Former Presidenthas written a memoir that will be published in two volumes, publisher Penguin Random House said in a press release Thursday. The first volume, “A Promise Land,” is scheduled for global release on Tuesday, November 17, two weeks after Election Day.
In “A Promise Land,” Mr. Obama shares “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,” according to the press release.
Mr. Obama writes about his earliest political aspirations, winning the Iowa caucus during his first run for president, and November 4, 2008, when he became the first Black president of the United States.
He also reflects on his presidency. “Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond,” the press release states.
Mr. Obama writes about choosing his cabinet, Russian President Vladimir Putin, overcoming “seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act,” tackling Wall Street reform, and authorizing Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to the release.
The former president also writes about running for office as a Black American 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,” the release reads.
In announcing the memoir, Mr. Obama said he is proud of the book.
“I’ve spent the last few years reflecting on my presidency, and in A Promised Land I’ve tried to provide an honest accounting of my presidential campaign and my time in office: the key events and people who shaped it; my take on what I got right and the mistakes I made; and the political, economic, and cultural forces that my team and I had to confront then—and that as a nation we are grappling with still.”
Mr. Obama said he wanted to give readers a sense of the personal journey he and former first lady Michelle experienced. “And finally, at a time when America is going through such enormous upheaval, the book offers some of my broader thoughts on how we can heal the divisions in our country going forward and make our democracy work for everybody—a task that won’t depend on any single president, but on all of us as engaged citizens.”
Mr. Obama said he hopes the book inspires young people “to take up the baton, lift up their voices, and play their part in remaking the world for the better.”
The book will be published in the U.S. and Canada by Crown, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and will be issued in 25 languages. It is 768 pages long and includes two 16-page photographic inserts.
Its suggested list price in the U.S. is $45.
The release date for the second part of Mr. Obama’s memoir has not yet been announced. Details about Mr. Obama’s book tour will be announced later this fall, according to the release.
Penguin Random House said it has donated more than one million of its children’s books to First Book, a Washington D.C. nonprofit, in the Obama family’s name.
Both Barack and Michelle Obama Financial Times reported at the time that an auction for global rights to the two books topped $60 million. The report said the Obamas were selling the rights to the separate books jointly.with Penguin Random House in 2017. The deals were likely in the tens of millions of dollars. The
Nearly 10 million copies of Michelle Obama’s memoir, “Becoming,” were sold as of March last year, according to Bertelsmann SE, a German media and services conglomerate with a controlling stake in Penguin Random House. “I’m not aware, in my personal experience with Penguin Random House, that we ever sold 10 million units of a memoir,” chief executive Markus Dohle told The Wall Street Journal at the time.