When former Washington Post political reporter David Maraniss has a new book project, it's worth paying attention. Maraniss won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage, during the 1992 presidential campaign, of candidate Bill Clinton. Now an associate editor at the Post, he is also the author of several outstanding biographies, characterized by their deep reporting, graceful writing and probing insights into his subject, whether that is baseball legend Roberto Clemente, NFL coach Vince Lombardi or President Bill Clinton.
Maraniss has now turned his attention to the life of Barack Obama. A excerpt from his soon-to-be-published book, "Barack Obama: The Story" appears in the June issue of Vanity Fair magazine. The excerpt centers on the young Obama's romantic relationships, particularly one with Genevieve Cook, the "New York woman" during his single days after graduation from Columbia University -- "the deepest romantic relationship of his young life." You can read the excerpt here.
"This is a dangerous book for Obama," warns Politico.com.
Vanity Fair also features a question-and-answer interview with Maraniss. Read it here.
Here's a sample from that Q&A:
What parallels, if any, did you see between Clinton and Obama?
Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both came out of dysfunctional pasts. They grew up without fathers, with mothers who were doting and ambitious but not always there, with the shadow of alcoholism hanging over the family. But the ways that they reacted to their circumstances were diametrically different. Clinton had a deep need for people from the beginning. He could never be alone. Obama did not need people in that same way. He had the sensibility of a writer or anthropologist, a participant observer. And he spent 10 years of his young adulthood trying to figure himself out. It was only once he had resolved the contradictions of his life that he felt ready to move on toward his political future.
The book will be published by Simon & Schuster on June 19th. Given the election season, and Maraniss' reputation and skill, it's bound to be very much in the conversation over the next weeks and months.
The 1981 photo of the young Obama, a student at Columbia University, in New York's Central Park is from Vanity Fair.