A Promised Land by Barack Obama: Worth the Read?

Former President Barack Obama dives into his eight year term in his newest release.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama: Worth the Read?

Chandler Hoel, Editor

Former president Barack Obama never lets his people down. Even after his time in office, Obama has done numerous things to show his support and deeply rooted dedication to the American people. On November 17, Obama released his fourth book: A Promised Land, and soon became one of the more influential and eye opening books of his career. It is a deeply personal look into the Obama presidency and how he inspired our idea of democracy. “Yes we can,” he’d always say, and yes he did. 

The first thing you read as you open the book is one of the more inspiring pieces of writing I’ve ever read. The preface talks about how he started writing the memoir of his presidency after the inauguration of President Trump, and finished just a few months ago. So, while most of the book was written four years ago, the preface was written in August of 2020. He describes the things that trouble America as we speak, but let’s us know that there is still hope for the future of democracy. He questions, will we be the first to make democracy work? He makes it known that the book is mainly for the future of America, or the youth of today. He wants us to take this book, and use it to create a brighter, and better future for ourselves and our country. 

The book goes over many things in the former president’s life. From his mom’s passion for politics, to handling foreign policy in the White House. The book gives the reader a personal look into his time in the white house. He even talks about his constant struggle with hiding a smoke break and his burning need to be a great family man and a great president. The book includes seven parts, each consisting of common duties as president, and how he handled them. It gives us a look at the awesome stresses he went through, as well as the triumphs. Obama takes readers on the same journey he went through, from a boy struggling to find his identity and place in the world, to the first African-American president elect. 

The journey we are on throughout the book winds us through his mind as he assembled his cabinet. It slashes us around as he works hard and struggles greatly to pass the Affordable Care Act, one of his proudest achievements as president. It calms us down with the nice talks he had with the Garden Keepers outside of the Oval Office and the thousands of people he met and was inspired by. He makes it clear that even as the leader of the free world, he was still the simple, humble citizen he was as a boy growing up in Hawaii. 

Obama is as good a writer as most, and he has a sort of style that makes it seem as if you’re just having a conversation with him. As you read, you begin to witness him pondering all of his choices and remembering all that went through his head during his eight year term. It really couldn’t get more personal than that. He wants us to know that the role as President is much more (and in some ways much less) than we usually make it out to be. It’s a job filled with awesome responsibility, which he handled to the best of his ability, and there’s nothing left for him to say other than he did his best. 

I would recommend this book to the youth of America. Like he said, it really helped me to understand the presidency and the steps I can take to play a role in our great country. If you are against Obama and what he did as president, obviously don’t read the book. But, even if you don’t like him or don’t agree with him, I still feel that the book would be beneficial to all. It’s not just about politics, It also talks about how we treat each other and how we need to come together as American people. No divisions, no parties, just one population of free people. I think the Obama presidency is one that made history in many ways, and this book just showed me how those things came to be. It’s an interesting view into the White House that can’t be found elsewhere. He offers a true and honest self-assessment which is not found in many memoirs, and certainly isn’t common for someone as high up as the president. He talks about his experience going from citizen, to president, back to citizen. In many ways, I think this is one of the more important books I will ever read, and I think everyone would benefit from diving into the life and presidency of Barack Obama in A Promised Land.