Rating: 5 Stars
This book is both wonderful and deeply saddening, but I am glad that I ended the year with this one. I loved looking at so many photos of a president who, not without flaws of his own, always tried to do the best for everyone - not only those who supported him. President Obama and his family are a perfect picture of the American Dream, what you can accomplish if you work hard enough and go after what you want. Through the highs and lows of his presidency, Obama was working for everyone.
I was happy to see some of my favorite photos included, and some that I had never seen before. Souza is a fantastic photographer, and we are very lucky to have such thorough documentation of a historic presidency.
- Moments Before the Inauguration (page 13)
- Hair Like Mine (pages 38-39).
- Playing in the snow with Malia and Sasha during the snow storms that shut down Washington (pages 78-79)
- Working to get the Affordable Care Act passed (pages 82-83)
- Meeting an Army Ranger - Again (pages 86-87)
- Coaching one of Sasha's basketball games (pages 118-119)
- The Osama Bin Laden Raid (pages 130-135)
- The Worst Day of His Presidency - the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School (pages 200-203)
- President and First Lady crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7th, 2015 on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma (page 254)
- The White House lit up in colors of the rainbow to celebrate the Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage. It took longer than I would have liked for him to come around to fully supporting it, but we got it! (page 269)
- Dream Big Dreams (page 298-299)
The Final Days section was the hardest to get through, because it was the end of something great and beautiful and hopeful. Even then, Souza captured so many compelling images that made me sad and hopeful at the same time. Photos in this section included President Obama awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to his BFF Joe Biden (page 338), President Obama leaving the Oval Office for the last time as president on the morning of January 20th, 2017, then the final image of President Obama on Executive One, flying away from the White House after the inauguration (pages 346-347).
This is an absolutely stunning piece of work by Pete Souza and a beautiful testament to a president who did what he could, with what he was given to work with - all while maintaining the dignity both of himself and the office, compassion, and his composure. Highly recommended.