(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal
Devoted to English Language and Literature)
Barack Obama. A Promised Land. Penguin, 2020. Pp. 752, Price: Rs. 729/-, ASIN: B08JCRFJ4Z (Kindle Edition)
Reviewed by Anil Shrivastava 'Musafir'
A Promised Land is a chronicle of events in Barack Obama’s life’s journey, so far, in a historic perspective. A Promised Land is full of reflections, anecdotes and honest opinions about almost everyone Obama encountered in his political life.
Obama admits that he was perplexed on the first day of his presidency as he had to learn what to do in his new job. He was faced with the gargantuan task of saving the U.S. economy. Eventually, he succeeded in stabilizing the global financial system, saving the U.S. auto industry and stopping the meltdown of housing crisis through “Home Affordable Modification Program or HAMP. I personally benefited from everything mentioned above and am thankful to Mr. Obama for his initiatives. It was all accomplished through his perseverance, organizational skills and choosing right advisors.
Obama takes the readers along with him everywhere he goes including the far corners of the world- his own home where he interacts with his wife, Michelle Obama and two children, to the White House, to his cabinet meetings and beyond.
Obama talks candidly about his relationship with Jeremiah Wright, a controversial African-American religious leader and how the media misrepresented their relationship.
He also talks at length about Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. He mentions the frustration that Hillary Clinton experienced losing to Obama, a junior senator from Illinois. At the same time, he also realizes that Hillary is a smart and ambitious woman “who had chafed under the constraints of their times.”
Surprisingly, he doesn’t talk about Trump until towards the end of the book where he writes, “For most of my first two years in office, Trump was apparently complimentary of my presidency, telling Bloomberg that ‘overall I believe he’s done a very good job’; but maybe because I didn’t watch much television, I found it hard to take him too seriously.”
Obama also mentions his perception of Indian politics and its leaders. He mentions this about Manmohan Singh, “he had been India’s finance minister in the 1990s, managing to lift millions of people from poverty. For the duration of his tenure as prime minister, I would find Singh to be wise, thoughtful, and scrupulously honest.
He mentions an interesting anecdote about the king of Saudi Arabia, “He (the king) explained that he had twelve wives.” Obama then asked, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, Your Majesty, but how do you keep up with twelve wives?” Obama honestly reflects his frustration with partisan politics and how that greatly impeded passage of the Affordable Care Act also known as Obama Care. Another topic dealt in detail is Osama bin Laden’s killing.
All in all, A Promised Land is a good read about our contemporary history and lessons learned from the events.
About the Reviewer:
Born on Dec 03, 1946, Anil Shrivastava (pen name Musafir) is a retired engineer with great accomplishments but writing is his first love. He is a founder member, partner and managing editor of TheThinkClub. He is a great proponent of independent thinking among fellow human beings, which also means being non-partisan and unbiased. He resides in Rochester, Michigan, USA and can also be contacted through email- email@example.com