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Michelle: A Biography

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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, 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, sometimes intimidating, list-making pragmatist; Barack, the introspective political charmer who won't pick up his socks but shoots for the stars. Their relationship, like those of many couples with two careers and two children, has been so strained at times that he has had to persuade her to support his climb up the political ladder. And you can't blame her for occasionally regretting it: In this campaign, it is Michelle who has absorbed much of the skepticism from voters about Obama. One conservative magazine put her on the cover under the headline "Mrs. Grievance." Michelle's story carries with it all the extraordinary achievements and lingering pain of America in the post-civil rights era. She grew up on the south side of Chicago, the daughter of a city worker and a stay-at-home mom in a neighborhood rocked by white flight. She was admitted to Princeton amid an angry debate about affirmative action and went on to Harvard Law School, where she was more comfortable doing pro-bono work for the poor than gunning for awards with the rest of her peers. She became a corporate lawyer, then left to train community leaders. She is modern in her tastes but likes to watch reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Brady Bunch. In this carefully reported biography, drawing upon interviews with more than one hundred people, including one with Michelle herself, Mundy captures the complexity of this remarkable woman and the remarkable life she has lived.


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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, 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, sometimes intimidating, list-making pragmatist; Barack, the introspective political charmer who won't pick up his socks but shoots for the stars. Their relationship, like those of many couples with two careers and two children, has been so strained at times that he has had to persuade her to support his climb up the political ladder. And you can't blame her for occasionally regretting it: In this campaign, it is Michelle who has absorbed much of the skepticism from voters about Obama. One conservative magazine put her on the cover under the headline "Mrs. Grievance." Michelle's story carries with it all the extraordinary achievements and lingering pain of America in the post-civil rights era. She grew up on the south side of Chicago, the daughter of a city worker and a stay-at-home mom in a neighborhood rocked by white flight. She was admitted to Princeton amid an angry debate about affirmative action and went on to Harvard Law School, where she was more comfortable doing pro-bono work for the poor than gunning for awards with the rest of her peers. She became a corporate lawyer, then left to train community leaders. She is modern in her tastes but likes to watch reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Brady Bunch. In this carefully reported biography, drawing upon interviews with more than one hundred people, including one with Michelle herself, Mundy captures the complexity of this remarkable woman and the remarkable life she has lived.

30 review for Michelle: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    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 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 satisfying, it is nonetheless a valuable overview of the life of the woman married to the President-elect – a man whose sudden political rise in recent years has been nothing short of monumental (as Mundy puts it, "It was more than a political rise; it was a political levitation. A political teleportation.") With this rise, his wife has found herself the sudden object of media scrutiny and a player on the political arena. The detailed research of this book provide a broad view of Michelle Obama's personal background and a play-by-play recap of major ups and downs on the campaign trail. Although Mundy's is never able to translate these facts into a clearly-organized argument on Michelle's significance – present or future – as a national figure, this biography does well to identify her as a formidable woman in her own right.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    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 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 able to write a better book but this was hastily written, put together much too quickly. I didn't feel like I had enough insight of Michelle Obama especially during her childhood, who her friends were, what she liked to do, and I think that's because the author didn't have the kind of access she needed in order to write this book. There was also one part of the book I didn't agree with, and it was something about what Michelle said on the campaign trail and the author's criticism of that. I almost felt like the author had written that because she didn't want to seem like this was a gushy biography...but isn't that what this is? Isn't that what people want to read? I do anyway.

  3. 5 out of 5

    D Dyer

    I wanted more than this book was able to offer. It felt both flimsily written and light on insights on Michelle Obama, especially considering the existence of a memoir written by the woman herself, admittedly years after this book was published. I picked up this book after having read that one hoping for a new insight on Michelle but unfortunately didn’t find it here. The Author was unable to interview Obama for the production of this book and it definitely shows.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lesley Looper

    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 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 and Obama, unrelated to this book). After reading this book for a while, I felt like I was learning about Michelle Obama all secondhand, and I missed the meatiness of a story that would have had Michelle Obama's blessing and cooperation. I hope (and expect) that sort of book will come later.

  5. 5 out of 5

    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 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 spouse has to carry the burden in a very specific and unique way which in effect allows so much else to happen for a human being to still become president through the gruelling process expected of them in politics. But before all this awareness and consideration of what might come next we have the sense within Michelle herself that there was always something more for her to be able to achieve – something worthy of her effort and rewarding for the challenge as well as the accomplishment. Even if she hadn’t have been top at many of the things she has embraced, there is a sense that the striving itself was worthwhile. That only by embracing the world before you in all its possibilities can you truly work out which pathway is the one most suited to your particular skills and interests and convictions. These things don’t come easily. We don’t just inherit what our parents have given us. We have to claim each and every thing they give us by making it our own, just as we have to move beyond our parents and find what else out there may have a unique contribution to our development as we do to it by taking it on. The one thing you can be sure of with Michelle Obama is that she takes nothing for granted. And by this example she shows us we shouldn’t either. As a non-American I found Liza Mundy’s representation of both the education system and the political process illuminating and easy to follow. The sense of neighbourhood and the relationships between people where they actually live, rather than the distorted images we overseas folk glean from television, was also well presented and very human, even with the interspersed quotes from newspapers and other media Even the personal touch of having attended the same university as Michelle gave perspective and scope where a narrowing could otherwise have happened. A commendable effort, and a might good read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    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 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 complex person and they make a compelling team. Glad I read it just to have more information about her.

  7. 5 out of 5

    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 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 deeply racist political machine in the 1960's-1980's Chicago and about how his political activism helped to improve the family's economic conditions. The Robinsons became solidly middle class in a city that made sure to keep its negroes in their proper place at the lower end of the socio-economic strata. Fraser Robinson looms large in this book and that fact makes sense because both Michelle and her brother Craig cite their father as an enduring influence on their views of politics, of community building and about the importance of educational advancement. Based upon the picture drawn in this book, Michelle Obama is very much her father's child. The text quickly traverses the years of Michelle adapting to the mostly white Princeton after having gone to a truly racially integrated high school; Michelle at Harvard Law school; Michelle's first job in a corporate firm where she met Barack. Mundy doesn't "over-spin" the Barack and Michelle love story here. Friends, law colleagues and family do offer their recollections of the Obamas meeting and falling in love, but Mundy balances those portraits with a very clear picture of how much of a pragmatist and a bit of a traditionalist Michelle has always been. Michelle expected Barack to make a good living to support his growing family. She wanted him to work in the private sector (in business or law) or take a teaching position. In the early days, Michelle actually abhorred the thought of Barack choosing politics as a career. Watching her farther precariously negotiate the vagaries of political life as a Black man in a very racially stratified Chicago left Michelle with the impression that politics was dirty, dirty business and to be avoided, if possible. While both she and Barack were on the same page about the importance of community building and making things better for the average Joe, Michelle did not want Barack to run for the state legislature, nor was she too keen on his Senate run. Michelle didn’t believe that real change could come from within the political machine, but from individuals and forces pushing from the outside inward. According to Mundy, there was quite a lot of tension in the Obama household about him being a mostly absent father due to his political aspirations and responsibilities and the extra burden that his absence put on Michelle. Michelle was not keen on the idea of the family constantly being debt as they were until Barack was contracted to write his biographies. The Obamas had just finished paying off their law school student loans just shy of 2 years before he was elected President. Mundy lays bare an interesting portrait of a very practical minded wife, mother and driven career woman who was getting impatient with her husband's loftier aspirations. It was hard going for Barack to convince Michelle to get on board with his political ambitions. The last third of the text spends a good deal of time looking closely at Michelle’s speeches spanning from the early days of Barack’s primary stumping through the campaign after he’d become the democratic nominee. This is the section of the book that is most compelling and that I, as a reader, most appreciate. Through Mrs. Obama’s speeches, in particular, the reader can track her inward transformation from being warily supportive but still a bit skeptical of her husband’s political aspirations to someone who grew to believe the “yes, we can!” message whole heartedly on personal and political levels. This section of the book also culls together, contextualizes and assesses all of the distasteful race-baiting, vilification of black womanhood and anti-patriot charges in the TV, blog and print media coverage of Michelle as a potential First Lady. Mundy juxtaposes all of that with discussion of the prevailing feeling among black folks and black women, in particular, that posits Michelle Obama as a shining symbol of a different kind of Black femaleness than those distortions and stereotypes we usually see in the press and in pop culture. This book isn’t exhaustive or perfect by any means, but it seeks to do a fairly balanced job of etching out ONE portrait of Mrs. Obama (one of many, I hope). I was enriched by reading it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Coyney

    Just did not enjoy this book at all

  9. 5 out of 5

    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 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/relationships of the subject, but instead focuses on the environments (and to some extent the people in the environments) that shaped Michelle and explain who she is. This book does not satisfy that voyeuristic urge that a reader may have when choosing a biography. That being said, I found the author's examination interesting but somewhat limited by the fact that the Obamas did not contribute interviews to this book. It felt speculative. I would love to read a book that comes out AFTER the next election, when they are willing to share more and comment openly about the topics of race and racism.

  10. 5 out of 5

    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 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 Princeton were thin. Mostly discussing her thinking on her future instead of what she learned and how she changed there. In the book after she met Barack Obama, it was like the book changed to more of a book looking at him instead of Michelle. I felt the book almost became mean spirited about Michelle and how she treats Barack. If someone hasn't heard Michelle Obama speak about her past then this is a good quick book to get a taste of where she's from and who she is, but if you are looking for an in-depth study or biography about her then you aren't going to get it. Wait for this one on the bargain tables.

  11. 4 out of 5

    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 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 angry, she decides to create a support system so that she does not shoulder all the household burdens herself. I thought that was inspired, a move that saved her marriage and her sanity. This book also made me appreciate how hard political campaigns are on spouses.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Glenda

    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 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 Michelle Obama. I have to wonder if she has ever met her. I was disappointed. I'm sure there will be a better biography published in the future. This one is definitely not at the top of the list. I recommend buying this book used or when it is added to a bargain category.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daria

    I got about 25 pages in and I'm done. I was looking for the STORY of Michelle Obama's life and all I got was the history of the Chicago political system. I flipped ahead and it didn't look like it was going to be any different further in, so on to something new.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shone

    Into each life a little rain must fall. This biography was a wonderful look at the life of 1st Lady Michelle . What we see is the end results of great parents, studying hard and determinatiion.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laura Cobrinik

    Again, Liza Mundy writes an enthralling biography, this is of Michelle Obama. (Although I read it after President and Michelle Obama left office), it was such a relief of "normalcy" than what we are going through now. Mundy shows us that Michelle Richardson Obama was the "Rock" of her maiden family and also it the "Rock" which allowed her husband to such a Human Being...We watch how Michelle excels at school, how she transferred from a "just okay" school on Chicago's South Side, then for High Again, Liza Mundy writes an enthralling biography, this is of Michelle Obama. (Although I read it after President and Michelle Obama left office), it was such a relief of "normalcy" than what we are going through now. Mundy shows us that Michelle Richardson Obama was the "Rock" of her maiden family and also it the "Rock" which allowed her husband to such a Human Being...We watch how Michelle excels at school, how she transferred from a "just okay" school on Chicago's South Side, then for High School we see how she travelled to a "Private" mixed school where she came out on the "Top" of her class, how she struggled but kept with it at Princeton University--and then how she went on from Princeton to Yale University for her law degree and ultimately found her husband, who eventually became President Barak Obama. As an adult Mundy lets us see what a caring mother Michelle was for Malia and Sasha, and how she first found politics and Barak in the lime-light...but we see that without Michelle, that President Obama would not have been the thoughtful, and caring Person, President, and Father that he had been during his presidency and even now...In addition to Mundy, we see from current events as Barak still is photographed and is on the computer tearfully happy and sad when Malia Graduated High School and then when he saw her start college at Harvard. On resent internet websites we now see that same former President "teary eyed" as he witnesses his younger daughter, Sasha having an 18th Birthday, and on her way to college soon. From reading Mundy's book, we see that without Michelle, that President Obama may not have had his special father-daughter relationships that he's had with Sasha and Malia. As Mundy also shows us, Michelle gave Barak chores that many women don't work so hard to make sure that her husband shared the housework and made the bed...I'm looking forward to reading another biography by Liza Mundy... Laura Cobrinik

  16. 5 out of 5

    Donia

    I voted for Barack Obama and I admired him both as a President and a person. What I knew about Michelle was mostly through her better nutrition for school kids program so I picked up this book hoping for better insight into this glamours couple. Sadly I didn't find it. The entire book struck me as having been heavily sanitized. I wanted passion and didn't find it. The author Mundy uses the first person as though Michelle is speaking or writing but remember, the author was NOT allowed access to I voted for Barack Obama and I admired him both as a President and a person. What I knew about Michelle was mostly through her better nutrition for school kids program so I picked up this book hoping for better insight into this glamours couple. Sadly I didn't find it. The entire book struck me as having been heavily sanitized. I wanted passion and didn't find it. The author Mundy uses the first person as though Michelle is speaking or writing but remember, the author was NOT allowed access to Michelle so it really isn't Michelle talking. It is Liza's perception of Michelle's experience. With all the negatives tossed at the first black couple, there certainly must have been fireworks behind closed doors but you won't get it in this book. Barack and Michelle must have been very upset by Trump's disgusting birther rant of Barack but you would never know it from reading this bio. Trump is hardly mentioned yet it certainly was a large part of their experience. Basically when I picked up this book I thought I would learn what Michelle and Barack really thought about the way they were treated and I never got that.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    This book definitely gave me new insight into Michelle Obama. It starts from her childhood, goes into her time in high school, college, law school, early career(s) and then into her life as an aspiring politician's life. The book talks about her life up until the presidential run, and does not cover her time in the White House. It is definitely a good read if you want to learn about how race and social class affects Michelle's views, as she seems to struggle at times between straddling the lower This book definitely gave me new insight into Michelle Obama. It starts from her childhood, goes into her time in high school, college, law school, early career(s) and then into her life as an aspiring politician's life. The book talks about her life up until the presidential run, and does not cover her time in the White House. It is definitely a good read if you want to learn about how race and social class affects Michelle's views, as she seems to struggle at times between straddling the lower and upper classes throughout her education and work experiences. The most you get of Michelle's perspective is through her speeches and friends/colleagues/classmates. However, I wish there could have been more in-depth investigations coming from Michelle herself.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    I enjoyed this book. It did say that the author couldn’t talk to Michelle directly and it is missing that element to give it a five, but instead it offers a look at the times she grew up in. It takes us alongside her through a journey of what her neighborhood was like and the opportunities she had that helped shape who she became. It isn’t an Intimate biography, but is still was an interesting read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Erin Winchester

    After finishing this book, it still feels like you're missing something. The biography describes Michelle through a wide variety of peoples' eyes, but lacks a substantial interview with her needed to provide an introspective and personal insight to who she knows she is. It compiles others' thoughts, criticisms, and praises of her to paint a vague, blurry picture of who Michelle was growing up, as a young professional, and as a potential first lady.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Monica Minneman-Ioset

    It's an unauthorized biography by someone who did interview Michelle at an earlier time. Lots of documented comments from people who knew Michelle, plus quotes from her speeches and university theses. Includes a handful of photos. Paints a positive picture, with mentions of "kerfuffles". Ends at 2008.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kilian Metcalf

    I liked this. A good basic story of her early life up to Barack's decision to run for president. I was a little disappointed that it stopped where it did. I would liked to have followed her into the White House and her adjustments to being First Lady. That being said, it was a competent view of her life up to that point.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carol Benton

    Well written and balanced story of Michelle from birth to the election of her husband to the presidency of the United States. I'm now looking forward to reading Michelle's autobiography to see how close Ms. Mundy's description is to how Michelle sees herself.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Eileen Vernor

    Loved this autobiography! It really gives a holistic view of an amazing, humble woman. I highly recommend listening to it via Audible read by Michelle Obama.

  24. 5 out of 5

    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 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 attended Whitney Young High School, Princeton University and Harvard Law School before returning to her hometown practice law at corporate firm Sidley Austin. While there, she met her future husband and later helped start Public Allies, an organization that provides young people opportunities for service. Many Americans first became familiar with Obama during her husband’s succesful campaign for president; for many, the impression was less than positive. Tube, that for the first time in her adult life she was proud of being an American. Others expressed concern about how she talked openly about some of her husband’s failings. Fox News speculated that the fist bump she and her husband exchanged when he clinched the nomination was a terrorist sign-the bump was part of a highly controversial New Yorker magazine cover. Obama and her husband’s campaign readjusted her public presence, emphasizing her partnership with Barack, having her go on the television show The View and talk about her domestic life-she did the fist bump with all of the cast members, including the conserative Elizabeth Hasslebeck-and having her explain her husband, and his worthiness of people’s votes, to the public. Obama’s image appeared to improve-People Magazine named her one of its 10 Best Dressed Women, citing her ‘classic and confident’ look-yet, for many, she still remains a somewhat unknown figure. Liza Mundy fills in many of those gaps with Michelle: A Biography. The Washington Post author, like Obama, a Princeton graduate, provides lots of information into Obama’s background, the sources of strength and occasional strains she experienced during her marriage with Obama, her significance in Obama’s decision to run for president and the recalibration of her public persona during the campaign. The book is nothing like an epic biography on the scale of Robert Caro’s trilogy about Lyndon Baines Johnson or David Levering Lewis’ two-volume account of W.E.B. DuBois. But it is a servicable and well-researched primer on Obama, her early influences, her strong personality and her powerful, loving and effective partnership and marriage with her imminently inaugurated husband. Mundy shows that the marriage had its share of strains, particularly during the early years of parenting, when Obama was a state senator(Readers of The Audacity of Hope will recall Michelle’s striking line that she felt like a single parent.). Mundy also talks about how distressed Obama was during his time at Springfield with senators who would openly cheat on their wives and makes it clear that he would do the same to Michelle due to a combination largely of respect but also of fear (One friend is quoted as saying he knows Michelle would kill him.). Mundy does an adequate job of placing the future First Lady’s childhood and community in historical context and depicting the complicated dance of career, family and motherhood that she and many other professional women have to face. The book also talks about Michelle’s hesitancy for her husband to enter politics, both because of her concern for him and because of her awareness of the consequences of political life for their future family life. The book ends during the early stages of Obama’s presidential campaign and touches on the shift away from Obama pointing out her husband’s domestic failings to someone who helped tell his story and continue to introduce him to the American public. The effort worked, and, as anyone who has not been living under a proverbial rock knows, tomorrow her husband will assume the presidency. Quick, breezy and well-researched, Michelle: A Biography helps shed light on the woman who will stand beside Obama as he places his hand on the same bible that his fellow Illionoisan, Abraham Lincoln, touched nearly 150 years ago and takes the oath of office administered by Chief Justice John Roberts. Mundy’s book will almost certainly not be on the short list of Pulitzer nominees when they are announced this spring, but it is a useful source of information for people wanting to get a better understanding of our new First Lady’s roots, personality and values.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Rush

    She grew up on the Southside of Chicago, becoming friends with a daughter of Jessie Jackson. Although her parents were plain, working class folks, they pushed she and her brother to do well in school, laying a foundation of character that was to carry them through life. Her parents didn't have a lot of money, but somehow they always seemed to provide the educational opportunities that would lead to her succeeding at the highest levels of academics. Here's a working class girl from a working She grew up on the Southside of Chicago, becoming friends with a daughter of Jessie Jackson. Although her parents were plain, working class folks, they pushed she and her brother to do well in school, laying a foundation of character that was to carry them through life. Her parents didn't have a lot of money, but somehow they always seemed to provide the educational opportunities that would lead to her succeeding at the highest levels of academics. Here's a working class girl from a working class neighborhood, now attending the Ivy league school of Princeton. What is absolutely hilarious is that her roommate from that Freshman year, drunk in her delusional notion of White Supremacy, asked to be moved out her dorm room. Can anyone imagine a future First Lady Of The United States being treated as a pariah because of her race! Well, it happened. Michelle would go on to graduate and attend Harvard Law School were she would do well. Later she would meet her husband Barack, and the rest as they say is History. There's a whole lot more to this book, but more than anything, it gives a very sensitive and reverential account of Michelle's life, written from an angle of positive wonder. For all of those who are Barack and Michelle Obama fans, there is another book that complements this one. In Thomas D. Rush's “Reality's Pen: Reflections On Family, History & Culture,” you will find a 1989 account of two private conversations between Rush and President Obama. In those conversations, Barack reflects on what he envisions in his romantic future, long before he met Michelle. The account is special, in part, because it contains substance that only Rush and Obama heard. It is also special because the comments were made before Barack became famous between he and another guy who were just normal, everyday guys. The interaction is detailed on page 95 of Rush's book in a piece called “You Never Know Who God Wants You To Meet.” The Obama story is just one of the many rich stories from the book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jacob J.

    I chose this book as a joke. I saw it on a bookshelf and thought, “HAHA MICHELLE OBAMA”. Little did I know that I would hate the book, but i'll get into that later. I also chose it because of the memes that were popular at the time that I read it. In addition to this my friends thought I should read it as a joke too. From politics to all the high-up jobs that Michelle Obama had, this book tells all. The book was a roller coaster of all the witty comments that she had made and the warmth and I chose this book as a joke. I saw it on a bookshelf and thought, “HAHA MICHELLE OBAMA”. Little did I know that I would hate the book, but i'll get into that later. I also chose it because of the memes that were popular at the time that I read it. In addition to this my friends thought I should read it as a joke too. From politics to all the high-up jobs that Michelle Obama had, this book tells all. The book was a roller coaster of all the witty comments that she had made and the warmth and niceness that people felt while around her. Starting off nicely with talking about her childhood in Chicago and how she went to college at Princeton and later Harvard law school. We learned of the origins of the political power couple and how they got to where they are today. The book talked about her many jobs including, vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center and later a full time Mom during her husbands two Presidential terms. The book also included how she was nicknamed “the boss” by Barack Obama. The author did an amazing job with this book. It is very hard to create a fully accurate and unbiased biography in the sense that you are telling the story of others whose memory may have been smudged. They described the minute details very well and did a great idea spreading out details that makes the reader not get overwhelmed. However the cons of the book was that for a younger audience like me it is near impossible to want to read the biography. Don’t get me wrong some details were interesting however there was so much information that you just get overwhelmed. The details and facts were spread out but it was still hard to read. I'm guessing that this book would be a good source in a college paper on the ex-POTUS however I would not recommend it to a friend my age.

  27. 4 out of 5

    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 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 had multiple opportunities to work in corporate law and live the high life. The other thing I took away from it was how race relations affected her growing up and most likely still do (growing up in a black neighborhood, witnessing "white flight", going to an integrated high school for gifted students, then going to a not so integrated Princeton at the peak of the affirmative action debate, returning to an integrated upper class neighborhood in Hyde Park but still being so close to segragated urban neighborhoods in poverty. It seems as if a lot of people were interviewed for the book, but it was people who maybe talked to her one time in high school. "oh yeah I was in her class; she seemed nice." The author used a quote from Michelle made to a high school typing teacher, probably offhandedly, something like eight times to illustrate "Michelle's true character." There are some direct quotes from Michelle, but they were all taken from other interviews, conferences that can be viewed online, etc. No doubt the author was trying to capitalize on the fascination America had/has with the Obamas. Also no doubt that an autobiography from the first lady herself would be much more interesting.

  28. 4 out of 5

    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 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 she entered in that phase. So, her high school was a new experiment in diversity, and her college - Affirmative Action was a big debate at the time, and so on. I found those parts really fascinating. Of course it's not the be-all and end-all truth about any of the situations, just one perspective; and as such, very interesting. Then Barack comes into the picture, and it becomes more about them, and her in relation to him; which is not really surprising or anything, but different. The Barack storyline is a very fascinating one. And part of the story was about how her story is backgrounded to his, and there's commentary on that. It all feels like, not THE truth necessarily, but an in-the-ballpark telling of mostly well-known aspects of their lives, all brought together in one volume. In a good way. Useful to me, as I didn't read so much about them at the time in order to not jinx it (or something). If only it were authorized, I'd feel so much better. I understand there is something else coming out that is authorized, will read that for sure as well.

  29. 4 out of 5

    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 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 started dating. After three years, Michelle left the firm and married Barack. After having two young children, Barack decided that he wanted to get involved in politics. Michelle was reluctant about his decision at first, but then ended up supporting him. Well, we know the ending of this story as Obama enjoyed politics, was good at it and eventually became President of the US. Like her husband, Michelle had ambitions to change the world. She went and got herself an excellent education, worked as an attorney for a few years and got married and had two healthy girls. Now this smart, outspoken woman is First Lady. I liked the book. It reviewed some of the things I already knew about Michelle Obama from the media and filled in for me some of the missing pieces.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Adrienna

    "The world tells us not to search too high, it puts all kinds of barriers--she admits she was confronted by people who had certain expectations of her and hearing she could not do it." She graduated with department honors! She also followed her heart and natural inclinations--doing what she felt rather than what was expected of her. (This is encouraging and keeps me pressing through to accomplish my dream goals too). "Career motivated by passion and not just money" (page 116). But what startled me "The world tells us not to search too high, it puts all kinds of barriers--she admits she was confronted by people who had certain expectations of her and hearing she could not do it." She graduated with department honors! She also followed her heart and natural inclinations--doing what she felt rather than what was expected of her. (This is encouraging and keeps me pressing through to accomplish my dream goals too). "Career motivated by passion and not just money" (page 116). But what startled me a little bit is that she never was really committed to any one career and doesn't have a passionate professional calling; yet when she does something, she does it with passion and well from what I have seen on TV screen, and saw her once at a rally in WI. Moreover, I loved how it spoke about her "now/never attitude" which I have to agree. I don't want to die or get deathly ill and say to myself, 'I wish I did that...instead say, 'I accomplished that...but with a now or never attitude!' And look back and say 'I did, said, accomplished that in my life!'' Leisure read 2015 Adrienna Turner www.adriennaturner.net www.dream4more.org

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