Former President Obama’s New Book: “He wrote it himself, by hand, on yellow legal pads.”

From a post  by David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, about the magazine publishing an excerpt from former President Barack Obama’s new book A Promised Land:

This week, The New Yorker is publishing a long piece by Barack Obama about the ferocious battle over his most transformative piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act. In “A President Looks Back on His Toughest Fight,” which is adapted from his forthcoming memoir, “A Promised Land,” the forty-fourth President grapples with the ongoing American debate over health care: the root of the problem, the countervailing interests, the ambitions, the setbacks, the politics—“the art of the possible,” as Obama describes the process. . . .

President Obama’s approach is by turns committed, self-questioning, and meditative. He also provides a look at the day-to-day job of being President, and writes with a keen concentration on detail, episode, and dialogue. . . .

The Presidential memoir is ordinarily a literary meal somewhat less delicious than library paste. Former inhabitants of the Oval Office generally leave that quiet, intimidating room prematurely aged, worn out, and defensive. The bone-weary ex is in no mood for self-doubt or hard thinking. . . .

The writing did not come easily. In the summer of 2019, I met with President Obama and he made it plain that the book was proving far more stubborn than he had hoped. Like many authors, he was not without help in research and fact checking, but he wrote the book himself, by hand, on yellow legal pads.

Despite the familiar frustrations, the manuscript grew. At a certain point, Obama decided that, unless his publisher was willing to wait a few more years and publish a binding-busting tome, he’d be better off dividing the memoir into two volumes.

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