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None of which, however, were African American, he says.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) is seen with his wife Michelle in a family snapshot from their October 18, 1992 wedding day released by Obama's US presidential campaign, February 4, 2008. Barack Obama (D-IL) and his wife Michelle wave during a rally in front of the old historic State Capitol building February 10, 2007 in Springfield, Illinois.

RISING STAR: The Making of Barack Obama By David J. Garrow portrays Obama as a man who ruthlessly compartmentalized his existence; who believed early on that he was fated for greatness; and who made emotional sacrifices in the pursuit of a goal that must have seemed unlikely to everyone but him.

Garrow attempts to do all that, but also something more: He tells us how Obama lived, and explores the calculations he made in the decades leading up to his winning the presidency.

He shares for the first time the story of a woman Obama lived with and loved in Chicago, in the years before he met Michelle, and whom he asked to marry him.

Sheila Miyoshi Jager, now a professor at Oberlin College, is a recurring presence in “Rising Star,” and her pained, drawn-out relationship with Obama informs both his will to rise in politics and the trade-offs he deems necessary to do so. Or, as he confided to very few, including Jager, he would become president of the United States.

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