The Obamas A True Story by Jodi Kantor

Published to coincide with the build-up to the US Presidential elections, Kantor writes of the Obamas living together as a family in The White House. It is a story of conflicts – work versus family, privacy versus influence, home versus power.

Kantor is not afraid to shatter some perceptions, for example, the image of the pre- presidency Obamas as an ordinary family. The description of them bringing “as much of their old world as possible with them to Washington….their personal trainer and their personal chef” shatters that illusion.

Whilst this is not a tell-all biography, there are plenty of references the Obamas might prefer to gloss over or would rather forget – Michelle Obama wearing $500 sneakers to help at a food bank event, the failure to close down Guantanamo within the timescale the President had promised, the headlines about the cost of those famous Friday night dates, the frequent references to the President’s political naivety and lack of management experience, his reliance a coterie of old friends, leading to a lack of fresh ideas, and the suggestion that The First Lady is too driven, too critical and unwilling to play a part except on her terms.

It started slowly but gained pace and interest as it progressed. Intriguing, curious and full of human interest, to me it sounded like the obituary of a past Presidency rather than the story of the current one.

Verdict: I shall watch the election results with interest ****

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