To Obama, With Love, Joy, Hate and Despair
One of the most important politics books of the year To Obama is a record of a time when politics intersected with empathy A TELEGRAPH BOOK OF THE YEAR Every day President Obama received ten thousand letters from ordinary American citizens Every night he read ten of them before going to bed In To Obama Jeanne Marie Laskas interviews President Obama the letter writers themselves and the White House staff in the Office of Presidential Correspondence who were witness to the millions of pleas rants thank yous and apologies that landed in the mailroom during the Obama years There is Peggy a patriotic grandmother who thinks the President is trying to lead the country into socialism James who on the morning after the election tells the President to start packing and Dawn who writes to say that he made it possible for a very jaded generation to begin to hope and believe in the good They wrote to Obama out of gratitude and desperation in their darkest times of need with anger fear and respect To Obama is an intimate look at one man s relationship with the American people and at how this extraordinary dialogue shaped an era defining presidency
- Every evening for 8 years, at his request, President Obama received a binder containing ten handpicked letters from ordinary American citizens -- the unfiltered voice of a nation -- from his Office of Presidential Correspondence. He was the first to President to save constituent mail, and this is the story of how those letters affected not only the President and his policies, but also the deeply committed people who were tasked with opening the millions of pleas, rants, thank yous, and apologies that landed in the White House mailroom.
- Based on the popular New York Times article, "To Obama," Laskas now interviews the letter writers themselves and the White House staff who sifted through the powerful, moving, and incredibly intimate narrative of America during the Obama years emerges: There is Kelli, who saw her grandfathers finally marry - legally -- after 35 years together; Bill, a lifelong Republican whose attitude toward immigration reform was transformed when he met a boy escaping M-16 gang leaders in El Salvador; Heba, a Syrian refugee who wants to forget the day the tanks rolled into her village; Marjorie, who grappled with disturbing feelings of racial bias lurking within her during the George Zimmerman trial; and Vicki, whose family was torn apart by those who voted for Trump and those who did not.
- They wrote to Obama out of gratitude and desperation, in their darkest times of need, in search of connection. They wrote with anger and respect. And together, this chorus of voices achieves a kind of beautiful harmony: here is a diary of a nation. To Obama is an intimate look at one man's relationship to the American people and the intersection of politics and empathy in the White House.
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