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Download The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama Audiobook

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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (971 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Remnick Narrator: Mark Deakin Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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No story has been more central to America’s history this century than the rise of Barack Obama, and until now, no journalist or historian has written a book that fully investigates the circumstances and experiences of Obama’s life or explores the ambition behind his rise. Those familiar with Obama’s own bestselling memoir or his campaign speeches know the touchstones and details that he chooses to emphasize, but now—from a writer whose gift for illuminating the historical significance of unfolding events is without peer—we have a portrait, at once masterly and fresh, nuanced and unexpected, of a young man in search of himself, and of a rising politician determined to become the first African American president.

The Bridge offers the most complete account yet of Obama’s tragic father, a brilliant economist who abandoned his family and ended his life as a beaten man; of his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, who had a child as a teenager and then built her career as an anthropologist living and studying in Indonesia; and of the succession of elite institutions that first exposed Obama to the social tensions and intellectual currents that would force him to imagine and fashion an identity for himself. Through extensive on-the-record interviews with friends and teachers, mentors and disparagers, family members and Obama himself, David Remnick allows us to see how a rootless, unaccomplished, and confused young man created himself first as a community organizer in Chicago, an experience that would not only shape his urge to work in politics but give him a home and a community, and that would propel him to Harvard Law School, where his sense of a greater mission emerged.

Deftly setting Obama’s political career against the galvanizing intersection of race and politics in Chicago’s history, Remnick shows us how that city’s complex racial legacy would make Obama’s forays into politics a source of controversy and bare-knuckle tactics: his clashes with older black politicians in the Illinois State Senate; his disastrous decision to challenge the former Black Panther Bobby Rush for congress in 2000; the sex scandals that would decimate his more experienced opponents in the 2004 senate race; and the story—from both sides—of his confrontation with his former pastor Jeremiah Wright. By looking at Obama’s political rise through the prism of our racial history, Remnick gives us the conflicting agendas of black politicians: the dilemmas of men like Jesse Jackson, John Lewis, and Joseph Lowery, heroes of the civil rights movement, who are forced to reassess old loyalties and understand the priorities of a new generation of African American leaders.

The Bridge revisits the American drama of race, from slavery to civil rights, and makes clear how Obama’s quest is not just his own but is emblematic of a nation where destiny is defined by individuals keen to imagine a future that is different from the reality of their current lives.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Writing with emotional precision and a sure knowledge of politics, Mr. Remnick situates Mr. Obama’s career firmly within a historical context.”

    New York Times 

  • “Brilliantly constructed, flawlessly written…A near-definitive study of Obama.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “If you care about American politics, you have to read The Bridge.”


  • “There are a few people of such skill that envy gives way to admiration, and one is left feeling not hostility but respect. Remnick is one of those exceptional practitioners.”


  • “His work will serve as a building block for all future works on Obama…Lovely and assured.” 

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “An insightful, nuanced look at the making of the forty-forth president, placing his career in the context of history.” 

    Chicago Tribune

  • “The book’s insights into Obama’s character will be very useful for understanding the man's performance as president.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Engaging…Sparkling.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “An expansive work.”


  • “Remnick deserves credit for telling Obama’s story more completely than others, for lending a reporter’s zeal to the task, for not ducking the discussion of race, and for peeling back several layers of the onion that is Barack Obama.” 

    Washington Post

  • “[Remnick] manages to mine this young president’s familiar story…and find new insights.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “What Remnick brings to a complex story are the tools of an exceptional reporter: persistence, curiosity, insight…Rich in reflections and refractions.”


  • “Insightful, [a] valuable book…Remnick places Obama’s story squarely in the framework of America’s civil rights struggle.”

    New Statesman

  • “Compelling…A living metaphor for an increasingly diverse America…Remnick is one of the finest journalists in America and has delivered a thorough, well-crafted early entry in what is sure to be a long list of Obama biographies.”

    St. Petersburg Times

  • “Absorbing and seminal…Remnick is the most gifted and versatile journalist in America…The Bridge is the first truly great biography of the man in all his promise and complexities.”

    San Antonio Express-News

  • “Masterful, absorbing…A splendid synthesis, an argument for [Remnick’s] reporting gifts…For those interested in race as a social construct, The Bridge is essential reading.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Superb…Remnick is a master blender of history, reporting, and narrative.”

    Seattle Times

  • “The book’s strengths should appeal to readers of all political stripes: a real depth of reporting and the elegant grace of Remnick’s literary style…The reader is left with a nuanced account of our president’s self-crafted development.” 

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • “A lively and enjoyable biography that is likely to remain definitive…Remnick should already be planning a sequel.”

    Washington Monthly

  • “Narrator Mark Deakins delivers an excellent performance, especially in his re-creation of key speeches. From his timing to his timbre, he sounds just like the president.”

    Library Journal (audio review)

  • “Eye-opening…Remnick’s fluent writing makes this expansive, significant book move along swiftly.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Nonfiction
  • One of the 2010 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Ray Daniel | 2/19/2014

    " I recommend this book without reservation. It is, surprisingly, a page turner and it gives rounded insight into Obama and his place in the history of racial progress in the US. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Glenn Hyman | 2/14/2014

    " Remnick is a brilliant writer. Editor at New Yorker. I read the Vintage Books edition, copyright 2011. It has a new epilogue, which is not really a reason to get this edition. The book shows how so much of the American story is about race - especially politcs. I read this book quickly and found it to be a page turners. He is now perfectly tee-ed up to write the next big book about Obama. But will Obama win in 2012? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Katharine Watt | 2/6/2014

    " This is an absolutely must-read, for anyone interested in the people, cultures, and life events that shaped Barack Obama and led him to become the compelling candidae that won the U.S. presidency in 2008. David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, has done a masterful job of researching exhaustively and weaving together the strands of Obama's like to provide a fascinating and evenhanded picture that is the first character study (more than a bio) of this relatively young man. Before, we heard from Obama on Obama (his two books: Dreams from my Father and The Audacity of Hope--both wonderful, but not dispassionate). The Bridge belongs on every political and history lover's book shelf. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Anita Dawson | 2/5/2014

    " This is the first novel that I have read that explained the depth of the decisions that were made during the rise of Barack Obama. The events were extremely detailed that it was obvious that the author researched the topic. This account brings another perspective to why President Obama decided to run for office and the challenges that he faced while on the campaign trail. "

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