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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (900 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jodi Kantor Narrator: Robin Miles Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2012 ISBN: 9781611139747
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When Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, he also won a long-running debate with his wife Michelle. Contrary to her fears, politics now seemed like a worthwhile, even noble pursuit. Together they planned a White House life that would be as normal and sane as possible.

Then they moved in.

In The Obamas, Jodi Kantor takes us deep inside the White House as they try to grapple with their new roles, change the country, raise children, maintain friendships, and figure out what it means to be the first black president and first lady. Filled with riveting detail and insight into their partnership, emotions and personalities, and written with a keen eye for the ironies of public life, The Obamas is an intimate portrait that will surprise even readers who thought they knew the president and first lady.

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Quotes & Awards

  • 'The strengths and challenges of our marriage don't change because we move to a different address,' Michelle Obama told Jodi Kantor early on. How though did those strengths and challenges evolve in the White House? What did they signal to the rest of the country and, how did they shape policy? An intimate, arresting view of a formidable couple and, especially, of a transformative First Lady, one who may have taught us more than we yet realize. Stacy Schiff, author of The Witches
  • A meticulous reporter, Kantor is attuned to the nuance of small gestures, the import of unspoken truths. She knows that every strong marriage, including the one now in the White House, has its complexities and disappointments. Kantor also--and this is a key--has a high regard for women, which is why hers is the first book about the Obama presidency to give Michelle Obama her due. In the process we learn a great deal about the talented and introverted loner who married her, and how his wife has influenced him as a president...Kantor retires wooden stereotypes of the political wife as prop or a problem and instead explores what it means to be a modern first lady, one with her own opinions and an expectation that she will be heard. Connie Schultz, New York Times
  • The Obamas is among the very best books on this White House. It's a serious, thoughtful book on the modern presidency in general. Ezra Klein
  • Energetically reported.... Kantor nails her story.... We political gluttons will lick the spoon clean. David Remnick, The New Yorker
  • A portrait of a remarkable marriage.... Kantor's writing is insightful and evocative, rich with detail...[and her] reporting rings true--and considering the administration's insistence on presenting a unified front, it is a considerable achievement. Kerry Luft, Chicago Tribune
  • “In lesser hands The Obamas would be an act of astonishing overreach, but Ms. Kantor, who covered the Obamas for The New York Times during the 2008 presidential campaign, and is currently a Washington correspondent for the paper, has earned the voice of authority.” 

    New York Times

  • “Energetically reported.” 

    New Yorker

  • “[Kantor’s] writing is insightful and evocative, [and] rich with detail.” 

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Jodi Kantor offers a glimpse into the tensions of a culture that expects our women to achieve as highly as our men but our first ladies to take a back seat to their presidents. The result is a sympathetic portrait of both Obamas that could help to humanize an administration criticized as being aloof and inaccessible.” 


  • “The stories are titillating, and you’ll gulp them down like salted peanuts.” 

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “[Kantor’s] thoughtful new book is fluidly written, with a canny sense for the way political marriages can be useful prisms to see into ambition, power, gender and the contradictions of public life.” 

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Kantor’s book reveals many unknown stories and revelations about the connection between the personal and political in this presidency, and how the first couple’s partnership affect us all.” 

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution

  • One of the 2012 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Florence | 2/13/2014

    " Jodi Kantor probably thought she was being objective but she paints a very unsympathetic picture of the Obamas. Michelle is shown as being controlling, defensive, uncooperative and an overprotective parent. The President is characterized as an extreme introvert, socially awkward and overconfident about his abilities. None of it rings true to me. I have seen the President and the First Lady electrify a crowd of listeners and I will never forget it. Kantor says that he is an uninspiring speaker. She seems to blame the President for the failure to accomplish many things which have deliberately been sabotaged by an energized and at times, unethical opposition. When I look at the President I see a man that towers above other politicians, ethically and intellectually . Yes, he still inspires me, but I don't claim to be objective. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jodi Welsch | 2/13/2014

    " I enjoyed this inside look at the White House and the Obamas. I think I would have liked more details about their life, relationship and Michelle. The politics slowed things down a bit for me, but overall a good read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Louise | 2/6/2014

    " This was a gossipy little book full of insider tidbits. Not a particularly flattering picture of Michelle. She comes off as a bit of a harpy. I think Ms. Kantor wanted us to know that the Obamas have warts. I guess that makes them as human as we are. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 2/3/2014

    " I am really into Michelle Obama. I'm pleased for the opportunity I got to learn more about her and the work that she's done; however, I don't think the book was particularly well written. I found this annoying at times. Kantor's portrait of the Obamas was difficult to believe at times and odd. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nmdb22 | 1/29/2014

    " Worth reading, really humanizes the Obama family with special emphasis on Michelle - however, last couple of chapters didn't say much, were repetitive and seemed to swing from Michelle being uncertain and finding her footing, and then the President became "weak" - I don't think the book shows any depth of understanding of either the President or the First Lady, but certainly has plenty of interesting vignettes to tell. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 1/27/2014

    " It is a very engaging book although at times it does feel as though it is trying too hard to be sensational and popular. Jodi Kantor is a very talented writer who makes objective observations about what the Obama's might be thinking regarding their scepticism regarding politics and the life that they have found themselves to be living. It is very entertaining however it also an air of untruth about it that makes the book that more delicious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 BetsyD | 1/21/2014

    " I enjoyed reading about the Obamas--I love Michelle and I like Barack a lot--but was less impressed by Kantor, who doesn't seem to realize that most political 'crises' are manufactured and maybe shouldn't be taken so seriously by the press. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 BlackOlive | 12/31/2013

    " Could not put this down. It's deftly written and very well sourced. Does a great job of giving the reader a glove into the dynamics of their relationship. It also opens your eyes to how things actually work in the white house and how naive and idealistic Obama had initially been. Extremely well-written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn Kearney | 12/28/2013

    " 3.5 I was so thrilled to see Jodi Kantor knew enough not to put an apostrophe in front of the "s". She's a good writer - not a Kitty Kelley - so there's more than "what was she wearing", though there's plenty of that too. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolin | 12/20/2013

    " Obama being a Democrat, this book must have been written by a republican. The way the Obamas were represented was completly opposite of what I have heard of him. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maya Hollinshead | 12/19/2013

    " It's a gossipy book about the POTUS and FLOTUS. I'm taking the stuff in there with a grain of salt. Three stars because it was easy to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 12/15/2013

    " I don't usually read political books (sorry Mr President) but I really enjoyed this one. It is a very readable book and gives insight into the East vs West wing. I still think Michelle Obama is amazing. And I have always loved the President. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leandro Nogueira | 12/5/2013

    " Good to understand and maybe justify the erratic presidential behavior on his 2 first years in White House. Less polemical than announced and less focused on the political side than I expected (sometimes it felt like written for Vanity Fair) it was at all an enjoyable reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sabrina | 2/21/2013

    " Peak behind the doors of any marriage and tell me what you see. Of course you will see tension, disagreements and misunderstandings. But you can also see affection, deep abiding love and a forever friendship. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cynthia Laird | 2/12/2013

    " Too bad the president wouldn't talk to her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Aly | 12/12/2012

    " Interesting perspectives on the Obama's first term - a lot about Michelle Obama. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kpgarlapati | 6/24/2012

    " Loved it !! It's not so much about politics as it is about The Obamas -their struggles, their difficulties, their challenges in getting the laws passed and ease into the White House. Wealth of insight!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 shaz rasul | 6/23/2012

    " Much more armchair psychiatry (conjecture about the psyche's of the Obamas) than one would have guessed, but the juxtaposition of the internal lives of the administration with the external happenings in the world was fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marselle | 5/4/2012

    " I thought it was an interesting read about the Obama Whitehouse that offered a personal glimpse into the life of the first family. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Albert | 3/29/2012

    " Fascinating look at the personal nature of the lives of the Obama family. And like him or hate him, you've got to wonder how you'd fare in his role. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Frédérique | 3/6/2012

    " Well-researched but, in the end, pretty gossipy. It's called the Obamas, but it's really about Mrs. Obama. She comes off as very likeable but a bit wary of the position she is in. I recommend. "

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About the Author
Author Jodi KantorJodi Kantor is a Washington correspondent at the New York Times. She joined the New York Times in 2003 as Arts & Leisure editor, prior to which she was the New York editor at Slate. The recipient of a Columbia Young Alumni Achievement Award, Jodi Kantor has also been named by Crain's New York Business magazine as one of "40 Under 40." She appears regularly on television, including "Today" and "Charlie Rose." She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Ron Leiber, a columnist for the New York Times, and their daughter.
About the Narrator

Robin Miles, named a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, has twice won the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration, an Audie Award for directing, and many Earphones Awards. Her film and television acting credits include The Last Days of Disco, Primary Colors, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order, New York Undercover, National Geographic’s Tales from the Wild, All My Children, and One Life to Live. She regularly gives seminars to members of SAG and AFTRA actors’ unions, and in 2005 she started Narration Arts Workshop in New York City, offering audiobook recording classes and coaching. She holds a BA degree in theater studies from Yale University, an MFA in acting from the Yale School of Drama, and a certificate from the British American Drama Academy in England.