Written when he was just out of Harvard Law School, Obama tells his unusual life story and explores the serious issues of race, family, and identity. For such a young man, he had an usual grasp of his own thought processes, and writes well--good detail, funny, poignant. Very readable, this is not a book written "because every candidate has to write a book."
Evan P. reviewed Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance on
Helpful Score: 14
I was very impressed at the care with which this memoir was sculpted. I hadn't seen any other footage or interviews with Barak Obama, or seen a picture of him other than the cover of this book, but I came to know a lot about him and what he cares about. This book to me, has done more for his candidacy than any speech or interview could ever have done.
Nancy L. (cub1) reviewed Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance on
Helpful Score: 5
I read this book very early in the campaign and it gave me great insight into some of the influences in this man's life. He writes with total honesty and great respect for the people in his life who shaped his visions and ideals. Did he dream about becoming the first black president, no, but he was raised to believe in himself, and therefore I could easily see how his formation allowed him to believe he could reach for the nation's highest office. The woman who was so influential in his life, passed away just before the election results were in, but I believe she knew she raised a winner! This is a very interesting book, and helps us to understand the very base on which this young American stands.
I know that many people adore his way of public speaking, but I tend to disagree. However, I did find in reading this book that I somewhat enjoyed his writing style. I read this book and his other more political one in an attempt to understand better this man who is our president and hopes to be again. I am someone who finds myself disagreeing with him most of the time, but in order to look at him more graciously, I thought I should understand him better. I think I do now having read this memoir. On the other hand, there are things about him that I find even more confusing than before. I too am of mixed race, and I have no personal understanding of how he can identify so readily with only one part of his heritage, especially it being that part that he interacted with least. On the other hand, it makes sense that the part of himself he was unable to get to know (due to his father's absence) ended up being the part that most intrigued him, most drove him. I'm glad I read this book for several reasons. I feel like it personalized this man that I see as an opponent of so many of my values, which means I can be more gracious to him. I also feel like I understand him better so that I can critique his ideas more fairly, where we do disagree. And lastly, on this book as a book, it was a pretty decent read.
Holly L. (irunamuk) reviewed Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance on
Helpful Score: 3
Scary some of the racist overtones, especially since we elected this man President:
"I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother's race." (btw she was white)
It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names."
"I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn't speak to my own. It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa , that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself: the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela."
Mimi B. (mimitabby) reviewed Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance on
Helpful Score: 3
It was really great to read about how the president of the United States grew up. I enjoyed the book thoroughly, particularly when he went back to Africa to meet his family and learn about his ancestors... I recommend this book to anyone. You might learn something!
Sharon O. reviewed Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance on
Helpful Score: 2
This is a fascinating biography about an American of multiracial background who lives in more than one culture growing up -- U.S. and Indonesia. It is intelligent and well written. Obama wrote it at the invitation of a publisher when he was in law school, later updated it.
Incredible...very nice to see a bit of our President's life before his political career. I wonder when he found the time to write this memoir. He has a true talent for story telling. A bit wordy, yes, but if you read the edition with his forward, you'll laugh because he, too, apologizes for his wordiness! This book really did make me admire him even more as a person and as our president. Somehow he manages to write of his life's hardships in a way where you're not rolling your eyes thinking "oh sure, look at him NOW and see if he'll still complain about paying the rent". LEt's hope he keeps his humble tone throughout the presidency.
Beautifully written account of Obama's life as a young man and his search for his place in the world. This is a book that has univeral appeal as we all travel this journey to find what gifts we are given and how we can use them. He thoroughly documents his years as a young boy in Hawaii and Indonesia, his days as a community organizer in Chicago and meeting his African family for the first time. I found it to be very thought-provoking as it brought out memories of my own journey through life and where it was different and not-so-different. Highly recommend this book.
I read this book some years ago, but it has stayed with me. The writing style was quite erudite, and the memoir well crafted. It shows the "in-between" status of one who is neither wholly white nor wholly black, and kept my interest throughout. It, more than anything else, convinced me that Obama was worthy of being our next President, and caused me to vote for him. I highly recommend it to learn more about what has made him who he is, and learn about the choices he has made.
I two years ago I bought this and Audacity of Hope. At the time I was commuting 42 minutes each way (on a good day) from rural Illinois into Chicago. They were spectacular picks. Hearing Barack read the books was incredibly moving. I would frequently repeat the last chapter over lunch or on the way home. I highly recommend listening to both audio books.
I found this memoir to be a very eloquent and enlightening look at President Obama's journey of self-discovery. He's lead a very interesting and unique life, and he is most definitely one of a kind.
His writing is amazing, at times linguistic poetry. I love his analogies, encompassing philosophical revelations that give the reader much to ponder. Some of the analogies are so well-rendered and spot on, it's remarkable.
If you haven't read this, do so now. It is in no way the typical memoir.
Awesome audiobook, read by President Obama. Unlike many books read by the author, this one really was worth a Grammy - can you believe he does all the accents and voice impersonations of the people he is quoting in his memoir?? I can't imagine anyone else reading his story better than him. The book starts with a brief author's note from 10 years later, then you begin a journey thru Obama's personal history and struggle with race. The book goes from his birth all the way to his visit to Kenya before attending law school, with defining moments, and includes the moment he had a religious breakthrough for personal spirituality/faith in a Chicago church led by the infamous Rev Wright during a speech on - the Audacity of Hope. Perfect lead-in to the next audiobook written while he was in the US Senate! Great conversational format, perfect for an audiobook. I would highly recommend people LISTEN, not READ this book.
Marci S. (MarciNYC) reviewed Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance on
Like many Americans, I became aware of Barack Obama when he gave the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. When I saw this book at Barnes & Noble, I picked it up and glanced at it. Sounded interesting enough for a read, but I didn't purchase it at the time. When I saw it offered up on paperbackswap.com, I grabbed it. Upon arrival it shot to the summit of Mt TBR and I read it in a matter of days.
What surprised me most is that Obama wrote this book many years ago - before he was involved in state or national politics. Obviously the publishers got this out again AFTER he was in the limelight at the DNC. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable read.
I learnt quite a bit about Barack Obama from reading this memoir. I found the first and last sections of the book most fascinating - his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia and his trip to Kenya to meet his father's family. The middle part, about his life as an organiser on Chicago's south side didn't hold my interest as much, but was an important part in his life and in his coming to terms with his mixed heritage.
There are a few laughs now and then (such when he's mistaken for an Irishman - O'Bama - on the telephone) but for the most part it's a serious book. Obama seems to have genuine affinity for the people of Chicago's South Side and has worked hard to help them improve their lot. If I were a resident of the State of Illinois, I would be proud to have this man representing me in the US Senate. I definitely think Obama is someone to keep an eye on...
David C. reviewed Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance on
Barack Obama is an extremely intelligent man. There is really no wonder he has risen to the level he has.
His father also was quite intelligent, and also a man of scrupulous integrity.
Most people today understand that when they see and hear him talk. He doesn't dictate, he listens, he evaluates, he considers and thinks.
Certainly the finest mind and person we have had as a president in a long time. The basis is set forth in this excellent book.
Try your local library, and read this book.
Once again, I am reminded why I voted for this man. Such intelligence is a rare find these days. This book made me question a lot of my own ideas about who I am and where I fit in the world. A wonderful work.
'Obama's writing is characterised throughout by a graceful eloquence, a generosity of perception and spirit rare in young men of many gifts and charisma...here is a testimony for the ages.' Independent
While I don't share his political views, I really admire this man. The first and third parts of this book are wonderful, the middle part I felt lagged just a bit, but it was still interesting to read about his early rise in Chicago politics. I was impressed to find out he's as idealistic, caring and intellectual as the media reports. This is a must read for those who are curious about the background of our president.
Nothing but leftist trash by an incompetent, do-nothing, having run nothing, junior senator who reeks of narcissism and contempt. Complete waste of time by a president that says one thing and does another.