Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Barack Obama: The Making of the Man” as Want to Read:
Barack Obama: The Making of the Man
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Barack Obama: The Making of the Man

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  881 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
In Barack Obama, David Maraniss has written a sweeping narrative which reveals the real story of Obama's beginnings: child of a black man from Luoland and a white woman born in Texas. He charts the fortunes of the two disparate families, polar opposites in every way, which produced these two extraordinary individuals, who met briefly in Hawaii, never cohabited, and married ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 1st 2012 by Atlantic
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Barack Obama, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Barack Obama

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
The title of David Maraniss' well-researched tome doesn't reveal all that much about its contents. As he mentions in the introduction, we won't be seeing our Obama (aka Barry, aka POTUS 44) until chapter seven of this eighteen-chapter volume, and the narration stops with his departure for Harvard Law in 1988. So, this is some pretty deep background; as it is described in various summaries, a multi-generational epic.

Obama graphic by Lincoln Agnew

Two points about yours truly before I proceed- I have not read Dreams from My
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This biography of President Barack Obama by David Maraniss is incredibly well- researched and is presented without bias. Having read Dreams From my Father and The Audacity of Hope written by President Obama, I already possessed knowledge of his personal story and what influenced and shaped his belief system. This book, however, took me on an incredible journey starting a couple of generations before President Obama's birth in Hawaii. Mr. Maraniss traveled to Kansas, Kenya, Indonesia and Hawaii t ...more
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was excerpted in Vanity Fair, which focused on his relationships before he went to Harvard Law. But that's only one small part of this epic story of his parents' and grandparents' experiences. It's a sad story on both sides, which makes the President's incredible success all the more remarkable. I was so touched by the events in this book that I made another donation to his campaign!

Aug 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was okay, but disappointing. David Maraniss digs up some interesting / juicy stuff, especially on Obama's New York years. But he also spends waaaayyyy too long on Obama's genealogy, which (beyond maybe his parents) I, for one, could care less about. More annoying still was this tick he has of dwelling far too long on the little coincidences, chance encounters, and twists of fate that color all of our lives, Obama being no exception. As a former history major, I found this sort of chaos theo ...more
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am about halfway into the book but find it fascinating. It is SO detailed starting with the background of both grandparents on both sides of the family and the family of the 2nd husband his mother married from Indonesia. Despite all the myths, Barack Obama's father was not a Muslim but an atheist. Barack's (Barry as a child) mother had the strongest influence on shaping his spiritual and ethical grounding. This is a a very good read and can hardly put it down... still reading and to be continu ...more
Catherine Woodman
Well, this book is massive in scope. Maraniss has writtena global, multigenerational saga that spans decades and ends right before Obama goes off to Harvard Law School—but in the end, I am not sure that it culminates in the emergence of a young man who is knowable, recognizable and real. Recognizable and perhaps more real, but I am not sure how much more knowable he really is at the end of the day.
The book goes back to his great grandparents on both sides, and ironically, there are almost more p
David Maraniss is one of those people who reminds his readers of what good journalism looks like. He's also one of the better biographers working today. In this book, Maraniss has produced a solid, informative account of the events that shaped the character of Barack Obama. Overall, this is a critical but positive assessment of Obama's youth. While some of the more irresponsible pundits have combed the book for out-of-context "gotcha" nuggets, anyone who actually reads this book will quickly see ...more
Corey Preston
A lot of things to be frustrated with here, including (in order of escalating frustration):
(a) absence of PBO for more than half the book--way too much focus on individuals who had no impact on his life whatsoever;
cutting off just when things start to get interesting (pre-law school);
(b) constantly rehashing and hammering the same, simple thesis (PBO has always been cautiously bold--excuse my french, but no shit...);
and (c) constantly "fact checking" PBO's prior biographies--there are a few
Oct 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a book! Exhaustive, at times exhausting, yet hard-to-put-down. Everything you ever wanted to know about our 44th president from four generations before his birth to his inauguration. In 641 pages of prose.

One wonders and marvels at how Maraniss uncovered and organized all the information. It must have been several years, at least, of unrelenting work to interview the hundreds of people who make up the story, including the main caracter himself in an oval office interview(s). All of tha
Sep 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this would be a biography of President Obama, and in a way it was, but it was more a biography of the people instrumental in making him who he is. This book was a little hard for me to read; I wish I had had the time to really settle into it. It had a lot of pretty dry narrative (much of which, I regret to say,I skimmed over) interspersed with (MUCH more interesting!)first person stories of Obama's family and upbringing. Actually, the man who becomes our President doesn't become a majo ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama
  • The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama
  • The Real Romney
  • Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency
  • Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln
  • Governor Reagan: His Rise To Power
  • A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother
  • A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland
  • Cronkite
  • The Obamas
  • Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal
  • Jimmy Carter (The American Presidents, #39)
  • Chester Alan Arthur (The American Presidents, #21)
  • President Kennedy: Profile of Power
  • On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller
  • The Promise: President Obama, Year One
  • The Stranger: Barack Obama in the White House
  • Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind
David Maraniss is an associate editor at The Washington Post and the author of four critically acclaimed and bestselling books, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton, They Marched Into Sunlight War and Peace, Vietnam and America October 1967, and Clemente The Passion and Grace of Baseballs Last Hero. He is also the author of The Clinto ...more
More about David Maraniss...
“In this dream, as he recounted it in Dreams from My Father, Barack rode a bus across a landscape of “deep fields and grass and hills that bucked against an orange sky” until he reached a jail cell and found “father before me, with only a cloth wrapped around his waist.” The father, slender, with hairless arms, saw his son and said, “Look at you, so tall—and so thin, gray hairs, even,” and Obama approached him and hugged him and wept as Barack Hussein Obama Sr. said the words Barack Hussein Obama II would never hear in real life: “Barack, I always wanted to tell you how much I loved you.” Genevieve remembered the morning he awoke from that dream: “I remember him being just so overwhelmed, and I so badly wanted to fix him, help him fix that pain. He woke up from that dream and started talking about it. I think he was haunted.” She” 0 likes
More quotes…