Obama additionally appears to have eschewed techniques embraced by different presidents who additionally wrote their very own books. He has admitted to struggling to maintain a constant diary whereas within the White Home, a helpful assist for previous presidential memoirists. Jimmy Carter drew closely on his diaries to write down “Conserving Religion,” which got here out a brisk 21 months after he left workplace.
“His self-discipline allowed him to write down it shortly,” mentioned Alter, the creator of a new biography of Carter. “Diaries aid you pace the completion of your memoirs, and what slows them down is writing them your self.”
Clinton took a distinct tack, hiring a former international coverage speechwriter, the historian Ted Widmer, to interview him at size about his formative years. Widmer then had the interviews transcribed and despatched to Clinton, the place they grew to become grist as the previous president wrote.
“It’s laborious to have a look at a clean piece of paper and marvel what to say, particularly for those who’re a former president attempting to write down for thousands and thousands of readers,” mentioned Widmer, a professor on the Macaulay Honors School on the Metropolis College of New York. “He understood intuitively that speaking was an effective way to start.”
Different presidents, equivalent to Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, have been in a position to publish their books sooner with the assistance of aides and ghostwriters. Obama’s writer, Crown, mentioned aides assisted him with analysis, however he wrote the memoir himself.
Reagan’s “An American Life,” which appeared lower than two years after he left workplace, was largely ghostwritten; Reagan had little zeal for the venture. “He used to jokingly consult with it because the monkey on his again,” mentioned Mark Weinberg, a former aide. “He didn’t need it to dominate his post-presidency life.”
Richard Nixon got here the closest to surpassing Obama’s timeline, although for various causes. Holed up in his San Clemente, Calif., property with the handful of aides who helped draft his 1978 memoir, “RN,” Nixon needed to deal with litigation stemming from the Watergate scandal.