“A Promised Land” reveals the inner workings of Obama’s presidency


“A Promised Land”, a memoir written by former president Barack Obama, provides an engrossing look into his eight-year tenure as Commander-in-Chief. The 700-page book is as wordy (yet enthralling) as you’d expect from watching any of his speeches.

I had no idea what the daily life of the president looked like, and the tasks they have to do. Learning more about the housing crisis that was occurring just as Obama took office was intriguing. We were actually quite close to a second Great Depression, and this was only avoided because Obama has partnered with other high-level leaders and experts to alleviate the crisis. Furthermore, the book expertly (obviously) explains how Obama worked together with others to pass Obamacare. The journey was incredibly difficult, and I learned more about healthcare than I thought I ever would need to. We meet politicians as if they were fictional book characters (Mitch McConnell being the evil villian, duh), and felt the highs and lows of having a country rest on your shoulders.

Also, the length meant that I felt extra proud when I finished the book. This might sound like a strange positive, but the endorphin rush you get when you complete a difficult book is unbeatable. Because of how dense it was, it took me around two months to finish, even with reading around 15 minutes almost every day.

 My only issue with the book is the manner in which Obama breaks up the sections. We start with the 2009 economic crisis, the obvious event that boosted Obama into the presidency. I thought the book would continue to go chronologically, ending around 2012, as the second book covering his second term picks up there. But after the first couple chapters, we jump into the creation and passing of Obamacare (2010) and then back to the recession (2009), Arab Spring (2010-2012), and then the killing of Osama bin Laden (2011). The time jumps made it difficult to follow which events were happening when, and by the end the years were muddled. 

Memoirs were never really my thing, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading Obama’s “A Promised Land.” It’s engrossing from start to finish, and takes us skillfully through four years of presidency. Even with my criticisms of the book, I will undoubtedly be buying the ‘sequel’ when it comes out.