Obama says he read 2 history books on vacation

Historians in the News
tags: Obama

In CNN interview, U.S. President Barack Obama lauds Israeli best-seller "Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind" • Obama calls it "interesting" and "provocative" • Author Yuval Noah Harari: I did not imagine the book would become such a success.

In a CNN interview that aired on Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama was asked which books he read during his last annual family vacation as president. Obama mentioned two: Colson Whitehead's "The Underground Railroad," on slavery in the United States, and "Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind," a book many in Israel would be familiar with, by Israeli author and historian Yuval Noah Harari. 

"It's a sweeping history of the human race from 40,000 feet," Obama said. "And part of what makes it so interesting and provocative is because it's such a condensed, sweeping history. It talks about some core things that have allowed us to build this extraordinary civilization that we take for granted, but weren't a given. ... It gives you a sense of perspective on how briefly we've been on this earth, how short [a time] things like agriculture and science have been around, and why it makes sense for us to not take them for granted. ... It goes back to keeping the long view in mind. ... In the sweep of history, we get a very small moment in time."

In an interview with Israel's Channel 2 News on Sunday, Harari expressed delight that his work had been recommended by the leader of the free world, and said he was surprised that Obama had time to read his book. ...

Read entire article at Israel Hayom

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