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A Promised Land
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A Promised Land
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A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAACP IMAGE AWARD FINALIST...
A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAACP IMAGE AWARD FINALIST...
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Description-

  • A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy
    #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAACP IMAGE AWARD FINALIST • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
    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.
 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • From the book Preface

    I began writing this book shortly after the end of my presidency—after Michelle and I had boarded Air Force One for the last time and traveled west for a long-deferred break. The mood on the plane was bittersweet. Both of us were drained, physically and emotionally, not only by the labors of the previous eight years but by the unexpected results of an election in which someone diametrically opposed to everything we stood for had been chosen as my successor. Still, having run our leg of the race to completion, we took satisfaction in knowing that we’d done our very best—and that however much I’d fallen short as president, whatever projects I’d hoped but failed to accomplish, the country was in better shape now than it had been when I’d started. For a month, Michelle and I slept late, ate leisurely dinners, went for long walks, swam in the ocean, took stock, replenished our friendship, rediscovered our love, and planned for a less eventful but hopefully no less satisfying second act. And by the time I was ready to get back to work and sat down with a pen and yellow pad (I still like writing things out in longhand, finding that a computer gives even my roughest drafts too smooth a gloss and lends half-baked thoughts the mask of tidiness), I had a clear outline of the book in my head.

    First and foremost, I hoped to give an honest rendering of my time in office—not just a historical record of key events that happened on my watch and important figures with whom I interacted but also an account of some of the political, economic, and cultural crosscurrents that helped determine the challenges my administration faced and the choices my team and I made in response. Where possible, I wanted to offer readers a sense of what it’s like to be the president of the United States; I wanted to pull the curtain back a bit and remind people that, for all its power and pomp, the presidency is still just a job and our federal government is a human enterprise like any other, and the men and women who work in the White House experience the same daily mix of satisfaction, disappointment, office friction, screw-ups, and small triumphs as the rest of their fellow citizens. Finally, I wanted to tell a more personal story that might inspire young people considering a life of public service: how my career in politics really started with a search for a place to fit in, a way to explain the different strands of my mixed-up heritage, and how it was only by hitching my wagon to something larger than myself that I was ultimately able to locate a community and purpose for my life. 

    I figured I could do all that in maybe five hundred pages. I expected to be done in a year. 

    It’s fair to say that the writing process didn’t go exactly as I’d planned. Despite my best intentions, the book kept growing in length and scope—the reason why I eventually decided to break it into two volumes. I’m painfully aware that a more gifted writer could have found a way to tell the same story with greater brevity (after all, my home office in the White House sat right next to the Lincoln Bedroom, where a signed copy of the 272-word Gettysburg Address rests beneath a glass case). But each time that I sat down to write—whether it was to describe the early phases of my campaign, or my administration’s handling of the financial crisis, or negotiations with the Russians on nuclear arms control, or the forces that led to the Arab Spring—I found my mind resisting a simple linear narrative. Often, I felt obliged to provide context for the decisions I and others had made, and...

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.

Reviews-

  • Booklist

    November 23, 2020
    In his preface, President Obama says he wanted to write a book that covered his political career and his presidency as well as one that might inspire young people to a life of service. He rather ruefully admits he thought the whole thing might take up about 500 pages; this 768-page tome turned out to be only volume one. Putting pen to paper (yes, he composes first drafts on legal pads), the former president writes with an elegant hand, juxtaposing his personal ascendancy against the events of history, along with describing the disruptive populism and the toxicity of racism that sometimes twisted the audacity of hope into a deflating nope. Yes, there is excess. Occasionally it seems as if Obama feels the need to describe every person who worked on his campaign or in his administration. So many of his thoughts need examination, and from so many different angles. He sometimes uses the book to explain to readers what he really meant; his debate comment to Hillary Clinton that she was ""likable enough,"" he claims--a bit unbelievably--was only to indicate scorn for the question. Whatever its small flaws, however, the book does a memorable job of untangling both a president and a presidency. Obama reveals himself in his memories of his young daughters, wistful for the time he knows he's missed with them; in his sadness and embarrassment at his inability to be at his dying mother's bedside because of a campaign; and in the uneasiness he feels when he questions his run for the presidency after only serving two years of his senatorial term. ""God, Barack, when is it going to be enough?"" Michelle asks. Like the professor he was, Obama tries to get his readers to make connections. For example, he shows clearly how reactions to TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) led to formation of the Tea Party. These efforts to show the consequences--intended and unintended--of his decisions are among the book's most formidable strengths. The volume ends with the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, which occurred ironically close to the White House Correspondents' Dinner where President Obama mercilessly teased Donald Trump, perhaps precipitating his presidential run. This odd juxtaposition mirrors so many other moments in the book where success spins out in unanticipated ways: darker forces are being released. To be continued.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2020
    In the first volume of his presidential memoir, Obama recounts the hard path to the White House. In this long, often surprisingly candid narrative, Obama depicts a callow youth spent playing basketball and "getting loaded," his early reading of difficult authors serving as a way to impress coed classmates. ("As a strategy for picking up girls, my pseudo-intellectualism proved mostly worthless," he admits.) Yet seriousness did come to him in time and, with it, the conviction that America could live up to its stated aspirations. His early political role as an Illinois state senator, itself an unlikely victory, was not big enough to contain Obama's early ambition, nor was his term as U.S. Senator. Only the presidency would do, a path he painstakingly carved out, vote by vote and speech by careful speech. As he writes, "By nature I'm a deliberate speaker, which, by the standards of presidential candidates, helped keep my gaffe quotient relatively low." The author speaks freely about the many obstacles of the race--not just the question of race and racism itself, but also the rise, with "potent disruptor" Sarah Palin, of a know-nothingism that would manifest itself in an obdurate, ideologically driven Republican legislature. Not to mention the meddlings of Donald Trump, who turns up in this volume for his idiotic "birther" campaign while simultaneously fishing for a contract to build "a beautiful ballroom" on the White House lawn. A born moderate, Obama allows that he might not have been ideological enough in the face of Mitch McConnell, whose primary concern was then "clawing [his] way back to power." Indeed, one of the most compelling aspects of the book, as smoothly written as his previous books, is Obama's cleareyed scene-setting for how the political landscape would become so fractured--surely a topic he'll expand on in the next volume. A top-notch political memoir and serious exercise in practical politics for every reader.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    December 18, 2020

    In the first of two highly anticipated volumes of his presidential memoir, 44th President of the United States Barack Obama (Dreams of My Father) shares an intimate portrait that connects his personal journey as a son, husband, father, and leader to the very public life that people saw. From his early political aspirations through 2011 and the assassination of Osama bin Laden during his first term in the White House, Obama describes his humble beginnings and the events that shaped his world view. He discusses how the civil rights movement affected him and describes how his grassroots campaigns for the Illinois State Senate and U.S. Senate led to his ambitious run for the presidency in 2008. Obama interweaves key events from his personal and political life with the thoughts and conversations he had with family and friends in order to provide unparalleled context to his decision-making. Readers gain behind-the-scenes access to the shaping of the Affordable Care Act, Obama's response to the financial crisis and recession in 2008, the racial profiling of Henry Louis Gates in 2009, and the hunt for bin Laden in 2011, to name a few. VERDICT An eloquently written, enjoyable, and important memoir that will have a wide readership. Highly recommended for all collections.--David Miller, Farmville P.L., NC

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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