Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen’s Podcast to Become a Book
In “Renegades,” a podcast collaboration between Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen, the former president admitted that it was, at a glance, a strange partnership.
“On the surface Bruce and I don’t have much in common,” he said. “He’s a white man from a small town in Jersey; I am a mixed race black man, born in Hawaii, with a childhood that took me around the world. He’s a rock’n’roll icon. I’m a lawyer and a politician – not that cool.
But they became vacation buddies and avid contributors whose podcast – a series of candid conversations about race, fatherhood, social justice, and American identity – became one of the highest-listened podcasts. around the world on Spotify.
From now on, they will be in a way co-authors, with the upcoming release of a book of their conversations. In October, Crown, a brand of Penguin Random House, released “Renegades: Born in the USA,” a book adaptation of the podcast. The 320-page book includes introductions from Obama and Springsteen, over 350 photos and illustrations, and archival material such as Springsteen’s handwritten lyrics and Obama’s annotated speeches.
In his introduction, Obama describes how the conversations grew out of “our continued efforts to understand how we got here and how we can tell a more unifying story that is beginning to bridge the gap between America’s ideals and its reality.”
As ideas come up for sellable books, a collaboration between a rock star and a former president seems a safe bet. (The Crown suggests a list price of $ 50 in the United States and $ 65 in Canada.)
Springsteen’s memoir, “Born to Run,” which was published by Simon & Schuster in 2016, was a success, selling nearly half a million hardcover copies in its first months of sales. Obama’s 2020 memoir, “A Promised Land,” which was published by Crown, sold 8.2 million copies worldwide and nearly five million in North America.
The book version of “Renegades” also marks the latest exit from the Obama’s growing media empire. It is produced in partnership with Higher Ground, the company founded by Barack and Michelle Obama, which has exclusive production agreements with Netflix for film and television and with Spotify for podcasts. The Obamas sold their memoirs to Crown in 2017 for a record $ 65 million. Michelle Obama’s memoir, “Becoming,” has sold over 16 million copies worldwide since its release in 2018.
Obama and Springsteen met in 2008 while Obama was campaigning, and have become friends over the years. Springsteen performed at the White House in January 2017, as Obama prepared to step down.
In their podcast conversations, the couple focused largely on personal stories from their lives and avoided partisan politics, but spoke generally of the urgent need to understand and resolve divisions in American society.
“This is a moment of vigilance where who we are is seriously tested,” Springsteen writes in his introduction to “Renegades”. “Difficult conversations about who we are and who we want to become can perhaps serve as a little directional map for some of our fellow citizens.”
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