A Promised Land

A Promised Land

Book - 2020
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"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 hispolitical education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency--a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2020]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781524763169
1524763160
Branch Call Number: 973.932 OB
Characteristics: pages cm

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j
jimg2000
Jan 13, 2021

Herein are Barrack's love notes to his wife, may or may not part of the 311 quotes posted in Goodreads:

I’m a slow walker—a Hawaiian walk, Michelle likes to say, sometimes with a hint of impatience.
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I asked them to describe their world as it was and as they would like it to be. It was a simple exercise I’d done many times, a way for people to bridge the reality of their communities and their lives with the things they could conceivably change. Afterward, as we were walking to the car, Michelle laced her arm through mine and said she’d been touched by my easy rapport with the women.
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“You gave them hope.” “They need more than hope,” I said. I tried to explain to her the conflict that I was feeling: between working for change within the system and pushing against it; wanting to lead but wanting to empower people to make change for themselves; wanting to be in politics but not of it. Michelle looked at me. “The world as it is, and the world as it should be,” she said softly.

j
jimg2000
Jan 13, 2021

We didn’t just love each other and make each other laugh and share the same basic values—there was symmetry there, the way we complemented each other. We could have each other’s back, guard each other’s blind spots. We could be a team. Of course, that was another way of saying we were very different, in experience and in temperament. For Michelle, the road to the good life was narrow and full of hazards. Family was all you could count on, big risks weren’t taken lightly, and outward success—a good job, a nice house—never made you feel ambivalent because failure and want were all around you, just a layoff or a shooting away. Michelle never worried about selling out, because growing up on the South Side meant you were always, at some level, an outsider. In her mind, the roadblocks to making it were plenty clear; you didn’t have to go looking for them.

j
jimg2000
Jan 13, 2021

She took my face in her hands. “Have you ever noticed that if there’s a hard way and an easy way, you choose the hard way every time? Why do you think that is?” We both laughed.
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AFTER SEVERAL YEARS of dating, Michelle and I were married at Trinity United Church of Christ on October 3, 1992, with more than three hundred of our friends, colleagues, and family members crammed happily into the pews.
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Driving home in the twilight, Michelle and I sometimes talked about having kids of our own—what they might be like, or how many, and what about a dog?—and imagined all the things we’d do together as a family. A normal life. A productive, happy life. It should have been enough.
===
“Make sure Michelle’s all right with it,” she said. “Not that I’m the marriage expert. And don’t you dare use me as an excuse not to do it. I’ve got enough to deal with without feeling like everybody’s putting their lives on hold. It’s morbid, understand?”

j
jimg2000
Jan 13, 2021

Around six a.m. on the Fourth of July, Michelle poked me and said it was time to go to the hospital. I fumbled around and gathered the bag I’d set by the door, and just seven hours later was introduced to Malia Ann Obama, eight pounds and fifteen ounces of perfection.
===
At the end of each night, after feeding and bath time and story time and cleaning up the apartment and trying to keep track of whether she’d picked up the dry cleaning and making a note to herself to schedule an appointment with the pediatrician, she would often fall into an empty bed, knowing the whole cycle would start all over again in a few short hours while her husband was off doing “important things.” We began arguing more, usually late at night when the two of us were thoroughly drained. “This isn’t what I signed up for, Barack,” Michelle said at one point. “I feel like I’m doing it all by myself.”

j
jimg2000
Jan 13, 2021

Magic beans P1 of 2:

“If I win, hon,” I said, “it will draw national attention. I’ll be the only African American in the Senate. With a higher profile, I can write another book, and it’ll sell a lot of copies, and that will cover the added expenses.” Michelle let out a sharp laugh. I’d made some money on my first book, but nothing close to what it would take to pay for the expenses I was now talking about incurring. As my wife saw it—as most people would see it, I imagine—an unwritten book was hardly a financial plan. “In other words,” she said, “you’ve got some magic beans in your pocket. That’s what you’re telling me. You have some magic beans, and you’re going to plant them, and overnight a huge beanstalk is going to grow high into the sky, and you’ll climb up the beanstalk, kill the giant who lives in the clouds, and then bring home a goose that lays golden eggs. Is that it?” “Something like that,” I said.

j
jimg2000
Jan 13, 2021

Magic beans P2 of 2:

Michelle shook her head and looked out the window. We both knew what I was asking for. Another disruption. Another gamble. Another step in the direction of something I wanted and she truly didn’t. “This is it, Barack,” Michelle said. “One last time. But don’t expect me to do any campaigning. In fact, you shouldn’t even count on my vote.”
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In the way people described their families or their jobs. In their modesty and their hospitality. In their enthusiasm for high school basketball. In the food they served, the fried chicken and baked beans and Jell-O molds. In them, I heard echoes of my grandparents, my mother, Michelle’s mom and dad. Same values. Same hopes and dreams.

j
jimg2000
Jan 13, 2021

I relished wriggling Malia into her first ballet tights or grasping her hand as we walked to the park; watching baby Sasha laugh and laugh as I nibbled her feet; listening to Michelle’s breath slow, her head resting against my shoulder, as she drifted off to sleep in the middle of an old movie.
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Axe had us shoot two television ads: The first had me speaking directly to the camera, ending with the tagline “Yes we can.” (I thought this was corny, but Axe immediately appealed to a higher power, showing it to Michelle, who deemed it “not corny at all.”)
===
Michelle backstage, beautiful in white, squeezing my hand, gazing lovingly into my eyes, and telling me “Just don’t screw it up, buddy!” The two of us cracking up, being silly, when our love was always best, and then the introduction by the senior senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, “Let me tell you about this Barack Obama…”

j
jimg2000
Jan 13, 2021

Michelle came out of the bedroom in a shimmery formal dress. “You look so pretty, Mommy,” Sasha said. Michelle did a twirl for the girls. “Okay, you guys behave yourselves,” I said, kissing them before saying goodbye to Michelle’s mother, who was babysitting that night. We were headed down the hall toward the elevator when suddenly Michelle stopped. “Forget something?” I asked. She looked at me and shook her head, incredulous. “I can’t believe you actually pulled this whole thing off. The campaign. The book. All of it.” I nodded and kissed her forehead. “Magic beans, baby. Magic beans.”

j
jimg2000
Jan 13, 2021

“And you need to disguise your voice,” Malia added. “People recognize it. You have to talk with a higher voice. And faster.” “Daddy talks so slow,” Sasha said. “Come on, Daddy,” Malia said. “Try it.” She shifted into the highest-pitched, fastest voice she could muster, saying, “Hi! I’m Johnny McJohn John!” Unable to contain himself, Mike burst out laughing. Later, when we got home, Malia proudly explained her scheme to Michelle, who patted her on the head. “That’s a great idea, honey,” she said, “but the only way for Daddy to disguise himself is if he has an operation to pin back his ears.”

j
jimg2000
Jan 13, 2021

Our evenings and weekends appeared normal so long as Malia and Sasha were swirling about, but I felt the tension whenever Michelle and I were alone. Finally, one night after the girls were asleep, I came into the den where she was watching TV and muted the sound. “You know I didn’t plan any of this,” I said, sitting down next to her on the couch. Michelle stared at the silent screen. “I know,” she said. “I realize we’ve barely had time to catch our breath. And until a few months ago, the idea of me running seemed crazy.” “Yep.” “But given everything that’s happened, I feel like we have to give the idea a serious look. I’ve asked the team to put together a presentation. What a campaign schedule would look like. Whether we could win. How it might affect the family. I mean, if we were ever going to do this—”

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t
Tica77
Jan 17, 2021

When I started this book, I braced myself for the typical heavy-duty presidential bio (I read Bill Clinton’s book years ago and had to force myself to finish it). Obama’s writing is so good that it reads fairly quickly despite the details he delves into of his first four years as President. He managed to include personal anecdotes in between chapters to show a more human side of life in The White House, and how lonely the job can be. It was especially interesting to read about his relationship with Joe Biden who has now been elected the presidency. I enjoyed this book and I am glad that his editors decided that he should produce two volumes instead of one.I look forward to this second volume.

g
Green_Giraffe_29
Jan 15, 2021

This was such an interesting book, as Obama reminisces on his childhood, family, and career, from his time as a Senator from Illinois to the beginning of his presidency. So well-written and interesting, especially for readers wanting a firsthand perspective of the challenges of the presidency.

n
nelson1949
Jan 14, 2021

What a deep thinker and thoughtful president Barack Obama was. His grasp of economics, foreign affairs, and all the other things a president needs to know was deep and wide. In this book Obama is very measured about his adversaries and presents both sides of an issue in a thoughtful way. Given the difficulties that faced him as he entered office, Obama had the strength of ego to surround himself with cabinet members who were like him, deep and creative thinkers. The reader clearly hears Obama's voice in this book. Very well written, honest, and interesting.

j
jimg2000
Jan 13, 2021

The "skinny guy with a funny name" tells me what he was thinking and doing when growing up, married Michelle Robinson, Malia & Sasha arrived, elected as a US Senator, drama filled presidential primary campaign (announced on Feb 10, 2007; all told in the first 10% of the book,) and how he confronted the challengers during his first 30 months as the 44th POTUS: Domestic policies (The Great Recession, Reverend Wright, Bank & Auto Industry bailouts, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform, Obamacare, Deepwater Horizon explosion, 'Beer Summit', “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell", Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, education, energy, climate ... Republicans sweep the 2010 midterm election,) Foreign affairs (Iraq and Afghan wars, Iran Nuclear Sanctions, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Arab Spring ... Osama bin Laden,) foreign leaders (Netanyahu, Abbas, Medvedev, Putin, Merkel, Hu Jintao ..., Emperor Akihito & Empress Michiko.) In closing, the skinny guy speaks about the Birther conspiracist Trump, and how the Abbottabad mission was conceived, executed and ended. Last but not least, sprinkled throughout, the "skinny guy" and once smoker (quit right after he signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010,) sends heart felt love notes to Michelle.

What a guy!

m
maipenrai
Jan 06, 2021

WOW!!!! If you have a chance to listen to Barak Obama narrate this book, I highly recommend that you do so. After 4 years of political chaos, his voice of reason is a joy to hear!!! I love the fact that he is humble and self-deprecating. His humor comes through loud and strong as well as his honor, intelligence, and dedication. It is marvelous to hear the stories inside the White House when it is difficult to know from the news exactly what happened in historical events. The book ends with the death of Osama Bin Laden, so there is much to look forward to in the upcoming books. Highly recommend. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Chapel_Hill_RobynW Jan 05, 2021

I'm going to be honest: I am not normally a fan of political biographies. That being said, Obama could read out the terms and conditions of my phone plan, and I would find it entertaining and insightful. Like many others, I am thankful that he has taken the time to write down his thoughts and opinions of his first term in office. It reads extremely well, and I found I had easily completed the first part of the book without even noticing it was hundreds of pages. Anyone who is wanting to read a no holds barred, political rag full of scandal and intrigue is bound to be disappointed. This is about how 'the sausage gets made', but it is not a diatribe against the system; in fact, it acts more of a guide as to how to move along in it, and to create the policies you are passionate about. There is no one here who is criticized or insulted; Obama appears to have got on with everyone, and he is very reluctant to say anything harsh or critical about anyone on both sides of the political spectrum. If anything, that can mean he comes across as a little bland; I do not believe we actually meet the real Obama in this book ( I wish he had spent more time describing the development of his political ideology), but I think this is as close as we are going to get.

l
lilypad_1
Jan 03, 2021

We were so fortunate to have a dedicated, brilliant, public servant for 8 years and for him to lay bare his thought processes is such a gift. I have read his other books and many books from his former staffers so already knew quite a bit of this. He is a great writer, keeps the narrative moving and I wonder how a person can juggle so many things at once, get by on so little sleep and keep himself in good shape. I am glad I read this because while I have been wondering how trump could have been elected after obama this book does show warning signs of the intractability of the Republican leaders, unwillingness to work across the wider and wider divide in Congress, etc. The derision and lack of respect that was shown to him was a harbinger of racism coming out into the daylight in trumps term.

r
Rockermama
Jan 02, 2021

I thoroughly enjoyed this (as an ebook) as far as I could get, about 50% before it was due back. I will wait 'in line' to finish it, whenever that may be. It is worth the wait. He's candid, witty, funny, informative and knows a lot about not just America's history but other countries and their people. He was right where we needed him for 8 years. This book is more than an autobiography but a lesson on how complicated it is to run our country and to put the best people on you team.

As I was deep into maybe chapter 18 or 19, the last I read before check in... I really had to wonder about that 45th president we had and how uninformed and uneducated he was to run our country. So much detail in this book about difficult decisions, dealing with other heads of state, the press, etc all while having a good marriage and raising 2 beautiful girls. The mess that Barack was handed down (economy crash) is quite similar in some ways to the mess Biden inherits, albeit different subjects. Read this book, even if you have to check it out more than once. Educational, engaging as well as witty. The one liners really tickled me. I love this man!!

j
jackhwolf
Dec 31, 2020

As somebody who is a big fan of Barack and very much enjoyed his prior two books, I found this one disappointing. If you are a super policy wonk historian, there is enough detail of the politics of his first four years, to justify going through some very dry material. I qualify in that respect and that accounts for my 2.5 stars, but he really lacked any personal revealing narrative about his emotive life beyond maybe 10% of the book and told in a very removed manner. A writer above all must reveal his vulnerability and faults, and Barack plays Mr. Smooth, and I admire his smoothness, but it doesnt make for revealing autobiography.
As to the politics, although informative, and well written, I found a lack of self doubt or consideration of other views, more a pr take. THis is likely par fro the course for political narratives, I couldnt get past chapter one for Romney, but I expected more from a man as intelligent as Barack.
If you have yet to read Obama, take the first two, or read Obamas half brother Davids wonderful books.

l
laphampeak
Dec 28, 2020

Successes and failures, cooperation and disunity are included to bring insight into Obama's personal account of his background leading into a political career and during first term as president. He maintains a tone of full disclosure as to how he saw his role personally, toward US politics, and world leadership. His tone rarely deflects from his purpose for the reader to understand the many nuances and challenges he faced and how many factors went into his decisions. His words are considerate and thought out. Long, yes. Thoroughly engrossing account from an accomplished writer, father, husband, friend, politician/president.

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red_deer_558
Oct 06, 2020

red_deer_558 thinks this title is suitable for 69 years and over

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