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A Promised Land (2020)

af Barack Obama

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  1. 01
    The Untold History of the United States af Oliver Stone (PlaidStallion)
    PlaidStallion: He is humble, describing himself as ‘a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.’

      Pearlstein wondered, “Whose Side Is Obama On?” The question became more poignant as the 2012 elections approached. Anger over the economy had boiled over. Occupy Wall Street and allied protesters gathered in towns and cities across the nation in a grassroots uprising of a sort not seen since the 1930s. Obama walked a fine line, trying to signal both the anti-Wall Street protesters and the Wall Street tycoons, whom the protesters reviled, that he was with them. In June 2011, the New York Times reported that Obama had offended Wall Street’s high rollers by calling them “‘fat cats’ and criticizing their bonuses” and by having the audacity to propose any curbs at all on their rapaciousness. Now, according to the Times, Obama and his top aides, looking for Wall Street backing in his reelection bid, were trying to salve the bankers’ wounded feelings. Franklin Roosevelt had compared ungrateful capitalists to the drowning old man who berates his rescuer for not saving his hat; Obama came before them, hat in hand, and begged forgiveness. Unlike Roosevelt, who had made enemies of Wall Street financiers by implementing large-scale government job creation and sweeping regulatory reform, Obama not only privileged those Wall Street insiders over the working masses, he apologized for having hurt their feelings.

      Obama also paid debts to other corporate donors. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz noted, “When pharmaceutical companies receive a trillion-dollar gift—through legislation prohibiting the government, the largest buyer of drugs, from bargaining over price—it should not come as cause for wonder. It should not make jaws drop that a tax bill cannot emerge from Congress unless big tax cuts are put in place for the wealthy. Given the power of the top 1 percent, this is the way you would expect the system to work.” Stiglitz cited the response from banker Charles Keating, who was brought low by the 1980s savings and loan crisis. When asked by a congressional committee whether the $1.5 million he had contributed to elected officials could buy influence, he answered, “I certainly hope so.” The Supreme Court decision in the 2010 Citizens United case, which removed limits on corporate campaign spending, ensured that the influence of corporate and banking interests would mushroom.
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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 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. ( )
  jepeters333 | Apr 11, 2021 |
Mi aspettavo una scrittura più avvincente. Troppo prolisso anche se i fatti raccontati sono sempre interessanti. Vengono chiarite molte vicende di quegli anni. ( )
  permario | Apr 11, 2021 |
First of all, read this book. I've even recommended it to my friends on the other side of the political spectrum - unsuccessfully, of course. Second, this is not your typical presidential memoir, and I've read a lot of this type of book. The writing is so narratively driven, it feels like reading a fiction book. And seeing behind the curtain on so many recent cultural and political events is a treat. President Obama is not preachy, he's inspiring. It was a pleasure to read, only disappointing in that the second volume wasn't at my fingertips yet. ( )
  blackdogbooks | Apr 4, 2021 |
A Promised Land by Barack Obama is a 2020 Crown publication.

The best we can do is to try to align ourselves with what we feel is right and construct some meaning out of our confusion, and with grace and nerve play at each moment the hand that we’re dealt.

I have read one or two presidential biographies and loads of books about the Kennedy’s, but I’ve never read a presidential memoir…. Until now…

I don’t know that I could add anything special or unique in this review that others haven’t already mentioned really. I think it goes without saying that the book is very well written, intelligent, thoughtful and sincere.

I enjoyed the private peak into his upbringing, how he and Michelle met, and learned more about his early career in politics. Hearing him speak of these important and tender moments in his life has a real intimacy to it one would never get by reading a standard biography.

One could also feel the real tension and excitement surrounded his first campaign for president, especially when it looked as though he might have a real shot at winning.

From there, he muses on what it felt like really be the president of the United States. I also felt it was a little amusing to read about his first meeting with other world leaders, how serious he took the first summits he attended, and how he quickly caught on to all the pomp and circumstance- not really becoming jaded- just more seasoned as time went on.

This is a thick book, and it took me a little time to get through it. The first portions are easy reading, with Obama’s charm shining through, especially when he speaks about Michelle, and his daughters. His optimism, and idealism was palpable, and it was easy to get caught up in his enthusiasm.

Once we got the White House years, the wheels of politics and realism tamps down on some of that, and the office takes its toll on family life too.
Reading this book, I got a much better understanding of the mechanics of the job, from someone who takes it to heart, the obstacles, and triumphs, and how weighty the pressure can be. I also think I understood President Obama better from a personal standpoint, too.

Overall, I found the book to be informative, interesting, and was also like receiving a history lesson. Obama’s first term in office seems like such a long time ago now, reliving the challenges he faced during that time, and through the benefit of hindsight, was also enlightening and thought provoking.

Now, for the record, I do not ever gush over presidents or politicians. I don’t think it’s healthy to have blind faith in them, even if you respect them, or admire them. It’s always good to think for yourself, to question the answers, and challenge leaders, to hold them accountable. No president is perfect, mistakes are made, there are poor judgment calls sometimes, bad advice is given, and policies will be popular with some, but not all.

That said, I really miss Obama in a palpable way, which is something I never experience with any other president, and frankly, it was good to hear from him again.

There is not a Black America and a white America and a Latino America and an Asian America. There’s the United States of America.

Amen! ( )
  gpangel | Mar 29, 2021 |
9. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
reader: the author
published: 2020
format: 29:10 audible audiobook (751 pages in hardcover... !!)
acquired: Jan 23
listened: Jan 23-Mar 13
rating: 4
locations: mainly the 2008 campaign trail and the White House
about the author: born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii

Read patiently by Obama, this long and drawn out memoir becomes warm and pleasant and was a terrific way to spend my various drives and walks. He states up front that his goal is to give the reader a sense of what it's like to be president, and he makes a good effort to actually make do on that. It covers Obama‘s campaign and first years as president. I found it terrific and also an interesting, and it has me, still, rethinking. I love how he reads this on audio and I love how he carefully works every topic through, capturing all the input from his various advisers and explaining his own reasoning for what he chose to pursue and do. And I like his humorous but reasonable responses to various crazy problems. I was kind of surprised how much he did accomplish those first years that I hadn‘t paid attention to. But I found this especially insightful to learn his thoughts on why he didn‘t do some things I really wanted him to do. Recommended mainly because it's an enjoyable mindset to spend some time with.

2021
https://www.librarything.com/topic/328037#7464426 ( )
1 stem dchaikin | Mar 27, 2021 |
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O, fly and never tire,

Fly and never tire,

Fly and never tire,

There's a great camp meeting in the Promised Land.

------------from an african american spiritual
Don't discount our powers;

We have made a pass

At the infinite.

-------------Robert Frost, "Kitty Hawk"
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To Michelle---my love and life's partner
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Malia and Sasha-----whose dazzling light makes everything brighter
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[Preface] I began writing this book shortly after the end of my presidency--after Michelle and I had boarded Air Force One for the last time and traveled west for a long-deferred break.
Of all the rooms and halls and landmarks that make up the White House and its grounds, it was the West Colonnade that I loved best.
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For war was contradiction, as was the history of America.
Looking back, I sometimes ponder the age-old question of how much difference the particular characteristics of individual leaders make in the sweep of history---whether those of us who rise to power are mere conduits for the deep, relentless currents of the times or whether we're at least partly the authors of what's to come.
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