Customer Reviews for

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

26 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

A warm story of an interesting human being, not a famous person

This is a great book to show the true nature of our President. It was written years ago before he entered politics. It was written by request. A publishing company offered Obama the opportunity to write an autobiography after they heard of his election as the first Afr...
This is a great book to show the true nature of our President. It was written years ago before he entered politics. It was written by request. A publishing company offered Obama the opportunity to write an autobiography after they heard of his election as the first African American President of the Harvard Law review, a relatively conservative publication, and also heard about the interesting life story he had.

A must-read for anyone interested in Obama or politics, on the right, left or center. I recommend the hard cover. The ink and paper is not toxic smelling and the print is easy to read. It is a better deal than the paperback for the money. Great gift. Gave one to my mother and brother who are both republicans and they enjoyed it.

posted by owldog on February 9, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

38 out of 79 people found this review helpful.

Don't know what to say . . .

I had a very difficult time reading through this book. After I finally finished I felt like the whole book was about trying to make 'white people' feel bad about being 'white' and trying to make 'black people' feel like they should blame 'white people' for all the thin...
I had a very difficult time reading through this book. After I finally finished I felt like the whole book was about trying to make 'white people' feel bad about being 'white' and trying to make 'black people' feel like they should blame 'white people' for all the things wrong in the world. It angered me that he writes in the Forward how much he loves his mother and respects her, but it seemed that the whole book he was either criticizing her or not talking about her at all. I didn't understand how he could start out saying what a great influence she was and then not talk about her at all. It sounded to me that he wanted to forget that he even had caucasian relatives. With every turn of the page it what 'white people' this, 'white people' that . . . talk about sterotyping a whole race.

posted by Anonymous on September 2, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2008

    Don't know what to say . . .

    I had a very difficult time reading through this book. After I finally finished I felt like the whole book was about trying to make 'white people' feel bad about being 'white' and trying to make 'black people' feel like they should blame 'white people' for all the things wrong in the world. It angered me that he writes in the Forward how much he loves his mother and respects her, but it seemed that the whole book he was either criticizing her or not talking about her at all. I didn't understand how he could start out saying what a great influence she was and then not talk about her at all. It sounded to me that he wanted to forget that he even had caucasian relatives. With every turn of the page it what 'white people' this, 'white people' that . . . talk about sterotyping a whole race.

    38 out of 79 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2007

    Well-written but lacking

    I got it at the library and read the book because of all the buzz and adoration the author was receiving lately. I found it a sad memoir about a little boy always longing for an absent father. Psychologically speaking, Mr. Obama follows a typical path for those that have absent fathers at a young age. The author barely discusses a mother on whom he seems to have emotionally turned his back, as well as his elders in Hawaii. That doesn't speak well to me of his respect and admiration for the women or elderly in his life. There was not much mention of his time in Africa or what he did there. I found that odd since he was desperate to get there. There's a bit of mystery shrouding his experiences there that left me wanting to know more. It also seemed Obama has never outgrown idealizing his absent father and still puts this major deadbeat Dad on a pedestal. There is almost like a buried anger there at someone looking for an outlet. Overall, I did not care for the book. I felt it attmpted to manipulate the reader into feeling a certain way about the author. It is as if who he is is not who he is, but rather crafted by his psyche as who he wants us to see now.

    29 out of 56 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    A warm story of an interesting human being, not a famous person

    This is a great book to show the true nature of our President. It was written years ago before he entered politics. It was written by request. A publishing company offered Obama the opportunity to write an autobiography after they heard of his election as the first African American President of the Harvard Law review, a relatively conservative publication, and also heard about the interesting life story he had.<BR/><BR/>A must-read for anyone interested in Obama or politics, on the right, left or center. I recommend the hard cover. The ink and paper is not toxic smelling and the print is easy to read. It is a better deal than the paperback for the money. Great gift. Gave one to my mother and brother who are both republicans and they enjoyed it.

    26 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Wordsmith

    Obama writes even better than he speaks, if you can believe it. As if his eloquence in speech wasn't enough, the man knows how to lay down some seriously beautiful words on paper. And what often struck me as campaign rhetoric before (like his ideas about "change" and "hope"), I now think he honestly believes in, after reading this very frank memoir. According to him, affecting "change" is also a very personal journey, in which he's constantly trying to find a society in which someone like him can truly belong. <BR/><BR/>Though he harbors similiar doubts about what it means to be a black man in America like Ellison and Wright, Obama never goes down Invisible Man or Bigger territory. He learns to accept all aspects of his experience, from his childhood overseas to his at-times frustrating run as a community organizer in Chicago to a final enlightening and deeply moving moment in front of his father's grave in Africa.<BR/><BR/>Obama's search for identity (and the perspectives he's gained through his ties to Indonesia and Kenya) will speak to anyone who straddles more than one culture - whether through race, upbringing, or simply from living on other shores.

    24 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2008

    A reviewer

    He idolizes a blackfather who deserted him, but seems to ignore a white mother responsible for his greatness.

    20 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2008

    Disappointing

    I read this book because I wanted to know more about Obama. I wanted (and expected) to like him, but unfortunately I was disappointed. This book has a very whiny, 'poor me' kind of tone. Not to say that black people don't have a tough time, but there seems to be a lot of blaming 'the white man' and 'white folks' in general. News flash: we 'white folks' don't just sit around plotting how we can make black folks' lives difficult.

    19 out of 43 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I did not know that my wife, my children, and myself are the "Blue Eyed Devil" until after reading this book.

    Too much fluff!
    This book could have fit into 100 pages instead of 450 pages. There is just too much unimportant description. It is obviously written by a novice writer trying to show off his vocabulary.
    The whole thing is about an angry young black (1/2 black) man's growing up in the "white Man's World" and of how everything wrong is "The Fault of The White Man. This should have been required reading for anyone who voted for this communist.
    Barry's plan, all along, has been to take from the hardworking and give to the lazy.
    Please buy something else from Barns and Noble they are a fine company but don't send any money to this creep.

    17 out of 38 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Beautifully written

    All presidential candidates should have to write a book of this caliber to run for office. This is a vivid, deeply affecting portrait of the next possible leader of the free world. His writing is great and his experiences make him stand out from other politicians. I sincerely hope people read this to learn more about this great man.

    16 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 30, 2008

    Boring Book, But With Good Writing.

    Quite frankly, I really didn¿t like this book that much. In fact, it was almost painful to read at times. I mean, it was really well written, I like Obama's writing, but it just seemed to lack a force to drive the story forward. There was no action or suspense that made you want to read more. In other words, it was kind of boring. <BR/> It¿s a very emotional story, Obama gets deep into his thoughts and feelings, and by the end of the book you start to understand him. The problem is, the emotion isn¿t reached until the end of the book. For the first half of the book, I could barely even understand what the conflict was. Plus, the emotions are all mixed together with a lot of unnecessary information. The book is almost like a bad biography at times.<BR/> The story is separated into three parts: Origins, Chicago, and Kenya (or, as I like to call them, Confusing, Boring, and Slightly Interesting, since the story does get better at the end). The first part jumps around to several different time periods in Obama's life, making it very hard to understand what¿s going on. The second part has a lot of thought and philosophy in it, but it also has a lot of boring and random information. The third part is pretty good; it¿s understandable, full of emotion, and, for the first time in the book, enjoyable to read.<BR/> But the book isn¿t all bad. Obama¿s writing still is pretty unique, and I find it to be very effective. He uses some cool punctuation in his sentences that add variety to his writing, and is good at using his broad vocabulary in the writing. There were a lot of times that I didn¿t have a clue what some words meant, and I have a fairly decent vocabulary. All in all, Obama is a good writer.<BR/> Now, I am a high school student, and this book is more of an adult book. So, that might be why I don¿t particularly like it. But still, I¿ve read more adult books before, and I liked, and understood, them. But, for whatever reason, I really just don¿t like this book.

    12 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Amended Review!!!!

    An amazing read. Very well written. It's refreshing to see a politician with the drive for artistry. This biography reads more like a novel, in that it is amazingly written. The only drawback is that it reads very slow, there's so much information to take in, despite the quality of the writing. Pleasantly suprised. Did I mention well written?<BR/><BR/>----------------<BR/><BR/>Oh my god!!! Hooray for humanity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    10 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 13, 2008

    Gives a lot of insight

    I've admired Barack Obama's intelligence and leadership abilities for years, but it wasn't until I read this book that I realized the depth of his experience.<BR/><BR/>This is an engrossing book that is well written. It also lends a significant amount of insight into the life and experiences that brought Barack Obama to this place in history.

    9 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    'I needed a race'

    In 1995, after finishing law school, Barack Husein Obama published DREAMS FROM MY FATHER: A STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE. In 2006 Senator Obama issued his second book, THE AUDACITY OF HOPE. In its Acknowledgements, he thanked his editor Rachel Klayman for persuading Random House/Crown Publishing to reissue DREAMS FROM MY FATHER 'long after it had gone out of print' 'p. 363'. *** Given the Senator's meteoric rise in public consciousness since his 2007 presidential bid, it might be decades 'if ever' before DREAMS FROM MY FATHER goes out of print again. This book is a classic coming of age memoir. As sinning as a young Saint Augustine, as believing in his special God-ordained positioning at birth as the future Cardinal Newman, Barack Obama mulls over his racial antecedents, his place in time and his need to understand what made him himself and where those facts might lead him. *** His white grandparents and his mother did all the heavy lifting of raising Barack Hussein Obama. They were not religious people. His anthropologist mother showed caring but detached appreciation of religion as a cultural force. Obama's Kenyan father, whom the youngster barely knew, had been reared muslim but had become an atheist. Barack senior called himself Barry when he came to study in Hawaii on a scholarship. And until his college years family and friends called young Barack Barry as well. *** DREAMS FROM MY FATHER is a much and well reviewed book. There is therefore little for me to add to what others have already noted. Striking is how self-centered, or better, self-centric, Barack Hussein Obama is. He himself recognized that early on. Close friends threw it up to him: he had to see everything in terms of how it related to Barry/Barack. He was constantly asking himself: who am I? At one point he decided that if he could only understand his black Kenyan father, he would understand his mixed-race self. His heroic image of his gifted father was, however, challenged when Barry/Barack traveled to Kenya for the first time just before going to Harvard law school. He saw very clearly then his deceased father's unheroic side, his clay feet, his failures, his amours. *** Young Obama's social work with black churches in Chicago convinced him that to be effective with them he had to join one -- which one, a pastor advised him, was not important. There were, Barack became convinced, effective limits to dealing with churches from the outside as a detached anthropologist. He sketches the impact upon him of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his sermon, 'the audacity of hope' '292ff'. This was about Hannah in the Book of Samuel, a meditation on a fallen world. Barack wept to see a congregation thanking God for all their troubles. The author lays out what attracted him to be baptized into Trinity United Church of Christ: including Reverend Wright's emphasis on scholarship and blackness. Senator Obama returns to the theme of religious conversion in Chapter Six, 'Faith' in his book issued eleven years later, THE AUDACITY OF HOPE. *** Barack Obama developed a sense that God wanted him to start life both white and black. But it would be his personal choice which side to emphasize. At one point 'I was too young to know that I needed a race' 'p. 27'. The race he chose in Chicago was black. And membership in a black Chicago Protestant church socialized and gave a transcendental framwork to insights both into who he was and what steps he could take to be of use of other men of other colors. *** Take up this book. Open its pages. There is something in it for everyone. -OOO-

    9 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2008

    I EXPECTED MORE

    I expected a more balanced, articulate read. Mr. Obama plays the race card early in the book stating that 'white people brought their dogs to the black street to defecate' when he lived in NYC Give me a break. Let's get past this type of nonsense.

    9 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2008

    Insight into the President-elect

    Dreams from My Father provides remarkable insight into Senator Barack Obama's struggle for identity and ultimate reconciliation with his place in his family and society. The book chronicles the experiences that inform the President-elect's vision and policies, at the same time as it provides a beautifully written memoir of self-discovery.

    8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2009

    This book needs to be REVIEWED AGAIN. BILL AYERS WROTE IT. Barack Obama did not.

    Hard to review now with the knowledge that Bill Ayers wrote it. (confirmed by new book on the Obama marriage).

    The praise given Barack is not deserved. He LIED.

    7 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    All I need now is to ACTUALLY shake his hand.

    This is the closest you can get to meeting President Obama without meeting him personally. He introduces you to himself from the beginning to the present day. You appreciate his journey and come to trust him more as the President. You understand where he is coming from when he gives a speech better than before having read the book. I was able to relate to him and his family issues. This man has been analyzing budgets and organizing people to help themselves since before Law School and remained true to his mission. Where once his father's name was laughed at when he was down and out, now his name is known EVERYWHERE and held in high regard. While his father comes off as being a proud fool, his manner had purpose. Through his stubborn pride he gave his children something to believe in, he made them strong. He stood up for what he believed in even to his own detriment. That strength of character we now see was passed on to his children as one of them is OUR PRESIDENT. His mother gave him a sense of adventure and the courage to go where his heart lead him and to follow the opportunities that got him where he is today; that nothing good came easy. He was taught acceptance and tolerance. He has touched many lives and continues to do so. I have less than 100 pages to finish and I cannot even begin to tell you EVERYTHING I got out of this book. He is definitely a thinker and that is what he makes you do. THINK. This should be required reading for Seniors in High School. It will help them to make good career decisions and to understand how important starting from the ground up is. And how important it is to know where you come from and to remember where you came from so that you always know who you are and how to get to where you want to be through hard work and perseverance.

    7 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2010

    Dreams from my father

    The book was clearly an attempt for Barack Obama to generate money. It was full of incorrect and conflicting information.

    Not a credible or interesting book.

    6 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2008

    OOBBAMMMAAA! Read so you can find more about our 1st African-American president!!!!

    What can i say that besides this is a great man we have as a president!!!! In this book he really tells about his childhood and family. This book is good to know alittle more about how he grew up and gotten into politics. He is a very intelligent man.Obammmmaaaa

    6 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2008

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    I Also Recommend:

    an enjoyment

    I enjoyed reading this book. I like how Mr. Obama was trying to find the pieces to his reality puzzle and wanting that father bonding when he was a child. I also loved the ancestral stories of his father's family and background. Some people thought this book was similar to The Color of Water, but to me they are different in thier own way.

    6 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Dreams from My Father is a "breath of fresh air".

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Dreams from My Father written by Senator Obama. It is such an inspiring and an enlighten book. It allows you to see the real person that Senator Obama is, as well as, that he is also "human.¿ I recently had the pleasure of meeting Senator Obama in person and having my picture taken with him. Even though we briefly talked, Senator Obama made me feel that that I was and what I had to say was important to him. I will be giving this book as gifts to family and friends for birthdays, holidays, and special occasions. I recommend this book to all, as it gives you an idea of who Senator Obama really is. I know that my Father, who is in heaven, is looking down on Senator Obama and wishing him well. I wish him and his family well.

    6 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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