CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

Barack Obama Had an ‘Iron Will’ to Succeed—but What Was at His Core?

Biographer David J. Garrow Explains How the 44th President Compartmentalized and Rewrote His Life

Historian David J. Garrow acknowledges that he’s “cynical” about Barack Obama, a conclusion that he reached while conducting 1,000 interviews and spending nine years researching the formation and political rise of America’s 44th president. Garrow shared some of his reasons for what he called his “huge disappointment” with the Obama presidency at a Zócalo/KCRW “Critical Thinking with Warren Olney” event, “How Did Barack Obama Create Himself?”. Hosted by Olney, the longtime KCRW radio personality and dean of Los Angeles news broadcasters, the evening echoed many of the thematic lines—and withering criticisms—that surface in Garrow’s 1,400-page biography Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. “It’s worth reading,” Olney quipped, “but it takes a long time.” (Most reviewers agreed: The New York Times appraised Rising Star as “impressive if gratuitously snarly,” while Politico judged it to be “a masterwork of historical and …