First volume of Barack Obama’s memoirs to be published globally in November

18 September 2020 - 08:29
'A Promised Land' is the extraordinarily intimate and introspective account of Obama's presidency.
'A Promised Land' is the extraordinarily intimate and introspective account of Obama's presidency.
Image: Supplied

The presidential memoirs of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the US, will be published in two volumes. The first volume, titled A Promised Land, is scheduled for global release on Tuesday November 17 2020, and will be issued simultaneously in 25 languages. The news was announced on Thursday by Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, which acquired world rights to the highly anticipated work.

A Promised Land will be published in hardcover and digital formats by Penguin Random House. An unabridged audio edition of the book, read by the author, will be simultaneously released in digital and physical formats by Penguin Random House Audio.

In his own words, Barack Obama tells in A Promised Land the story of his improbable odyssey from a 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 grass roots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the US, 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 US 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 US strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorises 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.

Said Obama, “There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one. I’ve spent the past 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.”