From the biographer of Bill Clinton, Vince Lombardi and Roberto Clemente, Barack Obama: The Story (Simon & Schuster, $32.50) is David Maraniss’s best and most ambitious work yet. The book tells the story of the forces that shaped America’s first black president. Maraniss writes with a historical sweep and sense of generational roots unmatched by previous accounts of Obama’s life. He captures Obama in very formative years trying to establish an identity and preparing for a political future.
In God’s Hotel (Riverhead, $27.95), her evocative, unvarnished, and brilliant writing debut, doctor and medical historian Victoria Sweet traces her evolution as a medical practitioner caring for society’s poorest and most downtrodden. Her experiences as a physician at one of America’s last almshouses, along with her studies of pre-modern medicine, challenge us to consider more honestly how the essence of diagnosing, treating, and caring for patients is too often devalued by modern medicine. Told through the stories of her patients, God’s Hotel is at once deeply personal, highly entertaining, and above all, important.