Sep 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Barack Obama to release first volume of memoirs after election

The book cover with Barack Obama's face on it.
Photo: Penguin Random House

Former President Obama's memoir will be published in two volumes — with a 768-page Volume 1, "A Promised Land," out Nov. 17 in 25 languages, publisher Penguin Random House announced Thursday.

What we're hearing: The long wait for the book has been a running joke with former Obama aides, but they tell Axios it's worth the wait.

  • Obama is a graceful, thoughtful writer who cares about the words — and has two previous bestsellers, "Dreams from My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope."
  • The ferociously competitive Obama knows he's unlikely to outsell Michelle Obama's "Becoming," which was the biggest selling U.S. book of 2018, and remained on the N.Y. Times bestseller list for well more than a year.

In his own words, Obama will give a personal account of his "improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world," per the announcement.

  • "We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his Cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act."

Details: Obama will narrate an audio edition.

  • There is not yet a release date for the second volume.

What he's saying: "There’s no feeling like finishing a book, and I’m proud of this one. 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," Obama said in a statement.

  • "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.

Flashback: Penguin Random House secured the rights to the memoir back in 2017, after a bidding war that reportedly exceeded $60 million.

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