When Barack Obama met Genevieve Cook in 1983 at a Christmas party in New York’s East Village, it was the start of his most serious romance yet. But as the 22-year-old Columbia grad began to shape his future, he was also struggling with his identity: American or international? Black or white?
Drawing on conversations with both Cook and the president, and details from Cook’s private diaries, David Maraniss has the untold story of the couple’s time together.
Photograph from A.P. Images/Obama Presidential Campaign.

When Barack Obama met Genevieve Cook in 1983 at a Christmas party in New York’s East Village, it was the start of his most serious romance yet. But as the 22-year-old Columbia grad began to shape his future, he was also struggling with his identity: American or international? Black or white?

Drawing on conversations with both Cook and the president, and details from Cook’s private diaries, David Maraniss has the untold story of the couple’s time together.

Photograph from A.P. Images/Obama Presidential Campaign.