A Promised Land due to be published on 17 November. Obama aims to provide ‘honest accounting of my presidency’
The first of two volumes of Barack Obama’s post-presidential memoirs will be published worldwide on 17 November, two weeks after the US election, Penguin Random House has announced.
A detail from the the cover of A Promised Land, which is the first of two volumes. Obama tweeted: ‘There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one.’ Photograph: Pari Dukovic/Penguin Random House
The publisher described the first volume, which will be issued in 25 languages, as covering the story of “his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world”. It indicated that it would cover his ascendancy to being the first black US president, and his first term in office.
Obama tweeted on Thursday: “There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one.”
He said he tried to “provide an honest accounting of my presidency, the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our divisions and make democracy work for everybody”.
There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one. In A Promised Land, I try to provide an honest accounting of my presidency, the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our divisions and make democracy work for everybody. pic.twitter.com/T1QSZVDvOm— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 17, 2020
The 768-page book is the most anticipated presidential memoir in living memory, as much for the quality read it promises as for any political gossip or revelations about his time in office. Obama has been called the most literary president since Abraham Lincoln and has written two highly praised, bestselling books – Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. Both have been cited as aiding his presidential run in 2008.
Even with a substantial list price of $45 (£35), A Promised Land is virtually guaranteed to sell millions of copies. But it will face challenges far different from most presidential memoirs, and even from former first lady Michelle Obama’s blockbuster book, Becoming, which came out two years ago. As a result of the pandemic, the former president will probably be unable to host the same kind of spectacular arena tour as Michelle Obama.
The former first couple negotiated a package $65m deal for their memoirs – a figure the publisher appears likely to recoup.
Obama may also find his book coming out at a time when the 3 November election is still undecided and the country is far more preoccupied with who the next president will be than with events of the past.
A spokesperson for Obama said the publication date was chosen to avoid the possibility that the book would pull attention from the presidential campaign of Joe Biden, Obama’s vice-president. Obama has endorsed Biden and vowed to campaign for him. It was unclear how prominently Biden figures in the memoir.
The first volume of Obama’s post-White House memoirs concludes with the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden, according to the publisher. A second volume, with an unannounced publication date, is expected to cover the rest of the Obama presidency and beyond.
Penguin Random House said in the book Obama 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”.
Obama added: “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.”
(Source: The Guardian)