Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
Dreams from My Father A Story of Race and Inheritance Author:Barack Obama Nine years before the Senate campaign that made him one of the most influential and compelling voices in American politics, Barack Obama published this lyrical, unsentimental, and powerfully affecting memoir, which became a #1 New York Times bestseller when it was reissued in 2004. Dreams from My Father tells the story of Obama's struggle to und... more »erstand the forces that shaped him as the son of a black African father and white American mother-a struggle that takes him from the American heartland to the ancestral home of his great-aunt in the tiny African village of Alego.
Obama opens his story in New York, where he hears that his father-a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man-has died in a car accident. The news triggers a chain of memories as Barack retraces his family's unusual history: the migration of his mother's family from small-town Kansas to the Hawaiian islands; the love that develops between his mother and a promising young Kenyan student, a love nurtured by youthful innocence and the integrationist spirit of the early sixties; his father's departure from Hawaii when Barack was two, as the realities of race and power reassert themselves; and Barack's own awakening to the fears and doubts that exist not just between the larger black and white worlds but within himself.
Propelled by a desire to understand both the forces that shaped him and his father's legacy, Barack moves to Chicago to work as a community organizer. There, against the backdrop of tumultuous political and racial conflict, he works to turn back the mounting despair of the inner city. His story becomes one with those of the people he works with as he learns about the value of community, the necessity of healing old wounds, and the possibility of faith in the midst of adversity.
Barack's journey comes full circle in Kenya, where he finally meets the African side of his family and confronts the bitter truth of his father's life. Traveling through a country racked by brutal poverty and tribal conflict, but whose people are sustained by a spirit of endurance and hope, Barack discovers that he is inescapably bound to brothers and sisters living an ocean away-and that by embracing their common struggles he can finally reconcile his divided inheritance.
A searching meditation on the meaning of identity in America, Dreams from My Father might be the most revealing portrait we have of a major American leader-a man who is playing, and will play, an increasingly prominent role in healing a fractious and fragmented nation.« less
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: 15
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.