Barack Obama released the long-awaited first volume of his memoir of his eight years as US president just after Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. The timing was likely calculated, in the hope that Joe Biden would be inaugurated as president in January 2021, and the reception to Obama’s 700-page tome was instructive of the ways in which recent history is already being skewed to suit the country’s first African-American head of state.
A Promised Land sold in huge numbers—the final tally will be in the millions of copies—and garnered near-universal praise. Obama was treated like a rock star across virtually all media outlets, receiving fawning interviews and reviews. The corporate press clearly missed the familiarity of Obama’s Washington, a world away from the garish appetites and policies of Trump and his cronies, and its coverage of the book was more akin to a holy text. Criticisms of the book and of Obama were in short supply.
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