A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother

Janny Scott. Riverhead, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-59448-797-2
The mother of a path-breaking politician was a quiet revolutionary in her own right, according to this vibrant biography. Former New York Times reporter Scott paints Stanley Ann Dunham (1942–1995) as a study in unconventionality: a white woman who entered an inter-racial marriage at a time when they were illegal in many states; bore a son at 18; became an expatriate who thrived in the alien culture of Indonesia after her divorce from Obama's father. In Indonesia, she remarried and bore a daughter but ultimately became a single mother who forged a significant career as an anthropologist and economic-development expert. Drawing on Dunham's personal and professional writings and reminiscences by friends, colleagues, and the president and his half-sister, the author sensitively portrays a woman of both the warm sociability and charisma and a sharp, strong-willed and sometimes prickly intellect. Scott links Dunham to her son's commitment to community organizing and public service and to her own mother's pioneering success as a banker. But what is most striking in this account is how much Dunham was her own woman, determined to follow a wandering star despite personal setbacks and social disapproval. Scott gives us a vivid, affecting profile of an unsung feminist pioneer who made breaking down barriers a family tradition and whose legacy extends well beyond her presidential son. Photos. (May 3)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-101-49690-9
Open Ebook - 978-1-101-50450-5
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-59448-559-6
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-101-51390-3
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