Barack Obama sees his elevation to the highest post of US president as a logical conclusion to the black minority struggle for legitimacy and equality within US. That is the reason he picked the title of his memoirs from the famous last speech of Martin Luther King Jr. On 3 April 1968, a day before he was murdered, King roared in Memphis, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead, but it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land”.
Well Barrack’s United States was not exactly the Promised Land that Martin Luther King had imagined but with Barack Obama in the White House, it almost seemed achievable. I’ve read Barack’s previous books so was aware of his early struggles but still his perspective of those early days after becoming president is enlightening. Early success to Barack Obama did not come easy, he strived hard but once he decided to stand for the highest post of the land, everything aligned for his success and he unexpectedly saw himself almost pushed into the White House.
Barack has given an honest account of his days in the White House, the book covers only his first term but the reader can still grasp the intricacies of US politics and how even the supreme leader with veto powers cannot get his way through the long corridors of US Capitol. The bipartisan politics is bane of any US president but with a black president in White House it really became nasty and ultimately things deteriorated to an extend that led to the rise of someone like Trump who discredited the legacy of first Black US presidency.
In this memoir Barack Obama comes out as someone who can get the best minds to collaborate together for the greater good of US and world. Things most of the time did not go as planned but at all times brightest minds available were looking at the complex issues a US president has to deal with and decisions were being made with the best intelligence and information at hand. Barack inspired everyone around him, be it his treasury secretary or White House gardener or chef. He installed meritocracy within White House and best talent was promoted, he strived hard to get Hillary Clinton work for him or even kept Robert Gates in-spite of the ideological differences. That is the mark of a great leader, Barack ensured that while he is a ultimate arbitrator, decisions are being made across the table by eligible people who were trained and experienced enough to make those decisions.
I’ve read memoirs of previous presidents like Bill Clinton, Truman and others but this book provides the best peek to the mind of a US President and workings of US politics. I’m waiting eagerly to get my hands on the sequel of the book from one of the better US presidents.