Barack Hussein Obama II was the forty-fourth President of the United States of America and America’s first African-American commander-in-chief. He served his first term in 2008 and was reelected for a second term in 2012. Obama was born and spent his childhood in Hawaii. He also spent four years in Indonesia.

Over his career, and while holding different government offices, Obama authored three books – Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (1995), The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (2006), and A Promised Land (2020).

His third novel, A Promised Land, went on to win the Best Memoir and Autobiography award at the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards.


A Promised Land is former US President Barack Obama’s first book of a two-part memoir. In this riveting account, Obama shares his journey from his childhood to becoming the President of a mighty nation.

Young Obama grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii with his maternal grandparents. His parents were together only for a short time and divorced rather early. Thereafter, he spent the rest of his childhood with his mother.

Nicknamed Barry by his school friends, like any other teenager, Obama spent his life playing sports and even trying to be in a relationship. In fact, his childhood friends still find it hard to believe that he is the same person they knew in school/college.

He won the hearts of the people of Illinois when he first ran for public office as a state senator in 1996. Years later, he sought a seat at the United States House of Representatives, but sadly lost. However, this only fueled his ambitions and he decided to run for a United States Senate position.

The two-year campaign for the Obama presidency started with a whirlwind of events in February 2007, but the efforts bore fruit as he won the election. After being sworn in as the POTUS, he immediately got down to business. During his presidency, he implemented many key decisions such as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare,  repealed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy that prohibited any homosexual or bisexual person from serving in the armed forces, and pushed the DREAM Act that granted temporary residency to the unauthorized immigrants who entered the country as minors.

However, these issues were temporarily brushed aside to prioritize an even greater mission, which was to capture Osama Bin Laden, America’s most-wanted terrorist. In 2011, a covert operation was planned after intelligence reports claimed that the Al-Qaeda leader was hiding in a compound in Pakistan. The operation was a success and America breathed a collective sigh of relief after Bin Laden was deservedly executed.


The book reads like a conversation you would have with a friend over a cup of coffee rather than the former US President discussing crucial aspects of his career. Obama had no qualms about sharing and accepting his shortcomings while striving to become a better person and a better President day in and day out.


While A Promised Land does give us a glimpse into the former president’s personal life, it leaves us asking for more.


I experienced failure and learned to buck up so I could rally those who’d put their trust in me. I suffered rejections and insults often enough to stop fearing them. In other words, I grew up – and got my sense of humor back.

But you don’t choose the time. The time chooses you. Either you seize what may turn out to be the only chance you have, or you decide you’re willing to live with the knowledge that the chance has passed you by.

Glory and tragedy, courage and stupidity – one set of truths didn’t negate the other. For war was contradiction, as was the history of America.


Ameya Score:

A Promised Land merits a solid 4.5 stars out of a possible 5. The former American President is open, honest and hopeful about his country’s future and has an unshakeable belief in the power of democracy. It gives American citizens and people all over the world plenty of reasons to do the same.

…now that you’re here

As you might know, Ameya runs on a purely non-profit basis. With no tangible products on offer, advertisements and donations are our only two sources of keeping this blog up and running. You could convey your support to us with something as little as $5 - that's less than what an average Starbucks would cost!