President Barack Obama received ten thousand letters a day from his constituents. Every evening for eight years, at his request, President Obama was given ten handpicked letters written by ordinary American citizens—the unfiltered voice of a nation. This is the story of the private and profound relationship with letter writers that shaped his presidency.
Laskas captured the poignancy of that moment of transition ... In earlier chapters, when diving headlong into the lives of the letter writers, Laskas blends her authorial voice in joyous perspective-bending streams of consciousness reminiscent of Tom Wolfe at his best. But when she is finally face-to-face with Obama, that style necessarily fades ... It may be trite to say that To Obama is itself a love letter, but that’s how it reads.
It makes a moving and inevitably nostalgic or even elegiac read, redolent of the human grace and statesmanship of the Obama presidency, qualities so brutally absent in the current administration ... beautifully researched and written.
There is little documentation of how previous administrations handled constituent mail ... To Obama is an insightful study of a president who listened to even his harshest critics with grace and humility ... Curiously absent from the book are letters the OPC must have received from birthers, tea partyers and other pre-MAGA prototypes questioning Obama’s U.S. citizenship and misidentifying his religion ... their inclusion would have provided insight into that constituency.