Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama
Front cover art for Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama.
AuthorDavid Garrow
CountryUnited States
SubjectBarack Obama
PublishedMay 9, 2017
PublisherWilliam Morrow
ISBN978-0-06-264183-0 (hardcover)

Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama is a 2017 biography of former President of the United States Barack Obama by American author and academic David Garrow.[1] It is Garrow's fifth book.[2][3]


Working on the book for nine years,[4] Garrow interviewed Obama on several occasions for the book, though much of those conversations remain off the record.[5]


The book was published by William Morrow on May 9, 2017 to mixed reviews.[6] In The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani called the book "a dreary slog of a read: a bloated, tedious and — given its highly intemperate epilogue — ill-considered book that is in desperate need of editing, and way more exhausting than exhaustive."[7] In Time, Sarah Begley said the book nevertheless did "contain intriguing insight into the growing pains of a 20-something who would go on to become the leader of the free world, most vividly in the form of letters he wrote to friends."[8] The book also includes an unpublished 1991 essay co-written by Obama and law school classmate, economist Robert Fisher,[9] arguing that black Americans should "shift away from rights rhetoric and towards the language of opportunity."[10] The essay also mentioned businessman and future president Donald Trump; "I may not be Donald Trump now but just you wait; if I don’t make it, my children will."[10][11]

Rising Star debuted at number 14 on the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover non-fiction.[12][13]


  1. ^ Ray Locker (8 May 2017). "New bio questions Barack Obama's motives in marrying Michelle". USAToday.com. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  2. ^ Meg Dalton (1 March 2018). "With Making Obama, post-presidency Obama narratives move beyond nostalgia". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  3. ^ Pat Morrison (17 May 2017). "Let's take a moment to remember Barack Obama". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  4. ^ David Smith (7 May 2017). "Obama biography stirs controversy with tales of politics, sex and a rising star". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  5. ^ Jamie Weinstein (5 April 2017). "Think You Know Everything About Obama? Guess Again, Says David Garrow". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  6. ^ Micah Mattix (20 June 2017). "Prufrock: The Real Obama, the Effects of Power on the Brain, and a History of al-Qaida". Weekly Standard. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  7. ^ Kakutani, Michiko (May 1, 2017). "A Long, Long Look at Obama's Life, Mostly Before the White House". New York Times. New York City, New York. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  8. ^ Begley, Sarah (May 3, 2017). "New Barack Obama Biography Documents Growing Pains and Young Love". Time. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  9. ^ Lozada, Carlos (2017-05-02). "Before Michelle, Barack Obama asked another woman to marry him. Then politics got in the way". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-06-11.
  10. ^ a b Preyser, Eve (May 12, 2017). "Young Obama Said the American Dream Is to Be Donald Trump". Vice. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  11. ^ Lozada, Carlos (May 2, 2017). "Before Michelle, Barack Obama asked another woman to marry him. Then politics got in the way". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  12. ^ David Greenberg (19 June 2017). "Why So Many Critics Hate the New Obama Biography". Politico. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Hardcover Nonfiction Books - Best Sellers - May 28, 2017". The New York Times. May 28, 2017. Retrieved 2018-05-08.