“Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama,” an exhaustive, 1,400-page biography written about former President Barack Obama that focuses on Obama’s pre-White House life is set to hit bookshelves May 9, and among other bold claims made, one in particular is that the president at one point considered pursuing a “gay relationship” after being inspired by an assistant professor.
David Garrow, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s biography “Bearing the Cross,” spent the better part of the previous decade documenting pieces of Obama’s life that were not generally known to the public, according to the Daily Beast.
During his time at Occidental College, Garrow notes, Obama had an openly gay assistant professor named Lawrence Goldyn with whom he developed a friendship “beyond the classroom,” according to the Daily Mail.
In the book, Garrow writes that Obama, “wrote somewhat elusively to his first intimate girlfriend that he had thought about and considered gayness but ultimately decided that a same-sex relationship would be less challenging and demanding than developing one with the opposite sex.”
Garrow opted for a look into Obama’s formative years, rather than focus on his two-term presidency. During an interview on “The Jamie Weinstein Show,” Garrow discussed the book at length, often lamenting how little coverage Obama received before running for president.
“I think that people, irrespective of their political views or partisan identification, will be astonished — I cannot say that too strongly — will be profoundly astonished by how much important substance of Barack Obama’s life has not previously been known,” Garrow told Weinstein in April 2017.
Garrow paid close attention to the details of Obama’s life while at Occidental College in California, as well as his time as a law student at Harvard. Much of what Garrow found, he claims, would paint an “unflattering” picture of Obama’s formative years. He describes stumbling upon a manuscript of an unpublished book written by Obama and his friends during their time at Harvard, much of which Garrow believes would have been detrimental to Obama’s political career had someone found it.
“Particularly the 140 pages or so of that manuscript that are about race give significant insight into Barack’s thinking, you know, when he was leaving law school, about to enter into public life in Illinois.”
“Had some Republican opposition researcher come up with” the book manuscript he wrote in law school, Garrow said, “there are multiple things that could have been used to [attack] him.”
Garrow says he conducted more than 1,000 interviews in writing “Rising Star,” including an ex-girlfriend of Obama’s that provides some of the more salacious claims about Obama’s personal life.
Many details of Obama’s private persona also appear In Obama’s self-written memoir “Dreams From My Father,” according to The New York Times. The newspaper disagrees with Garrow’s claim that much of Obama’s life has been kept secret, instead claiming a myriad of newspaper and magazine articles had already detailed much of what Garrow offers in “Rising Star.”
Garrow and Obama had several off-the-record meetings, according to Garrow, and he does not deny that Obama disagrees “very strongly” with some of the claims Garrow makes in the book.
Sources: Daily Beast, The New York Times, Daily Mail / Photo credit: Marc Nozell/Flickr