Book Review: The Obamas: Portrait of America’s New First Family

Inauguration speech? Check. Confirmation of presidential candidacy? Got it. More Perfect Union speech on race? Right on. Democratic National Convention speech? Yes. Grant Park Election Night speech? Absolutely.

Inauguration speech? Check. Confirmation of presidential candidacy? Got it. More Perfect Union speech on race? Right on. Democratic National Convention speech? Yes. Grant Park Election Night speech? Absolutely. The editors of Essence magazine present the Special Inauguration Edition book: "The Obamas: Portrait of America’s New First Family." This 112 page, 9 1/2 x 11 book is the ultimate souvenir honoring the Obama family, from Barack’s days before he decided to run for presidency up until he won. The publication includes all of the previously mentioned speeches plus quotes from voters, excerpts of articles from 107-year-old Ann Louise Nixon Cooper (mentioned during Obama’s Grant Park speech); journalist Gwen Ifill recounts the campaign trail with Barack Obama and Michelle Obama; and includes the countdown at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta by journalist Isabel Wilkerson. And then there are the 59 phenomenal photos. By now, we’ve all seen the landscape photographs of Chief Justice John Roberts swearing in the forty-fourth president of the United States, President Barack Hussein Obama, with millions at the National Mall during January 20, 2009. We’ve seen the notorious green glove of Michelle Obama holding President Abraham Lincoln’s bible with President Barack Obama’s hand over it, ring blinging. We’ve also seen the photographs of the two waving to the crowd during the Inaugural Parade, the zany face Obama makes while in the go-carts at the Iowa State fair, crying and cheering fans, and the photo of the Obama couple dancing at the Inaugural Ball. Of course the notorious fist bump is included too. But those aren’t the photographs that kept my attention. It was the more personal photos that looked like an everyday family: First Lady Michelle Obama and Malia Obama hula hooping. Sasha and Malia in a hammock just chilling out and then laughing on a tire swing. Michelle Obama and her mother, Marian Anderson, grinning during the Democratic National Convention. Barack Obama giving a lovable peck on the temple to 5-month-old Daryn Bailey Binns. Michelle, Malia, and Sasha racing through the rain during Montana rain showers. Barack Obama chatting in a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida barbershop. Barack Obama blowing on gumbo with hot sauce at Dookie Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans. These random shots make the Obama family seem like folks you invite to your family reunion. And one of my favorite shots in the entire book is of an older gentleman with a magnifying glass placing his vote in Chicago. He wears a fitted top hat, a suit, with polished cufflinks. It looks as though he got dressed up for the occasion of voting for President Barack Obama. My only con for this publication is that I was hoping to read something about Zariff, Barack Obama’s barber, or maybe a short tale about Hyde Park. I knew enough stories about the everyday Obama voter, but I wanted to read about those who knew him best, African family members who came out for Inauguration Day; quotes from the Obamas’ relatives who we don’t hear from on their thoughts after Barack Obama won; and maybe even quotes or information on some of the celebrities who came to D.C. on Inauguration Day (John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, MC Lyte, will.i.am, Jay-Z, Denzel Washington, Diddy, Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah). However, "The Obamas: Portrait of America’s New First Family" has an excellent amount of phenomenal photography, memorable and notable speeches, and the best articles published in Essence magazine about the Obamas (ISBN 1-60320-073-8). The book released for sale on Tuesday, March 10. ______ Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender, AssociatedContent.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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