Barack Obama: Der schwarze Kennedy

Barack Obama - Der schwarze Kennedy
Author Christoph von Marschall
Country Germany
Language German
Subject Barack Obama
Genre Biography
Publisher Orell Füssli
Publication date
Media type Hardcover
ISBN 978-3-280-06108-4
OCLC 254783705

Barack Obama – Der schwarze Kennedy (English: Barack Obama – The black Kennedy) is a best-selling German-language biography of President of the United States Barack Obama by journalist Christoph von Marschall.[1] The book was written by Marschall while he spent much of 2007 travelling with Obama's presidential campaign as a reporter for the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel. It covers Obama’s life from his childhood, through his college years, his time as a community organizer in Chicago, Illinois, and his political career including his 2008 presidential campaign. Marschall sums up his impressions of Obama by saying, “Seine Lebensgeschichte steht für den amerikanischen Traum.” (“His life story stands for the American Dream.”)[2]

The title of the book, which implies a close similarity between Obama and John F. Kennedy, seemed gimmicky to some people when it was published in December 2007. However, in the following months many other Germans compared the two men and expressed hope that an Obama presidency would bring better relations between the United States and Europe. Kennedy is very popular in Germany, with many recalling his famous statement, “Ich bin ein Berliner" (“I am a Berliner”) – given in West Berlin in 1963 at the height of the Cold War. Steffen Hallaschka, a moderator for Germany's NDR TV, said: "Germans in the '60s projected a lot of hope and fantasies on Kennedy. This is what they are doing with Obama."[3]

Barack Obama – Der schwarze Kennedy has been credited with helping to inspire interest in and support for Obama among people in Germany, with "der schwarze Kennedy" becoming a popular expression. Marschall, however, has pointed out in some interviews that Obama’s Democratic Party primary rival Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, are also popular in Germany and in the rest of Europe.[4][5]


  1. Kulish, Nicholas (January 6, 2008). "Germany's Got a Crush on Obama". New York Times Politics Blog. Retrieved 18 December 2008. “Only a small, informed minority knew about Barack Obama in December,” said Christoph von Marschall, Washington bureau chief for the Tagesspiegel newspaper, whose book, Barack Obama, The Black Kennedy, came out then. He said after the Iowa Caucuses last week, interest in Mr. Obama and sales of the book – which was sold out on the German Amazon Web site – suddenly surged.
  2. Wer ist der schwarze Kennedy?, Der Tagesspiegel, August 1, 2008 (German)
  3. Europe's enthralled by U.S. presidential race, San Francisco Chronicle, February 17, 2008
  4. Views of the race from across the Atlantic, Alex Koppelman,, March 7, 2008
  5. Clinton or Obama? Germany Gripped by US Primaries Drama, DW-World, March 5, 2008
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