Cover image for Obama : the call of history
Obama : the call of history
First edition.
Physical Description:
319 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 31 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
This winter of our hardship -- Bring our troops home -- Time to turn the page -- A shellacking -- Justice has been done -- Fought our way back -- Governing by crisis -- Red line -- Haunted by those deaths -- Could have been me -- Never fear to negotiate -- A personal insult -- Epilogue.
Personal Subject:
"'His first line in the history books was written the day he won office as the first African-American president, but he was determined to offer more than simply a new complexion in the Oval Office.' So writes Peter Baker, Chief White House Correspondent for the New York Times, about the 44th president of the United States. In this vivid and in-depth illustrated account of Barack Obama's years in office, Baker chronicles a period of great hope, tumult, accomplishment and, yes, failure. This is the story of a young president who took on the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression, forged a controversial health care program, watched anxiously in the Situation Room after approving the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, and endured mid-term election defeats. In a presidency buffeted by one crisis after another, he struggled with the Syrian civil war, a Russian invasion of its neighbor, the rise of the Islamic State, and, at home, often violent racial strife and a recalcitrant Congress. Inspiring in a crowded stadium yet diffident behind the scenes, Obama was a master politician who loathed politics. To many, he was an enigma, often seen through the lens of the observer--a liberal zealot to the right, an overeager compromiser to the left. 'I am like a Rorschach test,' he once noted. But he was the dominant figure of his age. After eight eventful years, he would never be the same--and neither would his country."--Jacket.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book Q 973.932092 BAK 1 1
Book Q 973.932092 BAK 1 1
Book Q 973.932092 BAK 1 1
Book Q 973.932092 BAK 1 1
Book 973.932092 BAK 1 1

On Order



Nominated for a 2017 NAACP Image Award: Best Biography or Memoir

Peter Baker's authoritative history of the Obama presidency is the first complete account that will stand the test of time. Baker takes the measure of Obama's achievements and disappointments in office and brings into focus the real legacy of the man who, as he described himself, "doesn't look like all the presidents on the dollar bills."

With vivid color photographs by New York Times photographers and others of the events, major and minor, public and behind-the scenes, that defined Barack Obama's eight years in office, Obama: The Call of History is a portrait in full of America's first African-American president against the background of these tumultuous times.

Author Notes

Peter Baker is an American political writer and newspaper reporter who is currently White House correspondent for New York Times and a contributing writer for the The New York Times Magazine. He is responsible for covering President Obama and his administration.

Prior to joining The New York Times (NYT) in 2008, Baker was a reporter for 20 years at The Washington Post, where he also covered the White House during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Baker co-authored the original story breaking the Lewinsky scandal during Clinton's presidency and served as the paper¿s lead writer during the subsequent impeachment battle. During Bush¿s second term, Baker covered the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina and the Supreme Court nomination fights.

Baker is the author of many NYT bestselling books: The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton, Kremlin Rising: Vladimir Putin¿s Russia and the End of Revolution, and Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House. He won the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Coverage of the Presidency for his reporting on Bush. Baker is a regular panelist on PBS¿s Washington Week and a frequent guest on other television and radio programs.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

New York Review of Books Review

I cannot look at Peter Baker's extra-large and lavishly illustrated history of the Obama years without thinking of my mother. She supported Hillary Clinton in 2008, but after the convention she put two Barack Obama stickers on the bumper of her red Prius and they were still there the day she died, in December 2012, six weeks after she voted for him again. She was passionate about politics, and intensely partisan, and if cancer had not killed her, Trump's candidacy might well have - long before election night. But if she were here, she would buy a dozen copies of "Obama: The Call of History," lay them out on her coffee table and all over her house, and then not have the heart to crack the cover. It isn't easy. A mere 11 months since Inauguration Day, these photographs evoke not just the previous administration but, seemingly, another age. It does not matter what Obama is doing. He might be editing a speech on health care, sitting stone-faced in the Situation Room as Navy Seals approached Osama bin Laden's compound, working out with a disabled veteran, consoling the mother of a child killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting after Congress blocked gun control legislation, bending over in the Oval Office so that a curious 5-year-old could touch his hair or hugging a victim of Hurricane Sandy. Integrity like his cannot be photoshopped or feigned. In Obama's company on the Jersey Shore, even Chris Christie looks like a mensch. In addition to the many photographs, Baker's book contains a timeline, a review of the Obama years "by the numbers," reproductions of New York Times front pages and a series of short chapter-ending vignettes (some serious: Obama and the Roberts court; someless so: Obama on the basketball court). For folks who enjoy sustained narrative with their pictures and sidebars, there are also 12 chapters of recent history. Baker, The Times's chief White House correspondent through Obama's tenure, is neither fanboy nor debunker. A few sentences from his epilogue are characteristic of his determination to be fair: Obama "enjoyed two years of sweeping legislative victories arguably not seen since the days of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, then spent six years fighting for inches against an opposition-dominated Congress that he barely bothered to woo and that did not want to work with him in the first place." "He took great strides toward his goals in health care, financial regulation and climate change, only to fall short in immigration, criminal justice and income inequality." "Obama put two women on the Supreme Court and helped break down barriers for gay and lesbian Americans, even as racial minorities remained far behind in education and income." Line by line, issue after issue, Baker balances opportunities and obstacles, promises and results, criticism and praise. Obama himself takes the long view, likening the course of events to "a long-running story." Actually, it is the "one damn thing after another" out of which historians construct long-running stories. Baker's is an early draft. What historians writing decades from now make of Obama will have as much to do with what happens between now and then as it does with what happened during his presidency. The first thing that happened to Obama's political legacy was the election of Donald J. Trump, who promised to undo his signature achievements. Time will tell. Obama's reputation is another matter. Trump has already been good for that. Obama's favorability rating has risen steadily since January. And very likely not since tributes to the assassinated John F. Kennedy will a book of photographs of a president so recently departed make millions of Americans want to cry. These photographs evoke not simply another president but another age. JAMES GOODMAN, a professor of history and creative writing at Rutgers University, Newark, is the author of "Stories of Scottsboro," "Blackout" and "But Where Is the Lamb?"