I am currently reading for review Barack Obama’s newest book, A Promised Land (Crown, 2020). Now more than halfway through the long text (750 pages), I want to speed up my reading so that I can get my review done as soon as possible. But, as has been the case since I began the read, I am so taken with the writing and what Obama has to say that I stop and ponder, then read again.
The marvel is that the writing is all Obama’s. He employed no ghostwriters. Among his many virtues is that he is a fine writer. And what he has to write about is compelling. His days as a senator, running for the presidency, and first term as the most powerful man on earth make for mesmerizing reading. His success, despite being Black and having a name that sounds Asian, is remarkable in and of itself.
Following a long-established tradition of an ex-president not criticizing his successor, Obama has said little about the disastrous presidency of Donald Trump. I don’t expect to find anything like that in A Promised Land or the volume that is to follow it on his second term in the White House. But maybe once Trump has left the presidency, Obama will finally deliver a judgment.
Meanwhile, I am spellbound by the book. I am more and more persuaded that Obama is a great man.