The Bridge - The Life and Rise of Barack Obama

"The Bridge" describes the very personal details of the family and life of Barack Obama as well as the political and social conditions which allowed him to become the first African-American President of the United States. The author, David Remnick, who is a journalist, traces the historical aspects of the civil rights movement which began in slavery, advanced to a Bloody Sunday race confrontation in Selma Alabama and climaxed in the 2009 inauguration.

Much of the personal story of Barack Obama could be found in his autobiography or in the numerous biographical snippets found and presented by the media throughout his rise to political power. His family situation as a lone black child living with his grandparents in Hawaii while his abandoning father returned to Africa and his mother resided in Indonesia helped to develop independence and strength in the man who would be President. He struggled with identity issues and as a teenager made some poor choices but, his intelligence and desire to make a difference in the lives of others encouraged him to take risks. His work as a community organizer in Chicago and then as the first black head of the Law Review provided valuable experiences for him to build upon.

But Barack Obama would likely have not been President if it had not been for the sacrifice of others who went before him to open doors for him. People like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Andrew Young fought for the things that were denied African-Americans but commonplace for the white population.

And the political climate which had evolved through George Bush's Presidency opened the door even further. Economy difficulties, lack of trust in government and the drain caused by two wars, made Obama's motto of "Change we can believe in" very appealing to voters.

The fact that Obama had a young team who knew how to use the internet to organize a movement, left his opponents at a disadvantage for both financial and manpower resources.

This book is not just a biography. It is a story which offers details about the environment, historical context and circumstances that allowed an individual to rise to the most powerful position in the world.

The story itself is 586 pages but each one presents well-researched data that is wound into a fascinating narrative. This is a great read and I enjoyed every line!

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