Maraniss bookThere’s a touch of Pittsburgh in the new Obama biography released today.

As a research assistant for the David Maraniss book “Barack Obama: The Story,” former Post-Gazette reporter Gabrielle Banks secured more than 100 interviews and assisted with fact-checking over the last year.

She says it was “enthralling to work for a talented historical author on such a meaningful topic.”

Back at ya, Gaby.  Mr. Maraniss returned the praise on the acknowledgements page of the biography in which he calls her an extraordinary journalist.

“Gabrielle was tireless and skillful in finding people and gathering information from interview subjects and documents, unfailingly enthusiastic in our shared mission to figure out Barack Obama and his family, and invariably precise in her editing and fact-checking,” Mr. Maraniss wrote.

Gabrielle covered courts and criminal justice for the Post-Gazette from 2005 to 2010 and still freelances for the paper on occasion from her home in Los Angeles. She also is helping to research, edit and fact-check a book on the history of the Writers Guild of America.

She is in D.C. today to commemorate the Obama book’s launch during a celebration at the Washington Post, where Mr. Maraniss is an associate editor.

The 643-page biography delves deep into the president’s ancestry in Kenya and Hawaii. Mr. Obama himself doesn’t emerge as a character until the seventh chapter, long after readers have learned about his grandparents and grandparents.

The cover price is $32.50 but Amazon lists the hardcover at $18 and Barnes & Noble, $17. Electronic editions are a bit less.

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