Obama Book Hype: 'Most Anticipated' Memoir from 'the Most Literary President' Since Lincoln

September 17th, 2020 2:51 PM

It doesn't take much to rouse the Obama-worshiping press, and it happened on Thursday when Barack Obama announced his new memoir A Promised Land will be available for sale on November 17.

Obama tweeted: "I try to provide an honest accounting of my presidency, the forces we grapple with as a nation, and how we can heal our divisions and make democracy work for everybody."

The guy who mocked the bitter clingers to guns and religion is going to lecture about divisiveness. Obama has now split his memoirs into two volumes. This one will cover his life up through the takedown of Osama bin Laden in 2011. Don't bother looking for Reverend Wright in the index. 

AP writer Hillel Italie won the prize for laying it on thick: 

The 768-page book is the most anticipated presidential memoir in memory, as much or more because of the quality of the writing than for any possible revelations. He has been called the most literary president since Abraham Lincoln and has already written two highly praised, million-selling books: Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, both of which have been cited as aiding his presidential run in 2008 and making him the country's first Black president.

Even with a substantial list price of $45, The Promised Land is virtually guaranteed to sell millions of copies. But it will face challenges far different from most presidential memoirs, and even from former first lady Michelle Obama's blockbuster book, “Becoming,” which came out two years ago. Because of the pandemic, the former president will likely be unable to have the spectacular arena tour that Michelle Obama had.

There was no mention that Washington Post editor David Maraniss found Dreams from My Father to be full of fictional tales in his biography of Obama, which might raise questions about the veracity of the new book. Apparently only the "haters" would revisit such a point. 

Italie added "The November release will be welcomed not only by Obama readers, but by booksellers and fellow publishers who anticipate that the massive demand for A Promised Land will raise sales for everyone," but it could also exacerbated "chronic printing shortages."

The New York Times added: "To accommodate such an enormous order, Crown plans to print about 1 million of those books in Germany and has arranged for three ships, outfitted with 112 shipping containers, to bring those copies to the United States. Mr. Obama and Michelle Obama sold their memoirs to Crown as a package deal for a record-smashing $65 million. So far, it doesn’t look like they overpaid." Mrs. Obama's memoir Becoming has sold 8.1 million copies.  

The Wall Street Journal turned for comment to Politics & Prose bookstore owner Bradley Graham -- a former Washington Post reporter. If Biden wins, he said, there “will be a lot of enthusiasm for recalling the Obama years.” If Mr. Biden loses, readers “will be looking for solace.”