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A Promised Land av Barack Obama
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A Promised Land (urspr publ 2020; utgåvan 2020)

av Barack Obama (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
1,790687,025 (4.38)1 / 105
Medlem:gconti
Titel:A Promised Land
Författare:Barack Obama (Författare)
Info:Crown (2020), 768 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

Verkdetaljer

Ett förlovat land av Barack Obama (Author) (2020)

  1. 00
    Min historia av Michelle Obama (Cecrow)
  2. 01
    The Untold History of the United States av 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.
    … (mer)
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Visa 1-5 av 66 (nästa | visa alla)
“A Promised Land” often reads like a conversation Obama is having with himself — questioning his ambition, wrestling with whether the sacrifices were worth it, toggling between pride in his administration’s accomplishments and self-doubt over whether he did enough. Written in the Trump era, his elegant prose is freighted with uncertainty about the state of our politics, about whether we can ever reach the titular promised land. ( )
  sofiamarina12 | Apr 30, 2021 |
I read both of Obama's previous books and came away a little disappointed. While I learned in them of his family background and some of his life in Chicago he did not sound like the Obama we know. They did show us that he's always had hopes and dreams and was willing to help others but he didn't sound like a professor of law specializing in Constitutional law or even a lawyer. They gave no insight to his policy wonk creds. Don't worry, this book is definitely in his voice and shows lots of policy cred, it's much more wonky.

There's lots in this book. Originally it was supposed to cover both terms of Obama's presidency. As it became long and longer that plan was abandoned and the revised plan was for a two volume set. This volume does not even complete the first term, there's barely a mention of the campaign for re-election, stay tuned there's more to come. Anyone who lived through that period will recognize many of the events. Given that there was lots that was included it was a constant guessing game wondering what was going to make the cut. While a small piece of the third White House Correspondent's diner is included the first two diners are not. Never clear why except that the third one included the ribbing/roasting of Donald Trump and that's the only part of the third one which made the cut. Yes it was the end of the birtherism phase so in some sense it was important but there were other pieces which might have made interesting reading. As I read I wondered whether a small incident would make the cut. I remembered that when Obama became President he was addicted to his BlackBerry. I had heard that the Secret Service considered it a security risk and negotiated a solution with him. The BlackBerry incident does make the cut. Turns out they removed the microphone from the BlackBerry making it non functional as a phone. The interesting side of this story which is revealed in the book is that Michelle referred to the neutered device as being like a toy you bought for a kid so they could play with the buttons and act like they were actually making a call. In some sense this is the kind of extra which makes this book interesting - you would not have known about it except for this book.

And yes, it does include a description of Obama's role in the big one - bringing bin Laden to justice. In fact this event is used as a way to end this volume on a high note. It does tell us what Obama was doing leading up to the big event and who he wasn't telling about what was going down. An insight we learn is about that famous photograph of all of them watching as it unfolded. We believe it's a photo of the group in the Situation room. Turns out it's actually a room next to the situation room. There was no video monitor in the Situation room showing what was happening. In the next room it was on the screen. So Obama wanders over there and everyone follows, including Pete Souza, the photographer. If this kind of detail interests you this is the book for you. No new grand insights, lots of I wish I could have, wouldn't it have been great if we could haves. That worked for me. ( )
  Ed_Schneider | Apr 29, 2021 |
President Barack Obama reflects on his presidential campaign and first four years of office in this first of a planned two-volume memoir.

Starting with the 2008 campaign and finishing just after Osama bin Laden's death, President Obama goes over his election and first years in office with a fine-toothed comb. I was interested in some things, and especially liked that I could remember a lot of the events he was discussing, but man, is it easy to get bogged down in detail. After reading the book for about a month, and then realizing that after a week's vacation I hadn't picked it up once, I switched to the audio for the second half. That went more smoothly, because though I know I didn't hang on every word while I was driving, I could kind of zone out over some details and still get the gist of things. Plus, Obama himself makes a great narrator and even had different voices when other people were talking. He comes across as very candid, detailed, and measured in his thinking, truly trying to do what is best for the American people in national and foreign policy. He addresses situations he was criticized for, such as his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his comments when Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested. And he is willing to acknowledge when he believes he got something wrong. He also pretty boldly calls out Republican leaders for not working with him, especially when what he wanted was similar to legislation they'd been calling shortly before office or when there was just all-out disinformation like the government "death panels" as part of Obamacare. I can't say I'd seek out volume 2 when it comes out, but I appreciated reading and listening to A Promised Land and would like to read his earlier memoirs. ( )
  bell7 | Apr 28, 2021 |
“Politics doesn’t have to be what people think it is. It can be something more.”

When Barack Obama started his rise to power, I felt hopeful but sceptical as well: Would America of all nations really elect a Black man as its president? And who was that guy anyway?

As a German, I had been vaguely aware of Obama but I knew next to nothing about him. That would change over time but do little to alleviate my scepticism: Even if this guy was for real, even if he truly believed what he said about change and equality - would this man stay true to his ideals? Would the power he was seeking corrupt him?

The first surprise came when he was actually elected as the next President of the United States of America. I became a little more hopeful. That was a powerful sign for the better - the first Afro-American president.

Obama didn’t deliver on all his promises - Guantanamo Bay detention camp still exists today for example. And yet… Obama helped the world through a recession that could have been much worse. He made “Obamacare” reality. Obama helped further LGBT rights in America and all over the world.

To me, personally, Barack Obama is an example for an honest, realistic but idealist politician. Thus, it was with some worry that I started reading the first part of his presidential memoirs, “A Promised Land”.

Would I be disenchanted? Would Obama be honest? Had I been deluded about him? The answers to those questions are a resounding “No!”, “Yes!” and “No!” respectively.

»Whatever vision I had for a more noble kind of politics, it would have to wait.«

Obama tells us about his rise through the ranks and, to my relief, he might not always have acted as “cleanly” as I had hoped for but he mostly did. Obama is quite honest about it and he strives to be better.

Throughout the entire 1.000 pages, Obama is not only honest about himself but fairly often self-deprecating and employing a dry humour:

»I mean dumb choices in the wake of considerable deliberation: those times when you identify a real problem in your life, analyze it, and then with utter confidence come up with precisely the wrong answer.«

From humble beginnings (»She [Michelle] reminded me that we had student loans, a mortgage, and credit card debt to think about.«), armed with the best intentions (»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.«) Obama rises to the daily challenges during his political career and always keeps that “moral compass” close at hand to try and do what feels right.

Obama obviously knew what was at stake because »I know that the day I raise my right hand and take the oath to be president of the United States, the world will start looking at America differently.«. And many of us did.

It was Obama who paved the way for “a skinny Black girl” (Amanda Goreman, at Biden’s inauguration) to dream of becoming president. Even before Goreman recited that, Obama wrote: »I know that kids all around this country—Black kids, Hispanic kids, kids who don’t fit in—they’ll see themselves differently, too, their horizons lifted, their possibilities expanded. And that alone…that would be worth it.”«

This book is testament to Obama’s efforts, his successes as well as his failures. On the down side, it’s long, often very “dry” and especially the deliberations about dealing with the financial crises were very extensive and, to me, too long.

Most of the time, Obama is conciliatory towards his political opponents. At times, though, he is very outspoken about his feelings:

»I wondered when exactly such a sizable portion of the American Right had become so frightened and insecure that they’d completely lost their minds.«

Truth to be told, I’m not sure I’m going to read the next part of Obama’s memoirs, though: These one-thousand pages were - at times - the hardest “literary nut” I had to crack and I barely made it through the book.

If you - like me - appreciate what Obama stands for and what he accomplished and “just” want to know if he was acting truthfully and honestly then, yes, I fully believe so after reading this. That gives me hope.

The fact that America went on to elect the orange menace into office was a setback that might yet be balanced by President Biden and, potentially, the first female Afro-American president.

Let’s hope together that Obama will keep playing a role in international politics because I truly believe we need more people like him, or, in Obama’s own words:

»So long as young men and women like that exist in every corner of this earth, I told myself, there is reason enough to hope.«



Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram ( )
  philantrop | Apr 25, 2021 |
For one of the first times since switching to audiobooks due to young children clambering for most of my time and my inability to stay awake when actually reading, I didn't feel like I was getting the next best version of the book while listening to Barack Obama. So, thanks Obama.

Anyway, this is a superbly written memoir and is a must read.

( )
  illmunkeys | Apr 22, 2021 |
Visa 1-5 av 66 (nästa | visa alla)
“A Promised Land” often reads like a conversation Obama is having with himself — questioning his ambition, wrestling with whether the sacrifices were worth it, toggling between pride in his administration’s accomplishments and self-doubt over whether he did enough. Written in the Trump era, his elegant prose is freighted with uncertainty about the state of our politics, about whether we can ever reach the titular promised land.
 

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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
and
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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