A Promised Land is the first of two Presidential Memoirs from Barack Obama. I’m Canadian, Obama wasn’t my President, but I admired him in many ways.
At the same time, I always felt like expectations of Obama as a Presidential candidate and President-Elect were nearly messianic and impossible to fulfill, especially given the deep ideological and political divide that exist in the U.S.
I listened to the audiobook from the library, and then, because I couldn’t get through the nearly 50 hours of narration during my two week loan period, I purchased it through Audible.
I haven’t read any of Obama’s previous works, so I cannot draw comparisons, but his writing and narration of A Promised Land generally mimic his speeches. Long, ponderous, thoughtful, occasionally humourous, and definitely incorporates the odd “Dad Joke”.
I’m glad I stuck it out and listened to the entire book, but I don’t know if I will the second instalment, particularly if it is as long. Obama is long-winded and very detailed in his recitation of the campaign trail and first term in Office. At points, I felt it was more of an insider’s recounting because only insiders or very knowledgeable political groupies would remember all the staffers 8-12 years later.
I was annoyed at first that it took him so damn long to write and publish the book, but then to be able to compare it to Trump’s Presidency and juxtapose those two eras was extremely interesting. Politics aside, Obama always behaved in a Presidential manner and I truly believe that he was well-meaning and an honorable person. None of that is true of number 45.
I recommend this book if you are really into politics, or want some deep background knowledge on key issues at the time, such as the Deepwater Horizon disaster, but for the average person, A Promised Land might just be too much of a slog.
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