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Extended Audio Sample The Obamas, by Jodi Kantor Click for printable size audiobook cover
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:
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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

  • “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

  • '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
  • “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

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

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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