News | Penguin Random House | New York, 07/23/2021

A Book By Barack Obama And Bruce Springsteen

Penguin Random House has acquired world rights to “Renegades: Born in the USA” by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen. The publishing group will publish the book in all its markets on October 26. The large-format book, with many photos and previously unpublished material, is based on the pair’s Spotify podcast of the same name, launched in February.

Bruce Springsteen und Barack Obama

There is a wonderful story about Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen, where Obama says to Springsteen at a White House meeting in 2009, alluding to Springsteen’s nickname: “I’m the President, but he’s the Boss!” It is not just since this encounter that people have known that the two are on the same wavelength. Even after Obama left office, the former President and the musician stayed in touch. This became apparent in February of this year, when the two announced the production of a joint Spotify podcast entitled “Renegades: Born in the USA.” These intense and entertaining conversations have now resulted in a large-format, richly illustrated book that Penguin Random House will publish in all its markets on October 26 this year. Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, acquired world rights to “Renegades: Born in the USA” for the publishing group. The podcast, like the book, is about life, about music of course, and again and again the pair’s love for their country, the United States, with all its challenges and contradictions.

“I am thrilled that once again we are working together on a global scale in support of some of the most inspiring storytellers of our time,” says Markus Dohle in an email to Penguin Random House employees yesterday. President Obama and Bruce Springsteen both possess the unique ability to evoke a sense of a singular, intimate connection with the reader while exploring the vast range and deepest expressions of the American experience, he adds. Dohle added that the book will be published by Crown in the U.S. and Canada with numerous previously unpublished photos and never-before-seen archival material from the two celebrities. In the U.K. and other Commonwealth territories it will be published by Viking, a Penguin Random House UK imprint. The German-language edition was acquired by Penguin Verlag from Penguin Random House Verlagsgruppe. The Spanish-language edition will be published by Debate, a Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial imprint. In Brazil, “Renegades” will be published by Companhia das Letras, and in Portugal by Objectiva. In total, “Renegades” will be published in eight languages at launch; in addition to English, German, Spanish and Portuguese, these include French, Italian and Dutch.

“Over the years, what we’ve found is that we’ve got a shared sensibility. About work, about family, and about America,” writes Barack Obama in the introduction to the book. “In our own ways, Bruce and I have been on parallel journeys trying to understand this country that’s given us both so much. Trying to chronicle the stories of its people. Looking for a way to connect our own individual searches for meaning and truth and community with the larger story of America.” As Springsteen shares in his introduction to “Renegades”: “There were serious conversations about the fate of the country, the fortune of its citizens, and the destructive, ugly, corrupt forces at play that would like to take it all down." 

“This is a time of vigilance when who we are is being seriously tested,” writes Springsteen. “Hard conversations about who we are and who we want to become can perhaps serve as a small guiding map for some of our fellow citizens. This is a time for serious consideration of who we want to be and what kind of country we will leave our children. Will we let slip through our hands the best of us or will we turn united to face the fire? Within this book you won’t find the answers to those questions, but you will find a couple of seekers doing their best to get us to ask better questions.” And as President Obama writes, “the conversations Bruce and I had in 2020 feel as urgent today as they did back then. They represent our ongoing effort to figure out how it is that we got here, and how we can tell a more unifying story that starts to close the gap between America’s ideals and its reality.”