Obama book filled with surprises, insights, author claims
There’s more to former President Barack Obama than meets the eye, according to the new book Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama.
In the book, author David Garrow takes an in-depth look at Obama’s immersion in black culture, his rise in politics, and his relationships with controversial figures like Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
“He’s unhappy with some of my conclusions and some of my perceptions,” Garrow told Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson, co-hosts of "Chicago’s Morning Answer" radio show.
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
“I think that’s inescapable when you’re writing about someone who has built up a political story of their own that they are attached to preserving,” Garrow said.
Garrow uncovers a relationship he said Obama had with a woman of Dutch and Japanese decent that he said played a pivotal role in Obama’s early years in the Hyde Park area of Chicago.
“While he’s really immersing himself for the first time in black Chicago, he’s also living very quietly and privately with a woman who is a graduate student at the U of C,” Garrow said.
The relationship was very intense, according to Garrow, but the woman had her own academic plans and aspirations and their relationship eventually ended.
Obama’s time as a community organizer didn’t go as he planned either, Garrow asserts.
“Barack and his colleagues tried to build up church-based community groups and without much success,” Garrow said.
After hitting may roadblocks as a community organizer, Obama decided to get into politics. Garrow said Obama was inspired by former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and former Sen. Emil Jones and used his ties to Ayers and Dohrn.
“By the time the Obamas came to know Bill and Bernardine, they were entirely well-accepted members of the Chicago community, in part because Bill comes from such a prominent, old Chicago family,” Garrow said.
Garrow also argued that he knows why it’s been difficult to get Obama’s college transcripts.
“There’s one elective course he enrolled in as an undergraduate at Columbia titled 'state socialist society,'" he said. "That’s why the transcripts have never been released."
One of the most shocking things Garrow said he learned while writing his book is that Obama has an unpublished book in which he writes about race.
“Republicans could have had a field day making TV ads out of some of those statements in this unpublished manuscript,” Garrow said.
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