A Promised Land

A Promised Land 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 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.

Book Reviews


Well Done5 star

Enjoyed the book throughly.55


Thanks Obama5 star

I didn’t support all your policies but you didn’t try to overthrow the government so you have that going for you.55


Obama: the W.O.R.S.T.1 star

How could he sleep at night with all the stuff he supports?!?! Obama was the worst possible president ever, and the most corrupt of them all. He is very racist, and he’s here bad. Hear me out: absolutely do not listen to anything he says. They’re all lies. Lies. LIES I SAY! LIES!15


A Promised Land5 star

Awesome self portrait of an extraordinary man. I found the book awfully long, but readable as he is a very skilled writer. I loved his self appraisals and respectful descriptions of the people he worked with.55


Amazing5 star

Barack Obama is an amazing person55

Cashmere Nicole

We get to gaze into the mind of one of The Greatest5 star

I really love how President Obama shares the challenges to becoming and being a Husband, Father and President of the United States. Too often we believe something magical happens, too often we forget that Obama and others are just like us. They’re people who are just trying for something larger than themselves. So proud to have been alive during this time. This book sheds light and insight on the mind of an amazing Black man & supreme leader.55

the queen of books

Do not read1 star

Do not get this book I hate it so bad15


Disappointed3 star

I am a wholehearted Obama supporter, but initially I couldn’t get beyond the first 100 pages. We read about all this before and repeated again it smacked of self importance. I left it with a 2 rating. After taking a break I got back to it and did manage to finish it - and my rating went up to 3, but that’s all I’ll give it. It’s just too clinical- some decent context for those who don’t know some of the history behind different events or issues, but no real emotion or lessons for the future; almost a bit defensive and defeatist. Where’s the “Yes we can” man?! And c’mon, where the rage about been stopped by his detractors at every step? And you could have done more! Not going to buy Part 2.35

BenjaminAK Panda kid.

Skeleton Rap (Minecraft song)5 star

Well, hello again friend, I’m a skeleton returning from the dead, determined to be relevant again and a following trends to the Nether to the End, and, I’ve, got a bone to pick with you little human a bone to pick with you little human being, I’ve seen ,where you’ve been and I don’t like it!!! I’ve got a bow to shoot at you little human, a bow to shoot at you little human being I’ve seen where you’ve been and I don’t like it!!! At all!!!55


Greatest President Ever5 star

Here is a man that operated with integrity, dignity and respect for all human kind. This book details the thought process in his decisions and how it would affect all kind. This is why there were no scandals during his presidency. Now for all those that follow, we see a sharp contrast of a person with a moral compass versus one who only look out for his personal gain. No matter the truth!55

Other Books by Barack Obama

Dreams from My Father


Dreams from My Father
4     360
The Audacity of Hope


The Audacity of Hope
4     228

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