Saturday, February 13, 2021

A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Title:  A Promised Land

Author: Barack Obama

Read by:  Barack Obama

Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio

Length: Approximately 29 hours and 10 minutes

Source: Overdrive through the Kewaunee Public Library.  Also, a hard cover copy of the book from my Mom for Christmas.  Thank-you! 

 I have loved reading biographies about First Ladies and Presidents since I was a kid.  Even better are being able to read autobiographies from the First Ladies and Presidents themselves.  I have found the autobiographies vary in quality, but A Promised Land was a top-notch presidential autobiography.  Barack Obama is a great writer and while this book had a lot of facts, he made it very interesting and personal.

 It was fascinating to listen to Obama’s perspective on modern history that I lived through. His presidency started during the worst financial crisis the nation had faced since the Great Depression.  It was interesting to learn how he entered the presidency and learned what was going on and how he worked to turn things around.  I liked to ponder what I was doing at the time and how it impacted my work.  I am an engineer and was working on “shovel ready” projects that received funding from the federal government.  It was interesting to find out how the process worked from the top down for this funding.  I’m in the environmental field and loved his discussion on the environment and especially the Deep-Water Horizon incident. The most thought-provoking section in this book was his description of the mission to take down Osama Bin Laden.  The book ended at this time period.  I’m looking forward to reading his next book about his second term in office.

 I was also intrigued that Obama discussed frankly how he couldn’t live up to the idea of himself.  People had very high expectations for him and thought that all racism would be solved with him in office.  After a couple of years in office, the shine was off, and people were not as enthused about him as they used to be.  This makes it difficult as he starts his reelection campaign.

 I also enjoyed that Obama included personal information.  He was very relatable.  I loved the moments of humor in the book as well as the other moments where he questions whether his work is getting in the way of spending time with his family.  I have had those moments myself. I loved his love for Michelle and their girls.  I also loved his love for his Grandma Toot and talk about how his Grandma and Mother inspired him in what he set out to do in life. 

 I both listened to the audiobook version of A Promised Land and followed along in my hard back copy of the book.  I loved that Barack Obama read A Promised Land himself on audio.  I found his voice to be very soothing and enjoyed listening to it.  I love the pictures that are included in the hardcover copy of the book.

 Favorite Quotes:

“Enthusiasm makes up for a host of deficiencies.”

 “There are people in the world who think only about themselves. They don’t care what happens to other people so long as they get what they want. They put other people down to make themselves feel important. “Then there are people who do the opposite, who are able to imagine how others must feel, and make sure that they don’t do things that hurt people. “So,” she said, looking me squarely in the eye. “Which kind of person do you want to be?”

 “But you don’t choose the time. The time chooses you. Either you seize what may turn out to be the only chance you have, or you decide you’re willing to live with the knowledge that the chance has passed you by.”

Overall, A Promised Land was a fascinating personal look into the presidency of Barack Obama.


  1. I have been away from all blogging for at least a month, but am so happy that I read your review. I am very interested in reading or listening to this book. I enjoyed reading the quotations from the book. Excellent review, Laura!

    1. Thank-you! I've missed seeing you blogging. I'm glad you liked the quotes. It was hard to narrow it down as there were so many good ones in this book.