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A Promised Land – tekijä: Barack Obama
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A Promised Land (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2020; vuoden 2020 painos)

– tekijä: Barack Obama (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut / Maininnat
2,046855,935 (4.37)1 / 128
Jäsen:macnabbs
Teoksen nimi:A Promised Land
Kirjailijat:Barack Obama (Tekijä)
Info:Viking (2020), Edition: 01, 768 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
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Teoksen tarkat tiedot

Luvattu maa (tekijä: Barack Obama (Author)) (2020)

Viimeisimmät tallentajatMorteana, tjohncowan, Mike_Donaghue, RichfieldUMC, Elizabeth.Petruy, kidsread, kporzelt, mjmoran1996, kayhag5, yksityinen kirjasto
PerintökirjastotTim Spalding
  1. 00
    Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War (tekijä: Robert M. Gates) (Cecrow)
  2. 00
    Minun tarinani (tekijä: Michelle Obama) (Cecrow)
  3. 01
    The Untold History of the United States (tekijä: 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.
    … (lisätietoja)
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The gratitude I have for President Obama is similar to how I feel about Peter Jackson, the director of the immensely popular Lord of the Rings movies. Both men were fortunate to have a lucky combination of raw talent and an enviable work ethic. And both men were relatively young and untested on the international stage prior to their achievements. And both have given the world a wonderous gift that is uniquely their own. We're lucky they were given a chance.

Barack Obama and his "Yes We Can" theme stands in stark contrast to the Republican presidencies surrounding his tenure. American politics, and politics in general, has always been about reigning in those who wish to press forward too quickly and urging ahead those who aren't moving ahead quickly enough. Obama's presidency came at a time when the globalization divide amongst its people was at its widest ever. So that was the challenge, and still is -- leading a country into a globally interconnected future that's already tearing the country apart.

A Promised Land is part one of a two book series. This one covers Obama's entire political career through to the start of his 2012 re-election campaign. And I actually didn't know about the second book as I was reading and it frequently nagged me that his 2nd term would be rushed or mostly ignored. Much to my relief and delight, this is not the case. As I write this, the next book isn't out yet.

One of my favorite quotes, which echoes my own life:
"Although Michelle's tastes and mine often diverged. She preferred rom-coms while, according to her, my favorite movies usually involved 'terrible things happening to people and then they die.'" ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Jul 23, 2021 |
A well-written presidential memoir—how many of those have there been? Now take out those that were ghosted or "as told to." You might be able to think of a second one, I can't.
The length of A Promised Land is daunting going in, but the book offers a good narrative that pulls you along. Part of the length is from Obama's desire to recognize many people who helped secure the successes and share the disappointments. Obama stresses that a presidency is a team effort, something that surely did not first occur to him during his successor's administration. In addition to widely sharing the credit, Obama is sparing with blame. The number of those about whom he can find little or nothing good to say is small and includes the likely suspects. More numerous are those opponents such as John McCain, about whom he mixes generous praise with his criticism.
Also adding to the length is that this book is a civics primer, balancing insight into how government really works (or doesn't) with aspirational glimpses of what it could be. The choice of article to preface the title is a hint that, while Obama worked for significant reform, he knew that neither his administration nor any other could make the U. S. "the" promised land. Still, it could work to bring its reality closer to its ideals. He writes as if he genuinely believes in the "hopeful, generous, courageous America" (p. 690) that he envisions.
Moderating this idealism, however, is a conservative temperament (something evident in his first inaugural address, for those with ears to hear). The Barack Obama that the author portrays for us is close to the impression I'd had of him during his administration: cerebral, analytical, devoted to good process as essential for even the hope of good results. As he admits, "If every argument had two sides, I usually came up with four" (p. 83). He is open about his self-doubt, questioning how much good, in a lasting way, he or anyone else can accomplish. One of my favorite scenes in the book is his visit to the pyramids.
Obama's modesty about what can be achieved may have perversely clouded our perception of what his administration did, in fact, achieve. We had hoped for more, so did he. Something else we may have taken for granted at the time, but didn't take long to miss, is the basic decency, the unfailing dignity, that Obama and his family brought to the White House. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
What a way to bridge the gap from 2020 to 2021. If you have never read anything written by our former President then you should fix that immediately. His writing is emotional, forceful, organized, compelling, and just plain interesting. I'm not going to spend too much time on the content of this book, suffice it to say that it basically covers through the end of his first term, but the feeling of reading it was cathartic and uplifting for me. I have gotten so tired of the debasing of our political discourse, as President Obama puts it, "how you could build power not by putting others down but by lifting them up." I'm also so frightened of the rampant anti-intellectualism running through parts of the country. Just think about how so many championed a candidate for Vice President when, to quote our author again, "And what became abundantly clear as soon as Sarah Palin stepped into the spotlight was that on just about every subject relevant to governing the country she had absolutely no idea what the hell she was talking about." There is a lot of fascinating discussion about those types of topics, but what really got me was dealing with an accomplished, intelligent person who actually has humility, who can write "I’m painfully aware that a more gifted writer could have found a way to tell the same story with greater brevity" even though he is a very gifted writer. And I was surprised, but should not have been, to see some honest talk about things that went wrong and things that didn't get done right. What a concept. It's called humanity. There is a section near the end of the book where the President is recounting the successful raid on Osama Bin Laden and he contrasts the unanimity and bi-partisan nature of that action with the plans to fix our healthcare system or any of the other systemic issues facing the nation. It is sad that we can't find that level of cooperation any longer where "[j]ust the observance of rules that allowed us to sort out or at least tolerate our differences, and government policies that raised living standards and improved education enough to temper humanity’s baser impulses." But instead we end up with a country where, like me, he "wondered when exactly such a sizable portion of the American Right had become so frightened and insecure that they’d completely lost their minds." I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and being exposed again to the better angels of our nature instead of "a larger, darker reality in which partisan affiliation and political expedience would threaten to blot out everything—your previous positions; your stated principles; even what your own senses, your eyes and ears, told you to be true." Remembering a President who knows one of the most fundamental truths of life, "Get exposed to other people’s truths, I thought, and attitudes change." The opposite of building literal and figurative walls. I enjoyed also the process sections where he takes us through the discussions, arguments, and planning that went into actions his administration took. I am already looking forward to the second volume and any other books President Obama decides to write. And in the meantime I am going to try even when it seems useless because it is good to remember that "Whatever you do won’t be enough, I heard their voices say. Try anyway." Indeed. ( )
  MarkMad | Jul 14, 2021 |
In his introductory remarks, Obama tells the reader that one of his goals for the book is to give a sense of what it's actually like to be president, and I think he does an excellent job.

This means that the account covers a lot of ground: his very personal emotions, the grind of the campaign trail, pains and joys, the routine of the White House, and the big crises he faced. And before he describes those crises, he provides incredibly detailed backgrounds on the situations so the reader can have an understanding of the many elements at play: economics, the Deepwater Horizon oil well, and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sometimes I skimmed those background sections, but even when I did I was deeply impressed by the enormity of the information a president must take in, analyze, and act on. Obama makes it clear that he relied heavily on a top-quality team to process a lot of the information before presenting him with the essentials (any president does), but it's also clear that the final decisions were his, and he made them with appropriate gravity.

He speaks of his entire team with affection and respect, and only recounts one or two times when there was a big enough lapse or miss that he got angry. Even then, he acknowledges the incredible pressures and demands everyone was always under.

His descriptions of his impressions and opinions of other politicians (Dems and GOP) and foreign leaders are fascinating as well, as are his descriptions of it's like to be a visiting dignitary in another country.

Donald Trump makes an appearance as one of the biggest proponents of the 'birtherism' movement. Obama the writer doesn't acknowledge what was to come, focusing instead on his reactions at the time. . . but I found it chilling to be reminded of Trump's 'political' roots.

There is a good-sized photo collection in the back, which was a nice surprise to this Kindle user. I own Pete Souza's large book, but most of the images here were new to me.

Through it all, Barack Obama the man emerges as someone who is deeply thoughtful, humane, service-oriented, a responsible leader, large-hearted, and very, very intelligent.

Something to consider before starting: this very big book does not cover both his terms. It covers *half* of his first term, up to the raid that killed bin Laden.

It took me a solid month to finish this book, and it was sometimes a bit of a trudge, but I will definitely read the subsequent volumes. ( )
  jsabrina | Jul 13, 2021 |
Published reviews support this being one of the better presidential memoirs, a genre usually made dry as dust while promoting an "I did everything right" argument. This one is about as humble as you can imagine coming from a POTUS. Obama has no end of praise for the people around him, as if he only profited from their work, but he does allow that he has a talent for speech-writing. That clearly carries over into recording his memoirs. Obama chose every word himself (no one else has author credit). He is excellent in his descriptions and clarity. Given the wide-ranging issues and complexities, Obama has a real gift for simplifying his subject matter without dumbing it down. It's very important to him that everyone who reads his book understands the ins and outs, and often the history, something that he says didn't work in speeches but works very well here. Perhaps as he did this, he was also writing for the ages.

The shared details are sometimes surprising: the exact order of occupants in the series of cars driving to his inauguration, the safety features of Air Force One, etc. I presume all of this received some kind of vetting and clearance, and there may be a great deal more that he isn't telling us. He plays down Hollywood images: the Situation Room is nothing to marvel at, the interior of Air Force One is still 1980s decor and features worse wi-fi than private airlines, his state-of-the-art connection to Washington cut out while he was in Brazil, etc. But even while brushing off those illusions he almost creates a big one of his own: that the president's job is straightforward. I'd almost believe I could do it as well, if it is only a matter of having the decisions presented to me and choosing the least worst option according to my best advisors. Somehow, I think there's more to it. The answer lies partly hidden behind Obama's modesty, and partly by the simplified narrative. We only get one brief glimpse of the real overlap he faced in having to multitask many issues at once, during his telling of the Deepwater Horizon crisis.

He also writes insightfully about race relations, and especially about the image he projected during his first campaign. In chapter six he explores why he approached the campaign not as a champion for black rights but a champion for all of the downtrodden, whatever their background. There were consequences for what he did, risks he took, obvious on reflection but not visible in his constant smile: the fears of those behind the scenes who felt certain any black man aspiring to be President was certain to be shot at, supported by the secret service's warning that they had never seen so many threats against a candidate before.

On the political side, which of course is most of the content, Obama's theme may be summed up in this one line: "The Recovery Act passed the House 244 to 188 with precisely zero Republican votes. It was the opening salvo in a battle plan that McConnell, Boehner, Cantor, and the rest would employ with impressive discipline for the next eight years." It's a stark picture, and Obama attaches his opinion of what this strictly partisan attitude meant - and still means - for the state of his country. If Obama is being objective then the Republican party is in a very sorry state. If he's not (but how not?), perhaps he is jealous of the Republican party whip.

This memoir ends at not quite the conclusion of his first term, with the tracking down of Osama bin Laden. The NYT points out that Nelson Mandela told his entire life story in fewer pages, but Obama is telling his story so well that I can't see where he ought have to have condensed it. I hardly followed his presidency from here in Canada while it was happening, but I've a greater appreciation now for what he accomplished while in office. Even if later it is for no other reason than because he was the first black President, I'm sure that he will remain under the historical microscope for as long as American history is studied. All of those studies, whether for or against him, are going to benefit enormously from this tremendous job he has committed to paper. ( )
  Cecrow | Jul 11, 2021 |
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Obama, BarackTekijäensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Obama, BarackKertojamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
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Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
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Alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi
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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"
Omistuskirjoitus
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To Michelle---my love and life's partner
and
Malia and Sasha-----whose dazzling light makes everything brighter
Ensimmäiset sanat
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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.
Sitaatit
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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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(Napsauta nähdäksesi. Varoitus: voi sisältää juonipaljastuksia)
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Alkuteoksen kieli
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