Washington Post bestseller

I'm a Chicago-based journalist and author best known for writing the first substantive biography of Barack Obama. 


My journalism career in Chicago and the Midwest runs deep. I rooted out local corruption in my native Ohio, where my reporting helped send a cabal of government officials to prison and earned me awards in investigative journalism. In Illinois, I’ve covered urban poverty, race relations, dysfunctional public schools, political campaigns of major Illinois politicians, including Obama, Rahm Emanuel and Rod Blagojevich. I was a member of reporting teams at the Chicago Tribune that won a Pulitzer for a series on the airline industry and a national state reporting award for coverage of now-imprisoned Blagojevich.

I'm currently at work on a book about the 2014 cheating scandal surrounding Chicago's Jackie Robinson West Little League baseball team. 

My Story

"David Mendell got to Barack Obama before most of the rest of the world, telling the story of Obama's remarkable rise to power with deep reporting and in vivid detail. Obama was perhaps the most unlikely person every to seek the presidency. Mendell's fine book provides the historical backdrop for how Obama got to the starting line of that 2008 campaign. The story he tells is as fresh today as it was at the time." 

-- Dan Balz, Washington Post 

"Mendell's intimate interviews with the rising political star, and his brilliant analysis of the movement that formed around him, endure as an unparallled chronicle of the making of an American president."

-- Evan Osnos, New Yorker staff writer and National Book Award-winning author of Age of Ambition


Building the Next Serena  on the South Side


What About Me?

Little League, Big Trouble

Official Website of Best Selling Author and Journalist

“Long before Barack Obama was president, David Mendell was there, and we’re lucky he was. In OBAMA: From Promise to Power, he uses his extraordinary access to Barack and Michelle Obama, their friends and aides, to deliver an engaging and insightful portrait of one of the most intriguing leaders in modern American history.”


Author, Michelle: A Life 

Next Event
OBAMA: From Promise to Power reissue

Feb. 21, 2017