Conciliator-in-Chief

The Bridge
The Life and Rise of Barack Obama
David Remnick
Alfred A. Knopf, $29.95, 672 pp.

I sat a few feet from President Barack Obama for almost three hours just over a year ago. True, we never spoke. Or even shook hands. And sitting next to me was a Secret Service agent carrying a large gun concealed beneath his borrowed-for-the-occasion academic robes.

Welcome to graduation at the University of Notre Dame.

The intersection of religion and national politics is often fraught. When President George W. Bush spoke at Notre Dame’s commencement in May 2000, he annoyed...

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About the Author

John T. McGreevy is the I.A. O'Shaughnessy Dean of the College of Arts and Letters and Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.