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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The number one Sunday Times and Audible best seller.

A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making - from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy.

In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency - a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil.

Obama takes listeners on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4th 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation's highest office.

Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of US partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings listeners inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about US strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout and authorises Operation Neptune's Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden.

A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective - the story of one man's bet with history, the faith of a community organiser tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of 'hope and change', and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He 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. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible.

This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama's conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.

Winner of best narration by the author – Audie Awards 2022.

©2020 Barack Obama (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"What is unexpected in A Promised Land is the former president's candour." (David Olusoga, Observer)

"Gorgeously written, humorous, compelling, life affirming." (Justin Webb, Mail on Sunday)

What listeners say about A Promised Land

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Dropping a classic

History will look upon you favourably sir. You're an icon of your generation, I thank you for everything you represent.

121 people found this helpful

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Breath of fresh air

Must read if you need your faith in politics restored especially after the last 4 years.

107 people found this helpful

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Beautiful

Beautifully written, beautifully read. Listening to Obama speak again is truly calming in this chaotic world. A wonderful human, with such heart and optimism and still, so much joy. Even after having to leave all his hard work for that awful orange monster. My family immigrated to America in 2001 holding onto the American dream. I still believe the America in this book and in Obama’s heart, is possible. Hopefully Joe and Kamala will help point us in the right direction again. Xx

92 people found this helpful

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Bloody fantastic!!

I am 12 chapters in and already in mourning because it will come to an end. You won't regret purchasing; it is enlightening, comforting, heartbreaking and fortifying - exactly what a 2020 weary soul needs

62 people found this helpful

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Too long and bit boring at timew

The first part is interesting but then it gets boring. For anyone has been following the news during the Obama years, there isnt much new in this book and you didn’t know. Obama doesn’t reveal much about him, its more a list of policy achievements, and 29 hours of audio or more 700 pages to describe less than 3 years of presidency is too much. I love Obama, and his previous books. But this one is a bit disappointing, but still worth a read.

56 people found this helpful

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Frank

The most satisfying aspect of this book is its frankness about the broken, corrupt parts of the American political system. It reveals the distance between Obama's ideals and what was actually possible politically in the world as it is.

44 people found this helpful

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Outstanding!

I’m six chapters in and this book is outstanding. Such brilliant narration! So articulated in his writing and delivery. Such an incredible story of hard work and personal sacrifice. All the humility and good grace you would expect to hear. Start it, you won’t regret it! I’m from the UK and I’m learning so much about the US political system but not in a heavy way. It’s honestly enthralling. Highly recommend listening to this book.

43 people found this helpful

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What a wonderful human being..... brilliant read

Barak Obama will forever be a treasure to America and other world leaders alike. Sadly he has run his presidency but if this in depth memoir is anything to go by and the timing of its release, it can be an aid to the new president elect (Biden) as a comprehensive refresher. Maybe the satsuma shaded runner up could of done with this book at the start of his inauguration. God bless Biden for tidying that orange mess and god bless America 🇺🇸

34 people found this helpful

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Blown away

Completely blown away , every aspect of this book is compelling . I must say I’m slightly bias in that I think Obama was a great president, and statesman. But he’s a truly lovely human being.
He covers all aspect’s of his presidency, but gives us a front seat into how it actually was. But then it’s a love letter to his wife. I’m on chapter 13, thank god it's almost 30 hours.

26 people found this helpful

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In-depth

An in-depth first hand account from one of the best known names in the world. From his early years to the end of his first 3 years in the white house. This is a great reflection on the history of Ameroca

25 people found this helpful

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  • Sean Rodrigues
  • 17-11-20

Sean R in Tokyo

Only a few chapters in.
Feels like a return to almost mythical times. Thoughtful, intelligent, respectful and...sane.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Avasmum
  • 29-11-20

Brilliant autobiography

I am not usually a fan of autobiographies but this one is excellent. I wasn't sure what 'tone' to expect but Obama sets a peaceful, considerate, and slightly humorous voice. I usually listen to books at 1.5x to 1.8x and I thought I'd have to run Obama's book at 2x because he talks so slowly but 1x has been just right.

I think anyone with an open mind would enjoy this book.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-11-20

Can you ever choke in listening to a politician?

I am amazed by the balance of thoughts he has . Neither Left nor the Right sway him. His painful acknowledgment of compromises without ever having to justify his decisions is more striking . An awesome listening experience after a long time

4 people found this helpful

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  • Karl
  • 01-12-20

Modern History

Informative, insightful, funny and at the very least he could earn a living as an audio narrator.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark Bennett
  • 20-07-21

Great storyteller

Listening to Obama become president was great, but once in office some of the day to day events are a little difficult to push through. Great man and brilliant story teller.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tamuka Makotore
  • 27-01-21

Can Volume 2 be released already!?

Well written, and well read. Touched on so mamy topics from the time he ran for president, to the time Bin Laden was killed. Although some topics were a bit cumbersome, it really helped that Obizy was the one reading the book. Key lesson i learnt is about surrounding yourself with the right people. We saw saw this from when he ran for office, and to the time he was president, how instrumental his team was.

Looking forward to Volume 2. Can i pre-order!?

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sridhar
  • 26-11-20

Masterpiece of a memoir. What a treat!

Amazing ring-side view of the major events that shaped the world during first term of President Obama. Gives a glimpse of the mind and heart of one of the greatest Presidents of the USA. It's even a bigger treat to listen to him read the book himself. Can't wait for the second volume to come out!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gurkeerat Gill
  • 06-02-22

Review of The Promised Land - From a Far Off Land

Today evening walk was a bit special. today I finished listening to this book. it started late in 2020, hoping to finish in the early weeks of 2021. but the go-stop-go approach lingered and the finishing line extended to this 6th February 2022 evening. The book by a black American president, is a story of incredible intellect, deep understanding of political affairs and incisive analysis of complex situations. From a hesitant entrant into politics, Mr Barrack Obama reached the pinnacle without any Godfather in high places. his writing in word and voice in audible really makes it a great listen. It is a book to be read/listened at one's pace, absorbing the deep insights and relating them to one's own experiences, particularly if the Reader/Listener share the vocation to some extent with the Author. tells a lot about how to conduct public affairs with practicable hints. the story rightly ends with the most important action of President Obama in his first Presidency. told with precise words the story comes alive - almost the purring of helicopter wings audible in one's ears. congratulations to the Author, The Penguins and Audible to bring it up - so that it is in reach of many. I will now start with the Print Edition.

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  • Oluwakorede Asuni
  • 31-01-22

A great read

Obama allowed a window for us to peel into the inner workings of his first term in office and the lead up to that.

This helped tie up some of the loose strings of information one had as an outsider.

Additionally, for a more than passive supporter and observer of Obama and Obama's first term in office, it was quite exhilarating to relive some of the memorable moments and to learn the back stories to some of those.

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  • Annabel Roberts
  • 20-12-21

Inspirational and BRILLIANT

Barack Obama is truly a light in a dark world. This autobiographical account of his first term in office takes the listener on a journey into his motivations for the difficult choices he has made. His idealism and moral compass are beacons that all should follow. I am South African and have only ever had a vague eye on American politics yet this book was easily accessible, somewhat amusing and thoroughly enjoyable. I love that the author read it himself!