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Obamas’ Strong Marriage Produces White House Drama, Dysfunction

The endpapers provide maps of the White House, while the front cover shows the First Couple’s heads in beaming clinch. On the back they’re walking from a well-lit room into a dark hallway, eyes down, mouths somber.

The iconography that frames Jodi Kantor’s “The Obamas” is as curious as her tale of Barack and Michelle’s first 1,000 days: a mix of personal and political, of diary and elegy that assays “the impact of their partnership ... on the presidency, the job of first lady, and the nation.”