Ben Smith surveys a new biography by David Maraniss that debunks much of the myth-making in Dreams From My Father:
Obama’s conservative critics have, since the beginnings of his time on the national scene, taken the self-portrait [of Dreams] at face value, and sought to deepen it to portray him as a leftist and a foreigner. … [But] Maraniss finds that Obama’s young life was basically conventional, his personal struggles prosaic and later exaggerated. He finds that race, central to Obama’s later thought and included in the subtitle of his memoir, wasn’t a central factor in his Hawaii youth or the existential struggles of his young adulthood. And he concludes that attempts, which Obama encouraged in his memoir, to view him through the prism of race "can lead to a misinterpretation" of the sense of "outsiderness" that Maraniss puts at the core of Obama’s identity and ambition.
(Photo via Buzzfeed, which rounded up 28 more photos of young Barry)