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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2020 Barack Obama (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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.

9 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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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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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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  • jesse
  • 11-17-20

Dropping a classic

History will look upon you favourably sir. You're an icon of your generation, I thank you for everything you represent.

48 people found this helpful

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  • Joseph K
  • 11-18-20

Breath of fresh air

Must read if you need your faith in politics restored especially after the last 4 years.

40 people found this helpful

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  • jessik
  • 11-19-20

Beautiful

Beautifully written, beautifully read. Listening to Obama speak again is truly calming in this chaotic world. A wonderful human, with such heart and optimism and still, so much joy. Even after having to leave all his hard work for that awful orange monster. My family immigrated to America in 2001 holding onto the American dream. I still believe the America in this book and in Obama’s heart, is possible. Hopefully Joe and Kamala will help point us in the right direction again. Xx

34 people found this helpful

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  • cara louise beckett
  • 11-19-20

Bloody fantastic!!

I am 12 chapters in and already in mourning because it will come to an end. You won't regret purchasing; it is enlightening, comforting, heartbreaking and fortifying - exactly what a 2020 weary soul needs

25 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-20-20

Frank

The most satisfying aspect of this book is its frankness about the broken, corrupt parts of the American political system. It reveals the distance between Obama's ideals and what was actually possible politically in the world as it is.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Jake lewis
  • 11-19-20

In-depth

An in-depth first hand account from one of the best known names in the world. From his early years to the end of his first 3 years in the white house. This is a great reflection on the history of Ameroca

10 people found this helpful

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  • S. Langford
  • 11-21-20

Outstanding!

I’m six chapters in and this book is outstanding. Such brilliant narration! So articulated in his writing and delivery. Such an incredible story of hard work and personal sacrifice. All the humility and good grace you would expect to hear. Start it, you won’t regret it! I’m from the UK and I’m learning so much about the US political system but not in a heavy way. It’s honestly enthralling. Highly recommend listening to this book.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Dan
  • 11-22-20

Too long and bit boring at timew

The first part is interesting but then it gets boring. For anyone has been following the news during the Obama years, there isnt much new in this book and you didn’t know. Obama doesn’t reveal much about him, its more a list of policy achievements, and 29 hours of audio or more 700 pages to describe less than 3 years of presidency is too much. I love Obama, and his previous books. But this one is a bit disappointing, but still worth a read.

5 people found this helpful

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  • paulthomas
  • 11-21-20

Blown away

Completely blown away , every aspect of this book is compelling . I must say I’m slightly bias in that I think Obama was a great president, and statesman. But he’s a truly lovely human being. He covers all aspect’s of his presidency, but gives us a front seat into how it actually was. But then it’s a love letter to his wife. I’m on chapter 13, thank god it's almost 30 hours.

5 people found this helpful

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  • papapownall
  • 11-23-20

Fireside chat with the President

Being a heavyweight political memoir weighing in at am impressive 29 hours / 750 pages of text you would expect this to be hard work but it isn't at all. Barrack Obama is a likeable narrator and he takes his listener though his personal as well as political journey. His formative years were previously chronicled in his previous books, Dreams from my Father (1995) and The Audacity of Hope (2006) and this is the first of his memoirs to cover his time as the Leader of the Free World. The former president comes over as thoughtful and articulate as you would expect and genuinely wants to make the world a better place for all and has an unshakeable optimism and belief in the America way of life. He is also self deprecating describing himself as a "black lawyer from Chicago with an Arab sounding name" and "big ears". We hear how his mentor Ted Kennedy has been a source of inspiration throughout his political life and his love for his family. More than anything, this book is a very personal account of what it is like to live as the President of the United States and the daily rituals and issues he faced during his time in office. Given the length of this book, it is astonishing that it only covers the period from taking office in January 2009 when the world was in the midst of an economic crisis, through the Arab Spring and the President's heart-wrenching approval of the US mission to kill Osama Bin Laden in May 2011. By this time, however, there was a new menace, closer to home this time. Enter,maverick real estate investor and former reality TV show host The Donald, who launched a bizarre campaign to question Mr Obama's place of birth. To be continued. And I can't wait for the next installment.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Rebecca
  • 11-23-20

My review

I was worried about the length, but I was hooked from the beginning! It was interesting to hear what he was thinking. He was not afraid to share his mistakes. He responded to critics with respect and tried to see their point of view. This was an amazing read and I'm so glad he shared this story.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Hector Pieris
  • 11-27-20

Genuinely down to earth peaceful person.

Obama’s experience, struggles, thoughts, and hopes in some of the grand decisions, he made through out of his first couple of years, as the President of USA. This collaborative, thoughtful narrative is rich with his own writing and his voice for 29 hours. Even if you have no interest much politics you will be gravitate to this book from start to end - guaranteed!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Brian Arpel
  • 11-30-20

Barack Obama, the best of the best.

A really fascinating insight into the workings of the White House and of American politics.

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  • James M
  • 11-28-20

Fantastic

This was an absolutely captivating and brutally honest account, made that much better by Obama reading it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-27-20

i enjoyed every minute!

what great stories coming from the horse's mouth! the presidents narration added authenticity and it felt like he was just there telling you his stories.