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The Obamas: A Mission, A Marriage


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Speaker(s): Jodi Kantor, Professor Sarah Churchwell

Recorded on 24 January 2012 in Old Theatre, Old Building.

Jodi Kantor will be in conversation with Professor Sarah Churchwell to discuss her new book The Obamas: A Mission, A Marriage which is an intimate portrait of the Obamas in the White House by a New York Times journalist who has been covering the President and first lady for 5 years.

The Obamas had never lived together full-time as a family until they moved into the White House - and that's where their political and personal lives became inextricable. Kantor interviewed the Obamas together in the Oval Office and is the only author to be granted access to Michelle Obama's East Wing. Filled with detail and insight into their partnership and personalities, The Obamas: A Mission, A Marriage reveals the hidden aspects of their time in the White House. With a keen eye for the ironies of public life and the realities of power, Kantor brings into sharp focus the question that underpins the Obamas' marriage: can politics achieve real change in society?

Jodi Kantor began her journalism career by dropping out of Harvard Law School to join Slate.com in 1998. Four years later, she became the youngest section editor of The New York Times, taking over and revamping the Arts & Leisure section. She began covering the Obamas for the paper in 2007, writing front-page stories that chronicled their biographies and philosophies, and also writing about Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and other major political figures along the way. She is a recipient of the Columbia Young Alumni Achievement Award, she was chosen by Crain's Magazine as one of "40 Under 40" New Yorkers, and she appears regularly on American television, including Today and the Charlie Rose Show.

Sarah Churchwell is Professor of American Literature and Public Understanding of the Humanities. Her research and teaching expertise are in 20th-21st century and contemporary American literature and culture; American film history and theory, gender theory; cultural studies and popular culture; life-writing and literary theory.

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