A Promised Land

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A Promised Land
A Promised Land (Barack Obama).png
AuthorBarack Obama
CountryUnited States
Publication date
November 17, 2020
Media typePrint (hardcover)
President Barack Obama, 2012 portrait crop.jpg
This article is part of
a series about
Barack Obama


President of the United States



First term

Second term


Barack Obama's signature

A Promised Land is a memoir by Barack Obama, President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. Published on November 17, 2020 by Crown Publishing Group, it is the first of a planned two-volume series.


Obama said in a tweet following the announcement of the publication of the book that he has aimed 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".[1] The book concludes with the events of the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011.[2][3]


The book was released on November 17, 2020, soon after the national elections, in hardcover, digital and audiobook formats.[4] Its first printing is set for a run of 3.4 million copies in the U.S. and Canada.[3] There will be 2.5 million copies printed for international readers.[5] The New York Times described the book as being "virtually guaranteed" to be the year's top seller.[6] Alongside the English original, 24 translations will be published: Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish and Vietnamese.[7] On November 18, Penguin Books reported that the book sold 887,000 copies in the United States and Canada its first day, surpassing the previous record held by his wife Michelle's 2018 book Becoming, which sold 725,000 in its first day.[8][9]

By November 24 2020, the book had sold over 1.7 million copies in North America- breaking the record for first week sales of a presidential memoir. The initial 3.4 million copy run was increased to 4.3 million due to high demand. [10]


According to book review aggregator Bookmarks, A Promised Land received favorable reviews.[11]

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reviewed the book for The New York Times.[12]

It is not merely that this book avoids being ponderous, as might be expected, even forgiven, of a hefty memoir, but that it is nearly always pleasurable to read, sentence by sentence, the prose gorgeous in places, the detail granular and vivid.

Jennifer Szalai reviewed the book in The New York Times.[13]

At a time of grandiose mythologizing, he marshals his considerable storytelling skills to demythologize himself. He addresses the book to the “next generation,” to young people who seek to “remake the world,” but the story he tells is less about unbridled possibility and more about the forces that inhibit it.


United Nations[edit]

President Barack Obama notes in the book, “In the middle of the Cold War, the chances of reaching any consensus had been slim, which is why the U.N. had stood idle as Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary or U.S. planes dropped napalm on the Vietnamese countryside(referring U.S. war crimes during Vietnam War). Even after the Cold War, divisions within the Security Council continued to hamstring the U.N.’s ability to tackle problems. Its member states lacked either the means or the collective will to reconstruct failing states like Somalia, or prevent ethnic slaughter in places like Sri Lanka(referring the UN actions in the final battles of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009).”[14]


  1. ^ @BarackObama (September 17, 2020). "There's no feeling like finishing a book, and I'm proud of this one" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ Belam, Martin (September 17, 2020). "Barack Obama to release memoir weeks after US election". The Guardian. Archived from the original on November 8, 2020. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Harris, Elizabeth A. (September 17, 2020). "Obama's Memoir 'A Promised Land' Coming in November". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on September 18, 2020. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  4. ^ Williams, Sydney (November 17, 2020). "Barack Obama's memoir 'A Promised Land' releases today". NBC News. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  5. ^ Alter, Alexandra; Harris, Elizabeth A. (November 15, 2020). "Readers Have Been Eagerly Waiting for Barack Obama's New Memoir. Struggling Booksellers Have, Too". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  6. ^ Alter, Alexandra (September 19, 2020). "Best Sellers Sell the Best Because They're Best Sellers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on September 20, 2020. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  7. ^ "A Promised Land, by Barack Obama, to be published in Australia on 18 November". www.penguin.com.au. Archived from the original on November 5, 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  8. ^ Budryk, Zack (November 18, 2020). "Barack Obama memoir tops Michelle's in first-day sales". The Hill. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  9. ^ VanDenburgh, Barbara (November 18, 2020). "Barack Obama memoir 'A Promised Land' sells more than 887,000 copies on first day". USA Today. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  10. ^ Atalie, Hillel. "Obama memoir sells a record 1.7 million copies in first week". abcnews.com. ABC News. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  11. ^ "A Promised Land". Bookmarks. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  12. ^ Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi (November 12, 2020). "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Barack Obama's 'A Promised Land'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on November 13, 2020. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  13. ^ Szalai, Jennifer (November 15, 2020). "In 'A Promised Land,' Barack Obama Thinks — and Thinks Some More — Over His First Term". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved November 15, 2020.
  14. ^ "UN failed to prevent 'ethnic slaughter in Sri Lanka' – Barack Obama". Tamil Guardian. November 22, 2020. Retrieved November 25, 2020.

External links[edit]