• A Promised Land

  • By: Barack Obama
  • Narrated by: Barack Obama
  • Length: 29 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (864 ratings)

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A Promised Land

By: Barack Obama
Narrated by: Barack Obama
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Publisher's summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The number one Sunday Times and Audible best seller.

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

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 listeners 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 4th 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 US partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings listeners 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.

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.

Winner of best narration by the author – Audie Awards 2022.

©2020 Barack Obama (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"What is unexpected in A Promised Land is the former president's candour." (David Olusoga, Observer)

"Gorgeously written, humorous, compelling, life affirming." (Justin Webb, Mail on Sunday)

What listeners say about A Promised Land

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Sean R in Tokyo

Only a few chapters in.
Feels like a return to almost mythical times. Thoughtful, intelligent, respectful and...sane.

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14 people found this helpful

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Brilliant autobiography

I am not usually a fan of autobiographies but this one is excellent. I wasn't sure what 'tone' to expect but Obama sets a peaceful, considerate, and slightly humorous voice. I usually listen to books at 1.5x to 1.8x and I thought I'd have to run Obama's book at 2x because he talks so slowly but 1x has been just right.

I think anyone with an open mind would enjoy this book.

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6 people found this helpful

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Can you ever choke in listening to a politician?

I am amazed by the balance of thoughts he has . Neither Left nor the Right sway him. His painful acknowledgment of compromises without ever having to justify his decisions is more striking . An awesome listening experience after a long time

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5 people found this helpful

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Modern History

Informative, insightful, funny and at the very least he could earn a living as an audio narrator.

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Great storyteller

Listening to Obama become president was great, but once in office some of the day to day events are a little difficult to push through. Great man and brilliant story teller.

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Can Volume 2 be released already!?

Well written, and well read. Touched on so mamy topics from the time he ran for president, to the time Bin Laden was killed. Although some topics were a bit cumbersome, it really helped that Obizy was the one reading the book. Key lesson i learnt is about surrounding yourself with the right people. We saw saw this from when he ran for office, and to the time he was president, how instrumental his team was.

Looking forward to Volume 2. Can i pre-order!?

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Masterpiece of a memoir. What a treat!

Amazing ring-side view of the major events that shaped the world during first term of President Obama. Gives a glimpse of the mind and heart of one of the greatest Presidents of the USA. It's even a bigger treat to listen to him read the book himself. Can't wait for the second volume to come out!

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Breathless awe

Storytelling of an outstanding calibre.
If I could have spent an entire day just listening to President Obama speaking his truths... I would.
I have been blessed to share an era of his existence and influence... A brilliant man with a staggering ability to use his talents and mind for good.

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Smile, Tear, Laugh, Weep. Emotional Roller-coaste

In Light of our Fractured and Divided Political Climate currently playing out within USA and beyond- The reassuring dulcet tones of President Obama's voice, married to an eloquent writing style infused with intelligence, compassion, empathy and reason is notnonly welcomed but essential. President Obama has expertly crafted an absolute Must Read Memoir, meticulously researched and brutally honest. Raw, and full of self awareness, Barack relives with the Listener as his silent audience, his own personal Journey, imparting through his eyes the melancholy, beauty, pain and joys of life that is rich and impactful. With his own unique charm, President Obama allows a glimpse into his thought processes, as challenge and opportunity knocked at his door, in every facet of a Man's Life. Love, Marriage, Progeny- these commonly taken for granted blessings known to all and experienced by the privileged- made all the more precious given the nature of the professional heights he aspired towards. With Vivid Imagery we are privy to the Forgotten Sufferings and Remembered Triumphs, of political office.

Identifying that his Successor, Donald Trump is likely the Greatest threat to Progress, Obama painfully lays out the reality as he views it- outlining two possible Trajectories- one of our Impending Doom which will follow failure to act or the exact opposite: A Future Destiny Shaped through Hope and Love, provided we choose correctly from here on. With emotive yet sound language, he sets out the stakes clearly- through Unity and Compromise, we will be able to mould a Future of Increased Peace, Prosperity and Success, and most importantly, these fruits are shared equitably amongst the many Magnificent Peoples who Proudly call themselves American.

Employing Reasoned Grace, Barack implores Unity, and choosing a path which Honours our Founding Ideals: Liberty Equality and Fraternity. Remembering the pain of Yesterday, we must advocate for a Today that Unequivocally rejects the Old Ideologies of those seeking to Inject within our National Conscience the Failed and Destructive Malignancies of Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Xenophobia, Homophobia, Religious Intolerance and Isolationism. Drawing on the Record of Past and Present Stalwarts who willing Risked their Lives, their Security and their Individual Happiness for the Greater Ideals of bringing about a Better Tomorrow. A Tomorrow- Fashioned by a National Character imbued with Moral Courage, Inclusivity, Respect, Reason, Diversity, Equity, Empathy, Mercy, Intelligence and Integrity.

With introspection on all sides we can see this mistakes made by all, that has led to Trump ajd confront an Ominous Truth-The Enemies of Progress have never been entirely Vanquished, and are likely to never completely fade into Oblivion. These Insidious Forces, can however, be Kept entirely at Bay, never being allowed to garner traction and Poison the Collective Discourse with their False Promises of Increased Wealth and Power through Scapegoating those deemed lesser than by the Status Quo. These undercurrents of Hate, Serpentine in their behaviour; patiently wait for Opportune Moments-Moments of Terror, of Uncertainty, of Distrust and of Division. These Mind Controlling Parasites lie in Ambush, until the People are at their most Vulnerable, then Strike with Painful Precision, and Envenomate a Nation's Soul with a Toxic Blend of Hate and Enmity. A Murderous Impulse, born from Baseness, Perceived Victimhood and the Old Lie: "Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori." Only through Solidarity, Compassion and Vigilance are we able to expose the Empty Rhetoric for it is- a Vacuous and Sinister attempt to Reclaim Power through the Manipulation of those most Fragile within Societies. Convincing them on Mass that their Day-to-Day Difficulties are a result of Theft by Hidden Bad Faith Actors living amongst them. Pernicious Forces; who, from Underneath the Black of Night, Usurped all Control of their Institutions, Culture, Economy and Paragons of Intellectual Discourse.

Though Painful, it is imperative that We look inside Ourselves and Confront the Difficult Truths of who we have allowed to Define us, through Apathy or Worse- Deliberate Action.

At an Indefinable Point, We Lost Ourselves, somewhere out there between the Intersection of Fear and Hate, A Common Crossroad, but one arising from Divergent Journeys. The Fork in the Road, some arriving on a Path of Obscene Decadence, where others arrive Hungry, Weary and Dejected. It is at this Dangerous Meeting of Storms that Man can easily become again that which his Forefathers has always Despised, that which His Ancestors has Fought so Valiantly Against, that which His Previous Generations have Suffered such Enormous Losses for choosing Incorrectly and which History has shown is both the Antithesis and Core Essence of who and What Humanity Truly Is.

Today, it is an Irrefutable Fact that the Ascension of Donald Trump, a man without Principle, Integrity, Honour, Empathy, Decency and Humanity, is without Equal in Exploiting the Grievances and Paranoia’s of those who feel Ignored and Scorned. Trump has without pause, used their Pain only for the Betterment of Himself. He possesses a Remarkable Understanding of Envy, Anger, and Vanity, seeing it clearly in others as it Mirrors his own Cretinous Reflection. This Gift enables him to accurately appeal to almost every Negative Character Trait present in Humankind, thus moulding himself into the Far Right's Divinely Inspired Messiah. They see in Trump their Deliverance, a Vessel which can be used to Legitimise their Darkest Nature, and Permission to crawl out from the Dark Undergrowth and Walk Proudly in the Light, without Fear of Reprisal, More Menacing and More Determined than ever before.

Finally, throught his Memoir, President Obama shows with real life examples the Power of Hope. History is littered with Anecdotes which bear Testament to the Power and Goodness of the Human Spirit and its ability to Triumph, even when faced with Grave Evil. This Powerful Phenomenon should never be underestimated and those who are currently Fearful can find Solace in its Promise.

We are Not Defined by these last years, nor are We Eternally bonded to Trumpism.
Yes, We are Flawed. We are, afterall, only Human which is both Beautiful and Terrifying.
Paradoxically, it is our Flawed and Fragile humanity that will also prove our Salvation and Redemption. Man's true Beauty lies entirely in Culmination of his Follies, Dancing exquisitely with His Binaries, Ringed with Flame and Pulsing like that of a Sensual Salsa Routine.

My Prayer: Like the Phoenix, that Immortal Bird of Fire, which Rises from its Bed of Ashes, so to will We Rise from the Charred Debris that Fell upon Us through the Mistaken Fealty to Trump. Trump, though Justly Despised, should also Evoke within Us a sense of Pity.

Trump's Legacy will remain a Testament to Selfishness.
A Lifetime of Lies and Cruelty that has left Him in a World without Wonder, A World of Thirsts that can Never be Quenched. He has Never nor will He Ever Know Genuine Love and Friendship.
His Narcissism is so Innate, His Soul so Rancid; that were he capable of Remorse, The ensuing Reality of His Broken Existence would lead Him into an Abyss of Insanity.

Of the Phoenix, Trump will Never Understand that the True Beauty of the Creature lies not in its Majestic Extravagance, but in the Ashes that Framed and Defined all it Lived to Be.
President Obama
Appreciatively and Sincerely
XOXO
Shaz

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Intriguing

An intriguing behind-the-scenes look at a president who had a profound effect on the world. A clear and concise look at global politics and an a rare insiders look at the workings of the White House.

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