A Promised Land by Barack Obama

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

A Promised Land by Barack Obama is a 768-page memoir that documents the former president’s life from his early years to the events surrounding the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.

The book is divided into two parts, with the first part focusing on Obama’s political career and the second part exploring his personal life.

The main themes of A Promised Land are compromise, prejudice, reflection and self-assessment, and the importance of history. Obama finds that his dreams of eliciting bipartisan support are tempered by the political reality that he must compromise to move ahead.

As the first Black president of the United States, Obama witnessed an immense reaction among prejudiced Americans who felt threatened by his power – it was fascinating reading his thoughts. It was something that I lived through and saw…but couldn’t quite believe it. He also writes about his childhood and personal life, poking fun at himself and describing his smoking habit.

Obama also reflects on the current state of the American project, expressing his indefatigable hope for the future.

Interesting Themes

  • Compromise is an important part of politics.
  • Prejudice is still a major issue in the US.
  • Obama reflects on the current state of the American project.
  • Obama’s memoir is full of warmth, humor and introspection.
  • Obama pokes fun at himself and shares details about his personal life.

What I Liked

Everything. Seriously.

Reading this book reminded me again not only why I voted for Obama twice, but also how he persuaded me – a 23 year old, disillusioned, but also hopeful and active, voter that grew up completely surrounded by vitriol of Democratic politicians – to enthusiastically join the Democrat Party coalition in America. It’s the Audacity of Hope…but with hindsight.

The book also was a deep reminder that – for all the haters and cynics out there that Machiavelli is right; people who think that might is right; that you can’t be successful in the 21st century and rise to the top without crushing others or neglecting your family or being awful – that they are all wrong.

The book was a reminder that, again, that better is good. Reality can keep getting better even if our expectations race ahead and make us feel like things are worse somehow.

I loved how much time he spends describing the job of the President and all the things that go into daily life.

What I Did Not Like

The book might initially be daunting – it’s big, thick, and looks serious. But he’s someone who can write and communicate like no one else. It’s the same in this book. It’s a fabulous read – and I’m looking forward to the next one.

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