Rising Star by David Garrow
The Making of Barack Obama

60%

6 Critic Reviews

Too long by half but consistently readable—an impressive work that will provide grist for the former president’s detractors and admirers alike.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Rising Star is the definitive account of Barack Obama's formative years that made him the man who became the forty-fourth president of the United States—from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bearing the Cross

Barack Obama's speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention instantly catapulted him into the national spotlight and led to his election four years later as America's first African-American president. In this penetrating biography, David J. Garrow delivers an epic work about the life of Barack Obama, creating a rich tapestry of a life little understood, until now.

Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama captivatingly describes Barack Obama's tumultuous upbringing as a young black man attending an almost-all-white, elite private school in Honolulu while being raised almost exclusively by his white grandparents. After recounting Obama's college years in California and New York, Garrow charts Obama's time as a Chicago community organizer, working in some of the city's roughest neighborhoods; his years at the top of his Harvard Law School class; and his return to Chicago, where Obama honed his skills as a hard-knuckled politician, first in the state legislature and then as a candidate for the United States Senate.

Detailing a scintillating, behind-the-scenes account of Obama's 2004 speech, a moment that labeled him the Democratic Party's "rising star," Garrow also chronicles Obama's four years in the Senate, weighing his stands on various issues against positions he had taken years earlier, and recounts his thrilling run for the White House in 2008.

In Rising Star, David J. Garrow has created a vivid portrait that reveals not only the people and forces that shaped the future president but also the ways in which he used those influences to serve his larger aspirations. This is a gripping read about a young man born into uncommon family circumstances, whose faith in his own talents came face-to-face with fantastic ambitions and a desire to do good in the world. Most important, Rising Star is an extraordinary work of biography—tremendous in its research and storytelling, and brilliant in its analysis of the all-too-human struggles of one of the most fascinating politicians of our time.

 

About David Garrow

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David J. Garrow is Professor of Law & History and Distinguished Faculty Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is the author of four books, including Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. He is a regular contributor to the Washington Post, New York Times, and The American Prospect. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Author Image 1
 
Published May 9, 2017 by William Morrow. 1472 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on May 28 2017
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Rising Star
All: 6 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Above average
on Mar 01 2017

Too long by half but consistently readable—an impressive work that will provide grist for the former president’s detractors and admirers alike.

Read Full Review of Rising Star: The Making of Ba... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Paul Street on May 30 2017

Faults aside, Rising Star is an epic triumph of personal and political biography. A gifted researcher and storyteller, Garrow somehow succeeds in keeping the reader’s attention across his colossal volume...

Read Full Review of Rising Star: The Making of Ba... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Christian Science Monitor

Above average
Reviewed by Erik Spanberg on May 25 2017

Many of Garrow’s assertions can and will be argued for years to come. What is sure to rankle Obama about the scathing assessments in “Rising Star” is the author’s pedigree and perspective.

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Booklist Online

Below average
Reviewed by Ilene Cooper on May 13 2017

Biographers need not like their subjects, of course, but what Garrow’s hefty tome mostly adds up to is a sour experience for readers and, apparently, for the writer.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Jennifer Bort Yacovissi on May 09 2017

At 1,076 pages of narrative and 270 more of notes, this firehose of primary research will be foundational to future Obama biographers, but it is hardly the book for casual readers.

Read Full Review of Rising Star: The Making of Ba...

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Brent Staples on May 09 2017

“Rising Star” seems to include every human being who came within arm’s length of the young president-to-be. The depth of detail allows the reader to see familiar parts of this story with fresh eyes.

Read Full Review of Rising Star: The Making of Ba... | See more reviews from NY Times

Reader Rating for Rising Star
57%

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