As the nation gears up for the second inauguration of President Obama, NPR Books dove into the archives to find some of our favorite interviews with biographers of the first family. Here, you'll find profiles of the president's mother and father, an exploration of Michelle Obama's ancestral roots, and a portrait of the president and first lady's relationship. You'll also find books written by the Obamas themselves.
A Future President Finds Himself In Obama Bio
In Barack Obama: The Story, journalist David Maraniss chronicles the president's "classic search for home." Maraniss says Obama's young life was defined by his experience of being an outsider — a feeling that stayed with him well into early adulthood. (Weekend Edition Sunday interview, June 17, 2012)
The 'Singular Woman' Who Raised Barack Obama
Stanley Ann Dunham is often identified simply as "a white anthropologist from Kansas," or "a single mother on food stamps." But biographer Janny Scott says those descriptions don't do justice to the president's mother — a complex, intellectual woman who led an "unconventional" life. (Fresh Air interview, May 3, 2011)
Barack Obama's Father: A 'Bold And Reckless Life'
Sally H. Jacobs' biography, The Other Barack, follows the troubled life of Barack Obama Sr. — from Kenya to Hawaii and back. Jacobs believes that if Obama Sr. had played a larger role in his son's life, Obama probably wouldn't have become president. (Fresh Air interview, July 1, 2011)
Michelle And Barack Obama: A Powerful Partnership
New York Times Washington correspondent Jodi Kantor interviewed more than 200 sources, including White House aides and friends of the Obamas, to paint a portrait of the first family's life inside the White House. (Fresh Air interview, Jan. 10, 2012)
The Complex 'Tapestry' Of Michelle Obama's Ancestry
New York Times reporter Rachel Swarns traces the first lady's family tree in her book, American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama. (All Things Considered interview, July 1, 2012)
Obama Shares Political Vision In 'Audacity Of Hope'
In his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope, then-Sen. Obama shares his thoughts on "reclaiming the American Dream." He talks about living a public life, his conflicting feelings about fundraising, and speculation over his presidential ambitions. (All Things Considered interview, Oct. 19, 2006)
The First Lady Cultivates 'American Grown' Gardening
One of the first things Michelle Obama did as first lady was to dig up part of the beautifully manicured South Lawn of the White House and plant a vegetable garden. In her book American Grown, she says America has a long, proud history of gardening, and it's time to reconnect with it. (Morning Edition interview, May 29, 2012)