David Remnick

So how’s that hopey, changy stuff working out for the publishing industry? Our nation’s 44th president reached office in large part owing to his writing ability—presenting an unlikely biography in two bestsellers that essentially shaped his winning campaign narrative. New to the teetering stack of related political books is New Yorker editor David Remnick’s generally admiring 600-page tome, The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama (Knopf, $29.95). To an extent, it adds too much to a story we already know too well. Remnick pads the book with capsule histories and mini biographies in support of his central thesis (Obama as bridge from the civil-rights era to our less racially fraught political present). But since the midterms are upon us, and the next general election only two years away, The Bridge reminds us how Obama’s carefully cultivated temperance, the “no drama” factor, has successfully carried into the White House. The Republican-Tea Party base may be angry about health-care reform, but that’s more about the legislation than the leader. A few congressional reps may lose in swing districts, but it’s hard to see a Democratic rival or credible Republican opponent in two years. (Palin? Romney? Gingrich?) Which surely means more Obama books will follow. Tonight, UW professor and author David Domke will join Remnick on stage for a conversation expected to touch on the future president’s brief residency in Seattle. In 1962, his single mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, studied here at the U and pushed her infant son around Capitol Hill in a stroller. That the sight of a white mother and black child was remarkable then, but routine now, shows how much a country can change in a single generation. BRIAN MILLER

Mon., April 19, 7:30 p.m., 2010

 
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