Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List, Where To Start

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Barack Obama's Summer Reading List
(Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

Former American President Barack Obama has shared his annual summer reading list and it’s one you should definitely bookmark

Obama is currently traveling to Africa for the first time since he left office, and his reading list is, accordingly, full of African authors which Obama describes as “some of Africa’s best writers and thinkers — each of whom illuminate our world in powerful and unique ways.” The one exception to the theme is The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes, a speechwriter for Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and one of his former national security aides. Although Obama’s full reading list included six books, which were a mix of fiction and nonfiction, here are the three we recommend packing for your next summer vacation.

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
“Mandela’s life was one of the epic stories of the 20th century. This definitive memoir traces the arc of his life from a small village, to his years as a revolutionary, to his long imprisonment, and ultimately his ascension to unifying President, leader, and global icon. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand history and then go out and change it.” — Obama

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“From one of the world’s great contemporary writers comes the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.” — Obama

The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes

The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes
“It’s true, Ben does not have African blood running through his veins, but few others so closely see the world through my eyes like he can. Ben is one of the few who’ve been with me since that first presidential campaign. His memoir is one of the smartest reflections I’ve seen as to how we approached foreign policy, and one of the most compelling stories I’ve seen about what it’s actually like to serve the American people for eight years in the White House.” — Obama

The other three books in Obama’s list were: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o and The Return by Hisham Matar.

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