Books ‘n Blogging: A promised land – Barack Obama

Some time ago, I read ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama. I really liked to have an insight in her life as a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother, but also a First Lady.

When the first part of the autobiography from Barack Obama came out, I hesitated… nearly 860 pages… for part one… I usually don’t read books with so many pages, but since I was too curious and since I had read a lot of good comments, I bought it and decided to read it in between 2 bookclub reads.

A promised land –  Summary

Here’s the summary I could read on Goodreads:

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 readers 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 4, 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 U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers 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 U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes 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 organizer 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.’

A promised land – My thoughts

‘A promised land’ is not an easy read I must admit… It’s not a quick read either… I am soooooooo glad I didn’t buy the English version, but the translated one… But boy, did I enjoy reading it!!!

As this book contains nearly 860 pages and as I really wanted to finish it, I set myself the challenge to read about a chapter a day. Sometimes I didn’t make it as some chapters are 40-50 pages long and after a long day at the (home) office, I was too tired to read that much. But in the weekends I often read more, so I’m glad to say that this book ‘only’ lasted me about 4 weeks to read!

Barack Obama is a good writer and a fabulous story-teller. ‘A promised land’ gives you a captivating insight in what the road to and life in the White House actually means.

Some pieces I read with more interest than others, some pieces I didn’t fully understand I must admit… but overall, this book is so interesting. Obama has picked a few main topics he described in detail: Obamacare, the economic/financial crisis, the Middle East, the hunt on Osama Bin Laden are just a few of them.

I liked Obama when he was a president, but little did I know who he really was and what he stood for. After reading ‘A promised land’, I can definitely say that he’s an honest man, a man who seeks solutions in every possible way, a man who gives and takes, a man who has his doubts and fears, but who’s lifted by succes and the love of his family and friends, a man who wanted to stay as true to himself and his beliefs as he possibly could as a top politician, a man with an intelligence the ‘president’ who followed him could only dream off…

This book made me understand Obama better, but also the American way of life, the voting system, the lobbying and also… how world politics work. I am looking forward to part II now!

Love, Kathleen


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