I’ve been looking through the book Rising Star: The making of Barack Obama by Pulitzer Prize winning author David J. Garrow. The book is huge. The main text is 1,084 pages, followed by a few hundred pages of chapter notes, and then about another hundred pages for the bibliography and index. Garrow reportedly interviewed over a thousand of Obama’s friends and colleagues and even interviewed Obama himself for eight hours. All this for a book that only covers Obama’s pre-presidential life!
Obama fans might be disappointed to learn how calculating and deceptive Obama has been about his own life story. On the other hand, Obama haters will be disappointed to learn that Obama was an excellent law student who earned his high grades at Harvard.
Indeed I’m impressed by how the book is both so negative yet so positive. Unlike many biographers who try to vilify or deify their subject, Garrow only seems interested in gathering as much information as he can and letting the chips fall where they may. It’s great when truly objective historians take the time to interview this many people and collect this much original research before memories fade, people die, and things get covered up.
Rising Star is a gift to history.