THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Times / Guardian / Telegraph / i News / The New York Times / Washington Post / NPR / Marie Claire
A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making-from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy
'Gorgeously written, humorous, compelling, life affirming' Justin Webb, Mail on Sunday
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.
This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama's conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.
'What is unexpected in A Promised Land is the former president's candour' David Olusoga, Observer
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Barack Obama made history as the first African American president, stepping into the highest office in the country in 2008 after only four years as a US senator. In the first volume of his two-part memoir, Obama gives us a revealing first-person perspective on the key events and issues that defined his first term. From his strained dealings with generals over the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to his battle to pass the Affordable Care Act and his mission to help the nation recover from the crippling 2008 recession, A Promised Land helps us see key moments in recent US history from the 44th president’s calm, balanced and often wryly funny perspective. We especially loved reading Obama’s observations about his staff and other world leaders. Some are small (staff pickup basketball games featured a lot of trash talk but no hard fouls, to avoid garnering the ire of the Secret Service…or the First Lady), and others are more significant, like his comparing Vladimir Putin to a small-time player in hardball Chicago politics. Obama’s writing is every bit as eloquent as his famously captivating speeches. We can’t wait to read the iconic leader’s take on his second term.
What an easy read. Could not put it down.
Insightful, honest and enlightening
Disclaimer: I have the physical copy of this book, but nevertheless wanted to leave a review here to give my opinion.
This is the first political memoir I’ve bought and read. I intend to get more, from conservative and liberal voices. It is because of how insightful and honest this book is that intend to do so. Leaving politics aside for a moment, the book flows well for the most part, and is an engaging read, full of emotional highs and lows as Obama charts his steady, and then quite rapid, rise to political fame and beyond. There are times where his explanations can be long-winded, but I find this to be a non-intrusive issue. I found myself absorbed in the different situations Obama found himself facing and how he responded to them. He is also honest with himself to the point of self deprecation as he ponders whether he could have handled this or that crisis differently, and what that could have meant for the course America charted under his presidency.
Coming back to politics, most of the negative reviews look to come from those who dislike Obama, much in the same way many negative reviews of, say, David Cameron’s book come from his political detractors. Something I didn’t expect to take away from A Promised Land was a newfound appreciation for politicians, in as much as the book has helped me see them much more as human beings who feel and love and get angry much in the same way as I do, and less like manifestations of either a leading beacon, or of a force bent on destruction. For this alone, I thank Obama for this book, and think it is worth a read. He demonstrates no malice towards his adversaries, although he airs his grievances about what they did, and in doing so, has helped me do the same. Passion without malice. Thank you again Barack. I look forward to the next volume.
A very good read
It’s an interesting book, one very well put together. You get to see the world from his set of lenses.