After more than six years, I’ve finally arrived at the last person whose biographies I’m reading on this first trip through the presidents: Barack Obama.
Superbowl Sunday may seem an odd time to launch this round’s final president, but the clock is ticking and just over two weeks remain until Presidents’ Day when I’m slated to start the next leg of this adventure.
So until the pre-game show starts this afternoon I’ll be ensconced in my study reading the back-half of my 238th presidential biography. (Note: I won’t be watching the pre-pre-game show. Too much to read, not enough time!)
For the 44th president I’m reading three biographies. And in an odd but meaningless twist of fate they are each authored by someone named David:
* I’ve already started David Remnick’s 2010 “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama.” Remnick is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author (for his 1994 “Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire“). This mid-sized biography documents the circumstances and ambition behind Obama’s seemingly unlikely rise to the nation’s highest office. A few readers have described it to me as detailed and dense, but more often I’ve heard it’s insightful and inspirational.
* My second biography will be David Garrow’s “Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama.” Published in 2017, this tome exceeds 1,000 pages (not counting its more than 300 pages of notes and bibliography). This book found its way to my list when The Washington Post named it a Top 10 book of the year in 2017. But it has many detractors, and even its most ardent fans refer to it as a “doorstop.”
* I trust I’ve saved the best for last with David Maraniss’s 2012 “Barack Obama: The Story.” I really enjoyed this author’s biography of Bill Clinton’s pre-presidency and have been told by readers I trust (you know who you are) that this book is even better. Here’s to hoping Round 1 of the best presidential biographies goes out on a strong note!