David Maraniss, Pulitzer-winning journalist and biographer extraordinaire (seriously, he's chronicled the lives of everyone from Vince Lombardi to Bill Clinton), has penned a new biography of the president, and quite frankly, we can't wait to read it. Barack Obama: The Story, which hits bookshelves (and most certainly, our iPads) later this month, spans his early life up until his departure for Harvard Law School. It focuses on the themes of family, ambition, and relationships — and we're particularly intrigued by that last part.
Including the president's time at Columbia (he transferred during his junior year, from Occidental College, in L.A.), and his years in NYC, after graduation, the book promises a real understanding of how Obama became the man he is today — and that includes a very voyeuristic peek at his so-erudite love letters to a woman named Alex McNear, whom he dated in his early 20s. Reading the VF adaptation/excerpt, we learned more than a few interesting things. In list form, we'll share:
1. NYC Apartments Suck for Everyone: President Obama's first apartment in the city was on West 109th Street, up by Columbia, and it was freezing. He and his roommate both used sleeping bags on the coldest winter nights. Oh, and they apparently hung out at Tom's Restaurant (of Seinfeld fame) all the time.
2. Dating the President Must Have Been Seriously Intimidating, Even Back Then: In a letter to McNear, he opens with "I haven’t read The Waste Land for a year, and I never did bother to check all the footnotes," and goes on to expound on his own fatalism, and an interesting defense of Eliot. All in a love note. Brilliant, but heavy. And intimidating, if you ask us. And that's not just because we've only read The Waste Land once. Ever.
3. Obama Felt Antsy and Uncertain In The City, Too: From the journal of a woman named Genevieve Cook, who the president dated after college, we learn: "He is so wary, wary. Has visions of his life, but in a hiatus as to their implementation — wants to fly, and hasn’t yet started to take off, so resents extra weight." We may never soar to such great heights, but we get that antsy, anxious feeling, for sure.
Photo: Via Vanity Fair