Obama said the book will offer an "honest accounting" of his presidency from his perspective

By Benjamin VanHoose
September 17, 2020 08:50 AM
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Pari Dukovic/Penguin Random House

Former President Barack Obama has put pen to paper — 768 pages, to be precise — about his time in the White House. And that’s only half the story.

On Thursday, the 44th U.S. President announced the first of two volumes of his memoirs will be published on Tuesday, Nov. 17, by Penguin Random House, titled A Promised Land. Obama, 59, said in a press release that the book will offer an "honest accounting" of his presidency from his perspective.

"There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one," he said. "I’ve spent the last few years reflecting on my presidency, and in A Promised Land I’ve tried to provide an honest accounting of my presidential campaign and my time in office: the key events and people who shaped it; my take on what I got right and the mistakes I made; and the political, economic, and cultural forces that my team and I had to confront then — and that as a nation we are grappling with still."

Obama said the memoir will also delve into his relationship with his wife and former First Lady Michelle Obama. The pair — who share daughters Sasha, 19, and Malia, 22 — will celebrate 28 years of marriage next month.

"In the book, I’ve also tried to give readers a sense of the personal journey that Michelle and I went through during those years, with all the incredible highs and lows," he added. "And finally, at a time when America is going through such enormous upheaval, the book offers some of my broader thoughts on how we can heal the divisions in our country going forward and make our democracy work for everybody — a task that won’t depend on any single president, but on all of us as engaged citizens."

PEOPLE understands that the former president did not use a collaborator or ghostwriter, instead writing the first draft in longhand on legal pads and then typing it into a computer himself, as is his editing process. The first volume covers Obama's tenure through the 2011 assassination of Osama bin Laden. The second volume has not yet been written.

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Obama concluded that he hopes the book is not only an entertaining read but one that inspires a generation to be engaged in "remaking the world for the better."

"Along with being a fun and informative read, I hope more than anything that the book inspires young people across the country — and around the globe — to take up the baton, lift up their voices, and play their part in remaking the world for the better," he said.

A Promised Land will be published in 25 languages and sold around the world. Obama will also narrate the audiobook edition. Mrs. Obama's memoir Becoming broke records in 2019 with more than 11.7 million in sales, and she went on to win a Grammy for her audiobook recording of the book. The Obamas signed book deals for their memoirs in 2017.