There's been no shortage of books about President
His second term, to begin with his inauguration Monday, doubtless will fuel thousands more.
This piece first ran in Printers Row Journal, delivered to Printers Row members with the Sunday
Tribune nation and world editor Kerry Luft, who directed the paper's coverage of the first two years of the Obama administration as Washington bureau chief, picked these as his must-reads for those interested in Obama and the presidency.
Barack Obama: The Story, by David Maraniss (Simon & Schuster, $18 paper)
Exhaustively researched, this seminal and sometimes cumbersome book is the best examination to date of the forces that shaped Obama, from post-colonial African politics to his work as a community organizer he did as a young man in Chicago. Likely to be the first in a multivolume biography, it ends as Obama heads to law school at Harvard with some inklings but no real sense of his destiny.
Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama (Broadway, $14.95 paper)
Read this not as history — the Maraniss book points out several places where Obama's 1995 narrative veers from actual fact — but as literature and an insight into the way Obama views himself. It also is a reminder that Obama is probably the best stylist to sit in the Oval Office since
The Obamas, by Jodi Kantor (Back Bay, $16 paper)
It's too bad that the news stories generated by this book focused on the trivial — former press secretary
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin (Simon & Schuster, $21)
OK, so this book is not about Obama at all. But Goodwin's masterful look at Lincoln and how he stroked, prodded and led three former political rivals whom he appointed to his cabinet still has lessons for present-day observers of Washington, a city teeming with big personalities and even bigger egos. You can't read it without wondering how Lincoln would manage those egos in the era of the 24-hour news cycle, the blogosphere and viral videos.
The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon
Another book that's not about Obama: Instead, this fourth volume in Caro's biography of Lyndon B. Johnson shows just how good political biography can be and leads one to suspect that the best book on the Obama presidency is years, perhaps decades, in the future.