Barack Obama: Former president announces memoir release date

Barack Obama: Former president announces memoir release date

Barack Obama speaking in Germany in September 2019Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

The memoir will be released on 17 November, two weeks after the US presidential election

Former US President Barack Obama has announced the publication date of the first half of his memoirs.

Mr Obama – the first black president and husband of Michelle Obama – said the book would “try to provide an honest account of my presidency”.

A Promised Land is set for release on 17 November, just two weeks after the US presidential election.

The Democratic leader won two elections and served as president between 2009 and 2017.

Joe Biden – his vice-president for those two terms – is challenging Mr Obama’s successor, Republican leader Donald Trump, for the presidency on 3 November.

“There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one,” Mr Obama wrote on Twitter.

The 768-page memoir will be simultaneously issued in 25 languages, according to publisher Penguin Random House.

Mr Obama writes about the response to the global financial crisis, his landmark healthcare reform legislation known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, and the 2011 US raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

The 44th president of the US has written three previous books, including Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope as well as the children’s book Of Thee I Sing.

His wife, lawyer and former First Lady Michelle Obama, has published her own memoir. Within five months of publication, Becoming had sold more than 10 million copies.

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Media captionAuthor Viv Groskop looks at Michelle Obama’s power as a public speaker

Mr Obama may struggle to outshine his wife, but this would not be the first time spouses have bested presidents. Both Nancy Reagan and Betty Ford’s memoirs outsold their husbands’ works.

President Ronald Reagan however may not have minded. His work, An American Life, was ghost written by the journalist Robert Lindsey. At the book’s launch Mr Reagan said: “I hear it’s a terrific book. One of these days I’m going to read it myself.”

There were rumours in the 19th century that the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S Grant by the post-Civil War president was in fact penned by the famous US writer Mark Twain, whose company published the work.

Mr Twain however denied the allegation, and editors of Mr Grant’s papers have dismissed the claim as “completely baseless”, as much of what was published still survives as notes handwritten by Mr Grant himself.

President Grant’s 584-page tome eventually became one of the highest-selling books of the 19th century.

But for those looking for a lighter read, the record for shortest memoir goes to President Calvin Coolidge. The famously laconic leader’s work is a succinct 247 pages.

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