Obama has taken longer than most recent presidents to complete his memoir, with the first volume coming nearly four years after the end of his second term. (George W. Bush’s “Decision Points,” a single volume, arrived within two years).
He has been writing during unusual times, even before the pandemic spread earlier this year.
His successor in the White House, Donald Trump, has attacked and upended achievements of the Obama administration ranging from the Iran nuclear treaty to “Obamacare”.
Whether Trump or Obama's vice president, Joe Biden, wins the election may well determine Obama's legacy and will shape how the book is read.
Obama is not the first president to publish more than one volume of memoirs; Dwight Eisenhower also wrote two.
But he had been expected to write just one when Penguin Random House first announced, in February 2017, a multimillion joint publication deal with Barack and Michelle Obama.
On Thursday, Crown Publisher David Drake cited the scale of Obama's ambition to write a book that captures the experiences of being president and offers an inspiring story for young people.
“As his writing progressed and the scope of the memoirs continued to grow, he ultimately decided to write two volumes,” Drake said.
The November release will be welcomed not only by Obama readers, but by booksellers and fellow publishers who anticipate that the massive demand for “A Promised Land” will raise sales for everyone during the holiday season.