Book Review: Obama

After watching a PBS documentary about White House photographer Pete Souza, I very much wanted to see his photos in Obama:  An Intimate Portrait.  This coffee table book sells for less than $30 on Amazon and would make a wonderful gift to the Obama fans in your life.  Mr. Souza did a brilliant job of capturing the Obama’s time in the White House.


“Hair Like Mine.” May 8, 2009

This photo was perhaps the most popular taken by Mr. Souza.  Five year old Jacob Philadelphia asked Pres. Obama whether their hair felt the same.  The president invited little Jacob to touch his head.  The book features many poignant photos of Pres. Obama entertaining the children of his staff, and this one is my favorite.

Bo boarding Air Force One, May 27, 2010

The Obamas promised their daughters Malia and Sasha they could have a dog in the White House.  Bo is a Portuguese Water Dog and was a gift from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who had adopted Bo’s litter mate Cappy.  In 2013, the family adopted Sunny.  This photo was taken before a weekend trip back to Chicago.

Situation Room during the raid on Bin Laden, May 1, 2011

This epic photo was taken as the National Security Council waited to hear whether the Navy SEAL’s helicopter had safely lifted off after Osama “Geronimo” Bin Laden had been killed.  Pres. Obama told Mr. Souza that it was the tensest 40 minutes of his life.

President Obama sits on the famed Rosa Parks bus at the Henry Ford Museum following an event in Dearborn, MI, April 18, 2012

Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger on this bus in 1955 ~ 62 years before this epic photo was taken and 6 years before Pres. Obama was born.  Her arrest sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and fueled the Civil Rights movement which made it possible for Barack Obama to become president.  My only disappointment in the book was that Mr. Souza didn’t chronicle what was on the president’s mind:

I just sat in there for a moment and pondered the courage and tenacity that is part of our very recent history, but is also part of that long line of folks who sometimes are nameless, oftentimes didn’t make the history books, but who constantly insisted on their dignity, their share of the American dream.

“Dream Big Dreams,” February 18, 2016

Mr. Souza wrote that this photo was one of his favorites.  It was taken during a celebration of African American History Month in the East Room when Clark Reynolds, age three, met Pres. Obama.  He inscribed the photo:

Dream big dreams, and work hard to achieve them ~ you will do great things!

White House photographer Pete Souza

Mr. Souza’s book contains 347 pages of exquisite photos and brief commentary.  I loved it.  


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