Obama: From Promise to Power
|August 14, 2007|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|973/.04960730092 B 22|
|LC Class||E901.1.O23 M46 2007|
Obama: From Promise to Power is a 2007 political biography book by David Mendell about the life of Barack Obama from his childhood to the announcement of his candidacy for president of the United States. The book focuses on Obama's fast rise from obscurity to the national stage, but portrays it not as an unplanned phenomenon, but rather as the result of a carefully crafted and calculated plan by an ambitious man. Mendell, a Chicago Tribune reporter, had covered Obama since the beginning of his campaign for the U.S. Senate in Illinois. The book utilizes both the first-hand research from Mendell's original reporting, as well as a wide range of interviews which Obama's aides, mentors, political adversaries and family.
Obama: From Promise to Power was one of the first biography books from the 2008 presidential campaign season, but upon its initial release did not receive the same attention as books about Hillary Clinton, who was initially considered a stronger contender in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries. As a result, Obama: From Promise To Power did not receive the same large-scale book tours and press attention as such Clinton biographies as A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Carl Bernstein and Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, Jr.
The National Review called Obama: From Promise to Power "the single best source of background information on our new president". Although the publication said the book was generally sympathetic toward Obama, it also praised Mendell for taking note of his faults and his "considerable ego", citing in particular the opening of the book, in which Obama confidentially states, "I'm LeBron, baby", before speaking at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press, was particularly impressed with Mendell's frank assessments of Obama's flaws and ambition, such as the statement, "What the public has yet to see clearly is his hidden side, his imperious, mercurial, self-righteous, and sometimes prickly nature, each quality exacerbated by the enormous career pressures that he has inflicted upon himself." A WLS-TV review of Obama: From Promise to Power said the book "carries with it a certain oral history-style wholeness", due to the variety of people it profiled from Obama's life. The review said Mendell's long history of first-hand news coverage of Obama lent the book "both an insider's perspective and a journalist's shrewd critical eye, and the portrait that he paints of Obama is more comprehensive than any previous treatment of this remarkable man".
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