Sunday, December 21, 2008

Codes of Power or Michelle

Codes of Power: Political Thought From Plato's Cave to Game Theory (Portable Professor Series)

Author: Joshua Kaplan

and/or stickers showing their discounted price. More about bargain books

Michelle: A Biography

Author: Liza Mundy

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 morethan one hundred people, including one with Michelle herself, Mundy captures the complexity of this remarkable woman and the remarkable life she has lived.

The Washington Post - Amy Wilentz

Liza Mundy's sane and realistic biography of Michelle Obama implicitly acknowledges the new, more serious status of a presidential spouse. Although the book includes stories about who picks up his dirty socks (he does) and who has the paramount role in raising their daughters (she does), the book also takes seriously Michelle Obama's political opinions and the attempts (by her and her husband's campaign) to tweak her personality for public consumption.

Jill Ortner - Library Journal

Michelle Obama has generated plenty of blog commentary, TV interviews, and magazine covers this year, much but not all of it positive. Using interviews with her subject's family and friends, as well as the periodical record, Washington Post reporter Mundy (Everything Conceivable) presents this comprehensive look at Michelle Obama and her relationship with Barack Obama. Believing that Ms. Obama has become a role model not only for African American women but for all women trying to balance family and careers, Mundy provides insight into Ms. Obama's experiences during her youth in a tight-knit neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. She also reflects on how Ms. Obama's education at Princeton and Harvard Law during the early years of their integration affected her outlook on U.S. race relations. The author offers a balanced appraisal of her subject's accomplishments and personality, including an examination of the apparent conflict posed by her being critical of the U.S. health-care system while working as a public relations officer at the University of Chicago Hospitals, and she shows that Ms. Obama is often uncomfortable in the political arena. Mundy also offers delightful stories about the Obamas' family life. Readers who want reassurance that Michelle Obama is up to the job of First Lady and those who just want to know more about her won't be disappointed. Recommended for public libraries.

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