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A Promised Land

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Barack Obama

29 Hours 10 Minutes

Random House (Audio)

November 2020

Audio Book Summary

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 Guardian • Marie 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.

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  • Anonymous

    I really wish that those who are Trump supporters and lovers, would not bother to comment and hate on Barack Obama's beautiful book. Because, let's be honest, no matter what he says, you're going to hate the book and him, regardless of what he says or does. The only way that this nation will heal is if we STOP lying to ourselves. You hate because it feels good to you. And, you're looking for someone or some group to release your rage and fear upon. Instead of, adequately trying to solve complex problems with intelligence.

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  • Marco D.

    Beautifully written, articulate, and well rounded memoir. Obama illustrates his many wins but isn’t afraid to own his mistakes. Markedly humble giving credit where credit is due and leading by example in giving his team the tools, the space, and the support to succeed. His honesty, self awareness, genuine human emotion, and leadership are like a cool drink of water after an incredibly prolonged drought. I hadn’t realized how distant and disconnected I had become, steeling myself against the hate, fear-mongering, and division, of the current time. Thank you Obama for all you’ve done and continue to do!

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  • J P.

    It is a mirror of his presidency a bunch of flowery words that see division and hate

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  • Anonymous

    Magnificent. Thankfully, it is being read by not just the author but also the President of the United States.

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  • Desmond Burgess

    As I complete the final seconds of this book, I feel as if I have a different insight on the country during the time President Obama's presidency. He presented keen intellect and a sharp analysis of how he perceived events that shaped his tenure in office. The one thing I love to do once I finish reading a book is to go read others reviews to see if they had the same immersive experience as myself, and it's quite sad reading so many of the anonymous negative comments about him. Honestly, I was hoping more people were "Fired Up, Ready to go!". Political views shouldnt play such a major part in how we see, judge, or perceive someone yet it's an unfortunate prejudice America still deals with. Overall I really enjoyed the book and even more with him reading it as it gave an essential value to his life, political encounters and story.

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  • Timothy C.

    Loved the insights and behind scene details - great to listen to a president who actually knew what that meant!

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  • Anonymous

    That; this book ought be in a syllabus for Political Science; I was fortunate that this wise and empathetic person devoted so much of his life to date to public service

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  • Anonymous


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  • Anonymous

    garbage.. wrost president to ever buy his way in .

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  • Jennifer K.

    Makes me proud to be a Democrat.

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