What You Need to Read: The Barack Obama Summer Book List

With the presidency comes always a high level of scrutiny – and Barack Obama is no exception. Hundreds of books have been published about any and every topic related to Obama, and one of them – D'Souza's "Obama's Rage" -- is even being made into a movie. If you have some (read: a lot) of extra time this summer, take a look at what all these authors have to say about the president by working your way through the Barack Obama summer reading list.

PHOTO: The cover of Barack Obama's book "Dreams from my Father" is shown here.
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In His Own Words: Autobiographies

Obama's two autobiographies, have recently been highly scrutinized as the president enters his reelection campaign, and both address distinct aspects of the president's life pre-White House. "Dreams from My Father," an examination of Obama's own childhood and identity development, was originally published in 1995, and reissued in 2004 after Obama's increase in popularity. "The Audacity of Hope," released in the summer of 2008, is a call for "a new kind of politics" - a type of politics that Obama got elected on later that same year.

Dreams from My Father (1995)
The Audacity of Hope (2008)

PHOTO: The cover of Michelle Obama's book "American Grown" is shown here.
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The Obama Family

From the now-iconic first family to Obama's African ancestors, fascination with the Obama clan has taken over America after the birther controversy thrust Obama's heritage into the spotlight. Books chronicling the life of Obama's father, Obama's childhood, his mother's story and even Michelle's family background are all hot this summer - and you can't forget the first lady's debut publication, "American Grown."

The Obamas: The Untold Story of an African Family - Peter Firstbrook (2011)
The Other Barack: The Bold and Reckless Life of President Obama's Father - Sally H. Jacobs (2011)
The Obamas - Jodi Kantor (2012)
American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White, and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama - Rachel Sworns (2012)
A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother - Janny Scott (2012)
American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America - Michelle Obama (2012)

PHOTO: The cover of Josh Gottheimer's and Mary Frances Berry's book "Power in Words: The Stories behind Barack Obama's Speeches," is shown here.
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Friendly Biographies

Aspects of Obama's life story and journey to the White House resonate with many Americans - white and black, rich and poor, young and old. The inspirational aspects of Obama's life provide plenty of material for biographers partial to the president, as indicated by the long list of flattering biographies that line the shelves in bookstores around the country. From those who have sung Obama's praises since before his presidency to those who have chronicled his years in DC, these biographers paint a rosy picture of the president's accomplishments.

Barack Obama: This Improbable Quest - John Wilson (2007)
Hopes and Dreams: The Story of Barack Obama - Steve Dougherty (2007)
Barack Obama: An American Story - Bob Carlton & Ariele Gentiles (2008)
The Faith of Barack Obama - Stephen Mansfield (2008, new edition 2011)
The Audacity to Win - David Plouffe (2009)
The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama - David Remnick (2010)
Power in Words: The Story Behind Barack Obama's Speeches - Mary Frances Berry, Josh Gottheimer & Theodore Sorenson (2011)

PHOTO: The cover of David Maraniss book "Barack Obama The Story" is shown here.
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Not-So-Friendly Biographies

Most recently, David Maraniss wrote up his own take on Barack Obama's childhood, fact-checking the president's biography and highlighting inconsistencies and contradictions. Other unfriendly biographies, released around the time of Obama's first bid for the presidency, attack his credentials and policies, and even his family background, in D'Souza's case, but all critiques are worth a read - you've got to get both sides of the story, after all.

The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media's Favorite Candidate - David Freddoso (2008)
The Audacity of Deceit: Barack Obama's War on American Values - Brad O'Leary (2008)
The Roots of Obama's Rage - Dinesh D'Souza (2010)
The Brief Against Obama: The Rise, Fall & Epic Fail of the Hope & Change Presidency - Hugh Hewitt (2012)
Barack Obama: The Story - David Maraniss (2012)

PHOTO: The cover of Larry Sinclair's book "Barack Obama & Larry Sinclair: Cocaine, Sex, Lies & Murder?" is shown here.
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Conspiracy Theories

There are the unfriendly biographies, and then there are the conspiracy theory biographies. For the juiciest in Obama-related slams, see these few books - from Sinclair's claims that Obama had homosexual affairs and committed murder, to Kurtz' assertion that Obama is a socialist, to Tarpley's expose of Obama as a "foundation operative and agent of Wall Street finance capital," to media-related conspiracies, it's all here.

Barack H. Obama: The Unauthorized Biography - Webster Tarpley (2008)
Barack Obama & Larry Sinclair: Cocaine, Sex, Lies & Murder? - Larry Sinclair (2009)
A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media - Bernard Goldberg (2009)
Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism - Stanley Kurtz (2010)
The Secret Life of Barack Hussein Obama - Mondo Frazier (2011)

PHOTO: The cover of Daniel Klaidman's book "Kill or Capture" is shown here.
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Policy Books

And then there are the authors that take a good, hard look at what Obama's presidency has done for politics and what he has done with his presidency in terms of drones, transparency and more - all topics worth considering as voters preparing to head to the ballot box in November.

The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama - Gwen Ifill (2009)
Obama's Wars - Bob Woodward (2011)
Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power - David Sanger (2012)
Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency - Daniel Klaidman (2012)

PHOTO: The cover of Barack Obama's book "Of Thee I Sing" is shown here.
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Kids' Books

The little ones need something to read, too, and getting them involved in current affairs at a young age can't hurt. Obama's "Letter to My Daughters" is touching and adorable, a call to patriotism and historic knowledge for children. Krensky's simple biography of Obama gives kids a straightforward look at the president, while the more textured biography written by Andrews and Nyoro focuses more on questions of race and identity formation during Obama's childhood.

DK Biography: Barack Obama - Stephen Krensky (2009)
Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters - Barack Obama (2010)
Who Am I? The Story of Barack Obama - Phyllis Andrews & Peter Nyoro (2010)

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