Former President Barack Obama Releases New Memoir and Playlist


(Courtesy Flickr)

By Frank Gardner, Assistant Arts Editor


Former President Barack Obama’s new playlist and 768-page, award-winning memoir “A Promised Land” were released earlier this month as the 2020 U.S. election drew to a close. The memoir highlights former President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election campaign and his first term in office. The playlist is a soundtrack for the history and moments remembered in the book. 

A Memoir to Remember

The book goes into great detail about the former president’s decision to run for office, his relationship with his family and the achievements of his presidency. 

Obama’s writing style is descriptive, thorough and, at times, poetic. The charisma and charm that won him the election is visible in his storytelling and turn of phrase. His writing style is intentional and self-examining, which allows him to present a clear message throughout the memoir.

Obama is known to be a great writer and public speaker. “A Promised Land” is no exception to this and is by no means his first effort in writing history for himself and the nation. Including this memoir, he has written a total of four books covering everything from his personal history to the history and climate of American politics. His wife, former first lady and attorney Michelle Obama is also a critically acclaimed author of two books. 

The Legacy and Image

The smooth, strong image many Americans have of Obama continues to be carefully orchestrated in this book. “A Promised Land” aims to accomplish a political goal rather than tell the full story of Obama’s presidency. The financial crisis of 2008 and the assassination of militant leader Osama bin Laden are covered in great detail while other, less appealing stories are quietly ignored. 

The book moves slowly through the president’s achievements and memories. Many decisions made by the former president are covered tactically to such an extent that his actual actions have little room to be showcased. A similar emphasis is placed on events that put Obama in a good light, while mere paragraphs are dedicated to those that don’t. For instance, a controversial and expansive immigration policy implemented by Obama’s predecessor, former President George W. Bush, is covered in less than a page. 

The Music of ‘A Promised Land’

According to Spotify, the book’s official playlist consists of “songs spoken about and from the time period of President Barack Obama’s book ‘A Promised Land.'”

It’s no secret that the Obamas are music-lovers. The former president and first lady have often shared playlists and book lists with the world, making them relatable and down-to-earth in the public eye. 

This most recent playlist features 20 songs from 18 artists, living and dead, who have made their mark on the U.S. — some since the late ’60s. Classic songs that have defined American pop culture over the years are a relevant, sentimental pairing to the book’s release. 

“A Promised Land” has received criticism by many who say the book shows Obama is just another politician through and through. The book and feel-good playlist seem to support that claim, but there is no denying that the former president’s election and time in office fundamentally changed the course of American politics. 

“A Promised Land” is available for purchase online and in-person at bookstores throughout the world. The accompanying playlist can be found on Spotify.