A Promised Land: The First of Barack Obama's Two-Volume Presidential Memoirs to Be Published in November

Image for article titled A Promised Land: The First of Barack Obama's Two-Volume Presidential Memoirs to Be Published in November
Image: Penguin Random House, Photo: DNCC (Getty Images

If you’ve never stopped longing for the simpler, kinder, more rational time and place that was Barack Obama’s presidency, you are far from alone—and can soon take a deeper dive into the beloved president’s remarkable rise from civic-minded civilian to the highest office in the land. On Thursday, Penguin Random House announced that Obama’s highly anticipated presidential memoirs will be published in two volumes. The first of which, titled A Promised Land, is due for simultaneous global release on November 17 of this year.


The announcement—which was accompanied by a peek at the elegant yet affable black-and-white cover image of our 44th president—was made by Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, which acquired global rights to Obama’s story. The book will be released via the publishing house’s Crown imprint, which also published former first lady Michelle Obama’s stratospherically successful memoir, Becoming, in November 2018.

Almost two years later to the day (and exactly two weeks after the nerve-wracking next presidential election), A Promised Land will be published simultaneously in 25 languages. And for those of us who love the rich and distinctive cadence of the former president’s speaking voice, an unabridged audio edition of the book, read by Obama himself, will be released in digital and physical formats, including a Spanish language edition, Una Tierra Prometida (no word on who will voice that edition).

“There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one,” said President Obama in a press release provided to The Root. “I’ve spent the last 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.’

Via the release:

In his own words, Barack Obama tells in A Promised Land 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.

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 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.

“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,” Obama’s statement continued. “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.”

It’s worth noting that the former president is already a bestselling author twice over for Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (1995) and The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006). While in office, Obama also penned the 2010 children’s book Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters. Speaking on what will likely be the president’s next bestseller, Dohle said:

“Through his words and actions, President Obama has had an indelible impact on the world and the course of history, serving as a beacon of hope and progress that has inspired so many. He is also a supremely gifted and accomplished writer, and it is a great honor for Penguin Random House to publish A Promised Land for readers everywhere. I know they will find it to be a book that vividly brings history to life, reminding us of the power of democracy even during times of global crisis.”


We can also expect it to be thorough. The English-language print edition of A Promised Land will reportedly be a hefty 768 pages long and include two 16-page photographic inserts, no doubt qualifying its suggested U.S. retail price of $45 (a digital edition will be priced at $17.99). The release of the second, as-yet-untitled volume will be announced at a later date; but following in the footsteps of his wife’s landmark global stadium tour, President Obama will be heading out on a book tour to be announced later this fall.

More information about A Promised Land is available at obamabook.com.


Waffle Saadiq

So basically when the audiobook drops; he will get another grammy.