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Michelle: A Biography
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Michelle: A Biography

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  526 ratings  ·  83 reviews
She can be funny and sharp-tongued, warm and blunt, empathic and demanding. Who is the woman Barack Obama calls "the boss"? In "Michelle, Washington Post" writer Liza Mundy paints a revealing and intimate portrait, taking us inside the marriage of the most dynamic couple in politics today. She shows how well they complement each other: Michelle, the highly organized, somet ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published October 7th 2008 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2008)
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N.
Well, I liked it because it gave me a realistic perspective on their marriage. I'm trying not to idealize Barack Obama too much because that would be dangerous. And I like Michelle Obama a lot after reading this book. That said, I picked up this book because I had read an article about Michelle and Barack Obama and their early courtship in the Washington Post by the author, and I found this book to be pretty flimsy except for that part...which I'd already read. So, I think the author would be ab ...more
S'hi
When have we had such a clear picture of the First Lady – even before she became the First Lady? This is a remarkable tale for the clarity it displays about the role of the spouse in the presidential race. But what it does in a sense too, is make us question whether we have not somehow done ourselves a great disservice all these years by only electing one person to a role which obviously requires the input and support of a team.
Everyone is in a paid position except for the spouse, and yet the sp
...more
Mythili
Early in this biography of Michelle Obama by Washington Post reporter Liza Mundy, the author confesses a significant impediment to her project: "the campaign declined access to [Michelle] and discouraged those who know the Obamas from talking." And yet Mundy was undeterred: "Fortunately, enough of those who knew her were willing to be interviewed that it was possible to write what is, I hope, a full and satisfying portrait," she explains. Though Michelle: A Biography is in fact neither full nor ...more
Katie
I always take biographies (and autobiographies) with a grain of salt, not knowing how accurate they are, but wanted to learn more about Michelle Obama than I heard during the campaign. The author seemed to strive for a fair portrayal, being neither too fawning or too critical. The book starts off rather slowly, Michelle's childhood not being overly interesting (who's is?). The dynamic of her marriage and the deals they struck to accomodate his political career are intriguing. She is obviously a ...more
Philly Aesthete Brown
If you're looking for a richly detailed chronicle of Mrs. Obama's life, this ain't that book. This Mundy book mostly "broadstrokes" its way through Michelle's life with more focused attention paid to watershed moments. The section on Michelle Robinson’s childhood years uses the bulk of its space delineating the socio-political and racial changes of the city of Chicago where her family has deep roots. We learn a great deal about Michelle's father's(Fraser Robinson) work with the powerful and deep ...more
Samantha
This book just isn't that great. It's very short...extremely short. It's right around 200 pages. It almost seems like the author just wanted to make a quick buck to get this book out before the election. It wasn't detailed at all. Her childhood in the book was more about the history of Chicago and race relations. I would have enjoyed more stories about Craig, her brother, and Michelle growing up with a "middle class" family in the South Side of Chicago. The pages on her college years at Princeto ...more
Marianne (Mazziebee)

In the Prologue, the author states that while Barack - biracial, raised in Hawaii by white grandparents- is post-racial, Michelle is not, she had a more typical African American upbringing; so while some people think it will be amazing to have Barack in the White House, the more noteworthy thing would be to have Michelle in the White House. This idea is central to this biography.

The book was written and published before the election. It is less of a biography which describes the life/relationsh
...more
Lesley
I enjoyed learning more about Michelle Obama in this book. By all accounts, she's intelligent, motivated, and usually quite grounded. Because the Obama campaign denied the author access to Michelle Obama for interviews for this book, however, the stories and insights about her come from other people in Obama's history--teachers, classmates, her brother, co-workers, TV and print reporters, and campaign staffers, plus numerous speeches of Michelle's (and one previous interview between the author a ...more
Glenda
Feb 02, 2009 Glenda rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No One
I thought reading Michelle by Liza Mundy would give me better insight into the life of our First Lady, Michelle Obama, but I was wrong. This book highlights parts of Michelle's life, which includes brief moments of her life at Princeton, her work, how she met the President and her views on race relations. It does not go indepth about her child hood and her relationship with her brother, Craig. I felt like I was reading commentary most of the time. It is obvious that Ms. Mundy does not know Miche ...more
Lisa
I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. I like Michelle Obama. I like the author, Liza Mundy. But this story was, dare I say, unremarkable? It's the story of someone around my age who had some advantages, was successful in her career and had to make some hard choices involving her family and her husband's success. The best part of the book was the part where Michelle finally realizes that her husband is not going to slow down his career to be an involved parent, and instead of being an ...more
Spencer
I felt like I learned little about Michelle's early life, only about things surrounding her family and in her neighborhood and was secondhand information. The became more interesting when it reached the 2000s, I suppose because information about her life became more readily available through interviews. With that being said, Michelle Obama is an amazing woman and a complete inspiration!
Thoraiya
As a biography of a living person where the author was denied even a single interview, this book was OK. I did find out more about Michelle Obama than I knew already - but couldn't help but compare this with Barack's autobiography, the first one about his father, and dwell on how much more powerful it was, not just as far as insight but the quality of the prose. Some of the statements about Michelle by this author seemed off, or stretching to connect ideas that didn't really connect.

Great subjec
...more
Jeff Kelly
http://kellylowenstein.wordpress.com/...

In addition to being a board member for Facing History and Ourselves, the non-profit organization my wife works for, Michelle Obama will become tomorrow the first black First Lady in American history.

She is an impressive woman-tall, intelligent, confident, attractive, and free-speaking-and someone her husband calls the rock of the Obama family.

The rock was forged on Chicago’s South Side.

Born and raised in a two-parent home, the then-Michelle Robinson atte
...more
Claire S
Looks like from Amazon reviews that this book is relatively terrible.. couldn't tell from looking at it in the bookstore. Drat! Well, I'll look at through it atleast, since I have it..

I was afraid it would be either content-free and instead full of innuendo and/or fashion commentary or something; or totally politically biased against them, or whatnot.

But I was very pleasantly surprised. What it does is, for each phase of Michelle's life, it gives a perspective on the racial context into which s
...more
Marsha
Michelle Obama was born Michelle Robinson. She grew up with her brother Craig with modest means in Chicago. However, she was very ambitious and ended up going to Princeton for her undergraduate college degree and to Harvard Law School. She met her husband Barack Obama while working as an associate at a law firm. She was impressed by his ambition, as she always had high expectations for herself as well as for others. At first they were colleagues, and then they became friends, and eventually star ...more
Alshia Moyez
I actually really enjoyed this one. I think author Liza Mundy wrote for the Washington Post and from what I heard, whipped this together in a fortnight (okay, maybe it took a little longer), but it doesn't matter to me because this was really an enjoyable read! I borrowed this one from the library before Michelle was 1st lady , just to give me some insight on her (I hoped-biographies penned by other people can often be riddled with lies). I think the hardcover costs....well, probably over 420 bu ...more
Kim
This book came out just before the election. A lot of it was information I have already read in Barack Obama's books, various online magazines, coverage during/post election etc. Stuff like general background information of where she grew up (south side Chicago), how they met, how she was reluctant to be involved in politics, her struggle with work/family balance, etc. Probably the number one thing I took away from the book is how ridiculously smart and hard working she is. Both she and Barack h ...more
Marie Castellano
This is an account of the racial struggle during our times. It is set around the life of Michelle Obama and her family. It's an important story, giving another view into this history. It does give some insight into Ms. Obama's life and motivations and lightly touches on her relationships with those dear to her. I learned more about her although I probably expected something more. Still, it was well worth my time.
Carrolee M
I think this autobiography is less an autobiography and more speculation and generalized analysis of the first lady. Though I enjoyed learning about Chicago, I thought there was WAY too much time spent on things that I feel were mentioned only to strengthen Mundy's assumption. She at times seems bitter, but attempts to stay neutral.

Overall, I must say I enjoyed the book until about half way in. It lagged in focus towards the end, and I lost interest. I would not recommend this book to anyone is
...more
Cheryl
Perhaps it would have been a great biography had she dug in deeper with information directly from the source. But even without that, Liza Mundy spins a wonderful tale of truth here: seamless transitions, great writing, good interviews. It could have used more information about Mrs. Obama's immediate family and childhood, and some anecdotes for character revelations.

What the book really revealed though, was the partnership and love between the First couple. With interviews from friends and assoc
...more
Musiquedevie


I enjoyed this book solely for the topic: the amazing Michelle Obama. I enjoyed learning some insight into her life; reading about her childhood through college years to the 2008 election. However, the author's way of writing, the much filler she brought into the book and topics she chose to expound on and those she glossed over, left much to be desired. It was obvious in some parts of the book, with little digs here & there, that Liza Mundy tended to carry a bit of a small grudge against M
...more
Joanne
I liked this book for finding out more about Michelle Obama, but good gracious, it dragged on and on. It took just about the first half of the book to get her to Princeton, and then a whole lot of meandering there about her (to some) controversial thesis on the responsibility of Black Princetonians. i did learn a lot about Chicago segregation and politics in the 1960s, so that was interesting. When the book *finally* gets to the Obamas' political activity, it doesn't add much new information to ...more
Dr Author Wright, AA, AS, BS, MinB, MS, MinM, PhD, MinD, ThD
“Michelle” by Liza Mundy is a gracious biography on Michelle Obama as she ascends to the incomparable position of being America’s First Lady. Despite being an unauthorized biography, Ms. Mundy carefully captures the unmatched energy and intelligence displayed by Michelle catapulting her to the ascendancy of global recognition. This biography is presented in such a way that it encourages every American, particularly African Americans, to be very proud of their First Lady as she strives to give ho ...more
Heila
Gave me a good overview of the past few years in politics. I 'lived through' the affirmative action era etcetera, so it was interesting to read about that in perspective with Michelle's life. The author of this book is professional as a journalist, in that she does present all sides of the issues, but her bias (I think the book was written during the throes of campaigning for Obama) does tip the balance frequently -- she can't resist interpreting or explaining the data with a flattering (to Mich ...more
Clayton
I wouldn't typically pick up a book like this but I had to interview the author. I say that I wouldn't typically pick up a book like this because I've read so many campaign generated propaganda pieces that I've gotten burned one too many times, but this book didn't fit that mold. Although the Obama campaign denied access, Liza Mundy of the Washington Post was still able to paint a vivid picture of the soon-to-be First Lady. If you want an in-depth analysis of the Michelle Obama then this book is ...more
Tisha
The book was written and published shortly after Obama became the president. It was an interesting look at Michelle's life up to that point in time. I am pretty moderate politically, and have never been a huge Obama-hater or lover. However, this book definitely impacted by view of the president negatively. Was I living under a rock during the last election? I had no idea Obama was into cocaine during his high school days in Hawaii. I also really respected his family values before reading this bo ...more
Nate
This book was on a cart to filed back into the African American section at the local Chicago Public Library, but it would be a better fit in the Biography section under Young Adult.

It was exactly what I was looking for-quick, light, surface based-but I was still surprised by how poor and distanced the research and sources were. Often times classmates or teachers didn't even remember her, but by talking about their own experiences, presumed that hers were probably very much the same.

It's okay, bu
...more
Wendy
I finally finished it! It wasn't a thick book, but being nonfiction, it was just a slower read for me. Interesting portrait of a complex woman. The author does the best she can with many secondary sources, but her lack of personal access to Michelle Obama makes me question her conclusions at times. I'd like to know if the chip-on-the-shoulder attitude towards race relations that bothers me coming from someone who has actually had a rather privileged life is real or a misperception. I'll definite ...more
K
A great read! From an awesome First Lady
Elaine
Jul 30, 2014 Elaine added it
This is part bio & part history of Chicago in Michelle's life span.
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