Title: A Promised Land

Author: Barack Obama

Published: November 2020

Genres: Autobiography, Politics




In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency-a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation's highest office.

Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune's Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden.

A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective-the story of one man's bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of "hope and change," and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible.



Don’t let this 2-star rating fool you into thinking I don’t think this was an exceptionally written, comprehensive account of Obama’s first term as POTUS; because it was. BUT IT’S NOT WHAT I WANTED! It was much less a memoir than it was a play-by-play of every single political decision and dispute. My expectations were at ‘Becoming’ level (Michelle’s memoir), given she spoke frequently of her childhood, family and personal aspirations and accomplishments. I was hoping ‘A Promised Land’ would also put these facets at its focus; particularly with a more dedicated account of his experience as the first Black President. At some points it felt like a bullet point list of his political accomplishments, that he was forced to narrate in excruciating detail. The second star was awarded purely for the couple of f-bombs he dropped, and his recital of Eminem lyrics. What a guy.



NICKY'S REVIEW  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

To say this memoir was much anticipated, I think we can all agree. Though I will concede it had a slower start, it soon picked up and completely engrossed (and at times, overwhelmed) me in this fascinating political minefield. Following his childhood, and journey into the Whitehouse and it being narrated in his own voice made me enjoy it even more. The “behind the scenes” access to some of the pinnacle decisions, moments and movements during Obama’s presidency terms was mind blowing. While it was very content heavy, I continued to maintain a steady level of investment because of how well of a narrator he is. He is factual, is not devoid of giving detail, but maintains the humility and grace he is renowned for. This was everything I had expected it to be, and while the length is no small feat, it was certainly worth it.



"“I suspect that God’s plan, whatever it is, works on a scale too large to admit our mortal tribulations; that in a single lifetime, accidents and happenstance determine more than we care to admit; and that the best we can do is to try to align ourselves with what we feel is right and construct some meaning out of our confusion, and with grace and nerve play at each moment the hand that we’re dealt.”



Crown Publishing group interview
'Barack Obama on what he hopes to accomplish with A Promised Land'
'Barack Obama on Recording the Audiobook for A Promised Land'

'A Promised Land' Book Trailer

 Washington Post opinion piece
Opinion: Obama’s raw recollections on race in ‘A Promised Land’

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published