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A Promised Land (Hardcover)

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Beginning at the West Colonnade of the White House, along which he walked most days for eight years, President Obama loops us back into his childhood, into courtship, into community organizing and his runs for office, tracking as he does so not only Michelle’s doubts and questions but also his own. His race against John McCain, which didn’t look easy; the insights he gleaned about the direction our country might be moving in from watching the startling enthusiasm engendered by Sarah Palin; his ultimate victory, so symbolically world-shaking, world-shaping; and the transition period (far different than Joe Biden’s today) followed by the domestic adjustments he and Michelle had to forge are an easy mix of the personal and the political, making the tale of Obama’s rise to power both absorbing and entertaining. But once he takes on the mantel of the presidency, aside from continued forays into his personal life, our 44th president winds us through the intricacies involved in maintaining political power: from artful diplomacy to the firing of General Stanley McChrystal; from confronting viral epidemics and cascading financial disaster to the passing of the ACA; from intractable political opposition at home to the animus of, among others, Vladimir Putin and Osama bin Laden. My attention was rapt as I viewed through this visionary, ever curious, hugely intelligent man’s eyes America’s politics, its economics, its warring cultures, its place in the world (or, lately, lack thereof), its racial history—and the promise it still represents to so many of us.

— From Betsy Burton


A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy


NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times • NPR • The GuardianMarie Claire

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.

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.

Praise For…

“Barack Obama is as fine a writer as they come. . . . [A Promised Land] is nearly always pleasurable to read, sentence by sentence, the prose gorgeous in places, the detail granular and vivid. . . . The story will continue in the second volume, but Barack Obama has already illuminated a pivotal moment in American history, and how America changed while also remaining unchanged.”—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The New York Times Book Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9781524763169
ISBN-10: 1524763160
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: November 17th, 2020
Pages: 768
Language: English