an unparalleled gift for revealing the historical significance of our present moment.
overwhelming courage for a state senator from Hyde Park, perhaps, but hardly risk-free, and enough to distinguish him from his Democratic opponents. It would attract younger voters and the liberal wing of the Party. And it was just possible that race—especially as he projected it—would help him far more than it would hurt him. • • • The final event of the day in Selma was the ritual crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. On the far end of the bridge there was a billboard thanking visitors for
conservative on the federal bench, came to admire Obama—“especially,” he said, “after one of my clerks, who had worked with him at the Harvard Law Review, told me that he wasn’t even all that liberal. I was reassured.” At Chicago, the constitutional-law curriculum is divided into separate courses on structural questions and individual rights. Obama taught the latter, focusing on such issues as equal protection, voting rights, and privacy, rather than on such questions as the separation of
swing voters as a left-wing ideologue.” Axelrod did not discount John Edwards. He had worked for Edwards in his 2004 Presidential campaign—an experience that ended unhappily when, among other factors, Edwards’s wife, Elizabeth, lost faith in him and helped to push him off the team. Edwards was ahead in Iowa, but, Axelrod said, that was because he was a “relentless campaigner and debater.” Echoing the advice of Durbin and Daschle, Axelrod counseled against waiting for a moment when Obama was more
pure? Nearly all teenagers tend to think of themselves as outsiders—there is solace in it, loneliness is transformed into a variety of glamour—but Obama, Smith, and Peterson were always talking among themselves about whether or not they were black first or individuals first. The answers provided by the Punahou School were confusing. “Barack’s experience was my experience,” Smith said. “I talk to my kids about this and my kids can’t imagine it in California. As a child in Seattle, I couldn’t play
applause still booming, Obama’s face split into an enormous grin. The stage was not merely set; it was as if Lowery had set it ablaze. “Barack told me I stole the show,” Lowery said later, “but, I swear, I didn’t mean to.” Long before the speech that brought Obama to national attention—the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in August, 2004, when he was still a state senator—Obama had been speaking to audiences all over Illinois, telling his own story: his family background,