A Singular Woman

  • by Janny Scott
  • Narrated by January LaVoy
  • 10 hrs and 21 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A major publishing event: an unprecedented look into the life of the woman who most singularly shaped Barack Obama: his mother.
President Obama has written extensively about his father, but little is known about Stanley Ann Dunham, the fiercely independent woman who raised him, the person he credits for, as he says, "what is best in me." Here is the missing piece of the story. Award-winning reporter Janny Scott interviewed nearly 200 of Dunham's friends, colleagues, and relatives (including both her children), and combed through boxes of personal and professional papers, letters to friends, and photo albums, to uncover the full breadth of this woman's inspiring and untraditional life, and to show the remarkable extent to which she shaped the man Obama is today.
Dunham's story moves from Kansas and Washington state to Hawaii and Indonesia. It begins in a time when interracial marriage was still a felony in much of the United States, and culminates in the present, with her son as our president - something she never got to see. It is a poignant look at how character is passed from parent to child, and offers insight into how Obama's destiny was created early, by his mother's extraordinary faith in his gifts and by her unconventional mothering. Finally, it is a heartbreaking story of a woman who died at age 52, before her son would go on to his greatest accomplishments and reflections of what she taught him.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


A three-dimensional portrait of this unusual woman. A tip: through either a production error or a hyper-caffeinated narrator, the reading of this book is much too fast...and I found it annoying. If you listen on your ipod, I suggest going to Settings and changing the speed to Slower. There's a bit of an echo but for me it was less irritating than the ridiculous speed of the reading on 'normal'.
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- lesley

What a Woman!

What a woman! I was very impressed with this book. I do not usually read non-fiction. But this was the first book available for Kindle from my local library. I downloaded the Audible version to help hold my attention to the text.

If there were any books that could bring the plight of women to light it is this book. Here we have a woman who had family who were college educated and encouraged their offspring to seek the highest education possible. This woman went to Indonesia to study the poor, especially the women.

Don't think about this book as an extension of the President. She was her own person even before her son was born. It seems she had all the breaks, got to travel and all, but she had the courage of her convictions and goals to help others.

I think many women who read this will see a part of themselves reflected back. Had my mother had the opportunity that Stanley Ann Durham had I think she would have been a happier person. Having a happy, well define parent could only result in happy, well defined children.
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- darswords "Dar"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-03-2011
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio