BOOK REVIEW | A Promised Land

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By Barack Obama


The presidential memoirs of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, will be published in two volumes.

The first volume, titled A Promised Land, is scheduled for global release on Tuesday, 17 November 2020, and will be issued simultaneously in 25 languages.

A publication date for the second, and concluding, volume of the memoirs has not yet been set and will be announced at a later date. Details about President Obama’s book tour will be announced later this fall.

A time of dramatic transformation and turmoil

In his own words, Barack Obama tells in A Promised Land 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.



Providing a stirring, deeply personal account of history in the making, 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.

Through his words and actions, President Obama has had an indelible impact on the world and the course of history, serving as a beacon of hope and progress that has inspired so many. He is also a supremely gifted and accomplished writer, and it is a great honour for Penguin Random House to publish A Promised Land for readers everywhere. I know they will find it to be a book that vividly brings history to life, reminding us of the power of democracy even during times of global crisis.

– Markus Dohle, Chief Executive at Penguin Random House

Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond.

A generation buoyed by messages of ‘hope and change’

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 organiser 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.

There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one. I’ve spent the last few years reflecting on my presidency, and in A Promised Land I’ve tried to provide an honest accounting of my presidential campaign and my time in office: the key events and people who shaped it; my take on what I got right and the mistakes I made; and the political, economic, and cultural forces that my team and I had to confront then, and that as a nation we are grappling with still. In the book, I’ve also tried to give readers a sense of the personal journey that Michelle and I went through during those years, with all the incredible highs and lows. And finally, at a time when America is going through such enormous upheaval, the book offers some of my broader thoughts on how we can heal the divisions in our country going forward and make our democracy work for everybody, a task that won’t depend on any single president, but on all of us as engaged citizens. Along with being a fun and informative read, I hope more than anything that the book inspires young people across the country and around the globe, to take up the baton, lift up their voices, and play their part in remaking the world for the better.

– Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America

About the author

Barack Obama was the 44th president of the United States, elected in November 2008 and holding office for two terms.



He is the author of two previous New York Times bestselling books, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, and the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Michelle. They have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.


  • PUBLISHER | Penguin Random House SA |
  • ISBN | 9780241491515 |
  • Recommended Retail Price | R599.00 |
  • Classification | Memoir |

 



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