Michelle Obama A life

Peter B. Slevin

Book - 2015

With disciplined reporting and a storyteller's eye for revealing detail, Peter Slevin follows Michelle to the White House from her working-class childhood on Chicago's largely segregated South Side.

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BIOGRAPHY/Obama, Michelle
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Subjects
Published
New York : Alfred A. Knopf 2015.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
418 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 25 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 397-399) and index.
ISBN
9780307958822
0307958825
Main Author
Peter B. Slevin (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* A descendant of slaves, Michelle Obama has a lineage and a life history most unlikely for a First Lady. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago in a working-class black family, she has lived her life against the backdrop of major developments in black America. When she became First Lady in 2008, she changed the trajectory of American history. Journalist Slevin explores Michelle's family history and struggle to rise above racial limitations, her marriage, and her close friendships. He details the unerringly strong, well-balanced sense of self she has taken with her from Chicago to Princeton to Harvard Law School to corporate America and eventually to the White House. In her undergraduate thesis on straddling the racial and economic divides, Michelle explored themes that continued to challenge her and her husband as they advanced in their careers and even as the nation's first family. Slevin chronicles Michelle's evolution from very reluctant candidate's wife to engaging First Lady and protective first mother. She has focused on supporting military families, encouraging better nutrition and exercise for youth, and urging urban youth, in particular, to get an education. Like all First Ladies, she has sparked affection, criticism, and controversy, often with a racial tinge aimed directly at the first African American First Lady. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Written by a well-respected veteran reporter, this comprehensive biography of the first African American First Lady is bound to attract interest well beyond the book review page. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Veteran reporter Slevin, who at the Washington Post covered political campaigns and the rise of Barack Obama, turns to First Lady Michelle Obama. With a 75,000-copy first printing. [Page 62]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Perhaps no first lady since Jacqueline Kennedy sought the White House more reluctantly than Michelle Obama (b. 1964). By the time Barack Obama announced his intention to run for office, Michelle had already scaled back her career goals and settled for less-demanding responsibilities and more time to run her family's household, while her husband served in the Illinois State Senate and the U.S. Senate. Slevin's (journalism, Northwestern Univ.; national political correspondent, Washington Post) thorough coverage of the first lady's life to the midterm of Barack's presidency provides deep understanding of her climb from Southside Chicago to the universities of Princeton and Harvard, all the while searching for her place in a world that she mistrusted. Slevin wants readers to know that Michelle was driven to succeed and to be recognized for her own talents and abilities. He shows that the programs she endorses as first lady reflect the skills she brings to the White House as a former university and hospital administrator whose job it was to extend those institutions into the surrounding minority communities. Although the author cites interviews with his subject's mother and brother, his account relies mainly on news and secondary sources. VERDICT Readers should develop an appreciation for Michelle Obama, the challenges she overcame, and her well-deserved accomplishments. Those who would like to know more about the first lady, her family, and lifelong and recent friends who have helped her along the way will enjoy the author's engaging and authoritative writing. [See Prepub Alert, 11/17/14.]—Jill Ortner, SUNY Buffalo Libs. [Page 96]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Political journalist Slevin offers an informative if not particularly personal portrait of America's first lady in this thoroughly researched biography. Slevin meticulously recounts Obama's inspiring journey, beginning with the struggle of her parents, Marian and Fraser Robinson, to eke out better lives on Chicago's South Side, and continuing through her childhood to her experiences at Princeton and Harvard Law School, a job at white-shoe law firm Chadwell Kaiser (where a charismatic law student named Barack Obama first made her acquaintance), and her residence in the White House. Providing valuable insight into the trajectory of her life and career, Slevin shows how Obama draws strength from her upbringing, which emphasized knowledge, family, and social responsibility. The rare glimpses of the personality hidden behind Obama's cool and unruffled demeanor are the most satisfying moments of the narrative, but they are few and far between, leaving her almost as enigmatic a figure at the book's close as she is at the beginning. (Apr.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A comprehensive portrait of the First Lady describes her working-class upbringing on Chicago's South Side, her education at Princeton and Harvard during the racially charged 1980s, and her marriage to the future forty-fourth president.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A comprehensive portrait of the first lady describes her working-class upbringing on Chicago's South Side, her education at Princeton and Harvard during the racially charged 1970s and her marriage to the future 44th president.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

An inspiring story of a modern American icon, here is the first comprehensive account of the life and times of Michelle Obama. With disciplined reporting and a storyteller’s eye for revealing detail, Peter Slevin follows Michelle to the White House from her working-class childhood on Chicago’s largely segregated South Side. He illuminates her tribulations at Princeton University and Harvard Law School during the racially charged 1980s and the dilemmas she faced in Chicago while building a high-powered career, raising a family and helping a young community organizer named Barack Obama become president of the United States. From the lessons she learned in Chicago to the messages she shares as one of the most recognizable women in the world, the story of this First Lady is the story of America. Michelle Obama: A Life is a fresh and compelling view of a woman of unique achievement and purpose.  

Review by Publisher Summary 4

An inspiring story of a modern American icon, here is the first comprehensive account of the life and times of Michelle Obama. With disciplined reporting and a storyteller’s eye for revealing detail, Peter Slevin follows Michelle to the White House from her working-class childhood on Chicago’s largely segregated South Side. He illuminates her tribulations at Princeton University and Harvard Law School during the racially charged 1980s and the dilemmas she faced in Chicago while building a high-powered career, raising a family and helping a young community organizer named Barack Obama become president of the United States. From the lessons she learned in Chicago to the messages she shares as one of the most recognizable women in the world, the story of this First Lady is the story of America. Michelle Obama: A Life is a fresh and compelling view of a woman of unique achievement and purpose.