Rachel L. Swarns has been a reporter for the New York Times since 1995. She has written about domestic policy and national politics, reporting on immigration, the presidential campaigns of 2004 and 2008, and First Lady Michelle Obama and her role in the Obama White House. She has also worked
overseas for the New York Times, reporting from Russia, Cuba, and southern Africa where she served as the Johannesburg bureau chief. Excerpted courtesy of Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.