A Promised Land #BookReview

Barak Obama | November 2020 | 768 pages

I can count on one finger how many books I’ve read by former Presidents – one. A Promised Land.

Obama painstakingly recounts his journey from Law school and his first political office through his first term as President of the free world. Included is personal stories of how he and Michelle dealt with financial challenges and his travel early on in their marriage, to meeting the nearly all black server staff in the White House. We also hear about his logic around decisions he made along the way and some of the internal strategies and struggles between him and colleagues. The Iowa caucus, attempting to work with local politicians in Chicago, when Hillary decided to run against him, working with George Bush Jr, Operation Neptune’s Spear (death of Osama bin Laden), and of course creating the Affordable Care Act.

There were so many more stories included, this is not a short read and Obama admits that along with being longwinded in the intro. Taking breaks on and off, this took me about 4 months to finish in hardcopy book and audio. It wasn’t because I lost interest but the content was a lot to absorb and I’m no one’s history or political buff. I found that I got more out of the text by googling some of the topics and familiarizing myself with the issues of the time. Doing that, this things reads like a text book…except its likely more truthful.

Pros: Again – its an honest recount of this mans experience in the White House. He doesn’t have to lie, he owes us nothing. And just like we say you cant rob someone of their ‘experience of you’ – the same is granted here. Obama artfully tells his story of being the President, and being a Black man that is President. Which, for the slow wits in the back – are two different experiences, lived at once.

Cons: Its long. get a physical copy and the audiobook. Take you time and read through it as I did, purposefully. There are plenty of jewels about intent, perseverance, and leadership we could all use, even if we are not President of the free world.

I don’t agree with Obama’s overall hope and faith in progression and belief that our political system works. However, I have respect for a man that acts on his beliefs and attempts to positively impact those around him – rather than sit online and/or spend time delivering armchair commentary about his disdain for people and things that look differently than he.

Now, I’m not about to run out and by more Obama books or books by former Presidents, for that matter, But, if you want to read one – this is certainly it. Good read!


  1. In reading your review, I realized I’ve not read a book written by a US president either. Sounds like this is a great candidate. Love the quotes you’ve selected, especially the one about being seen. Audiobook might work great for car trips!

    Liked by 1 person

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