Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
  • Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
  • Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
  • Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
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Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

3.8 361
by Barack Obama

ISBN-10: 1400082773

ISBN-13: 9781400082773

Pub. Date: 08/09/2004

Publisher: Crown/Archetype

In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires

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In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey—first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother’s family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father’s life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.

Pictured in lefthand photograph on cover: Habiba Akumu Hussein and Barack Obama, Sr. (President Obama's paternal grandmother and his father as a young boy). Pictured in righthand photograph on cover: Stanley Dunham and Ann Dunham (President Obama's maternal grandfather and his mother as a young girl).

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Dreams From My Father 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 361 reviews.
owldog More than 1 year ago
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.
bluetulip18 More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
He idolizes a blackfather who deserted him, but seems to ignore a white mother responsible for his greatness.
Denny-S More than 1 year ago
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ajunatnyc More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
songbirdlite More than 1 year ago
I can't tell you how many times I've spoken to someone who wasn't sure what they thought of Obama, or perhaps they were even dismissive of Obama. Then, they told me, they'd read this book. They came out of it with a whole different feeling for who and what Obama is. Anyone who has the least interest in the world around us today, will be glad they did -- if they pick up this book and give it a read.
lizann More than 1 year ago
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.

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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've had the privilege to meet Barack Obama, and to read Dreams From My Father several years ago. For those who have just discovered Barack after his convention keynote speech, what you saw was only the 'tip of the iceberg.' This is an immmensely talented, complex, intelligent and inspiring man on so many levels. As eloquent as his speech was, his book is equally so, and offers insights into how, as he put it, 'the skinny boy with the funny name' has evolved. I can only hope there will be many more books from Barack, who promises to be one of the most exciting politicians of the 21st century.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
claude60 More than 1 year ago
President Obama's memoir "Dreams from My Father "was an absorbing and interesting read for me It was well written and gave a thoughtfull, amusing look back at his childhood an early years as a community organizer He was able to laugh at some of his youthful misadventures and at the same time giving us a serious look at his African heritage I found the book to be more interesting and rewarding than I thought it would be.
adoringfrida More than 1 year ago
I was drawn into the story of Obama's life, from his childhood in Hawaii and in the poor nation of his step-father, through his years of questioning his identity and purpose in college, and into his work with Chicago's poor before he went to law school. Having read this book, I have confidence in the President to understand Americans on every level, I read of his integrity throughout his life, and without any religious overtones, he gives a glimpse into his spiritual journey. I recommend this book to anyone interested in a deeper understanding of our new president. Very good.
christy_wooke More than 1 year ago
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?


Oh my god!!! Hooray for humanity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is not a book I would pick up or consider buying, I received it as a holiday gift and found it to be a satisfying enjoyment. The memoir genre is extraordinarily diffifult to master, and Barrack Obama is a master of this art. His stories of growing up and reflection gave me a sense of hope, that there are still powerful writers such as himself among us. The memoir is a good read for students, scholars, and all those who would like to live life with a larger understanding of being American.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I decided to read Mr Obama's book after I heard him speak at the DNC. I was thoroughly impressed by his ability to draw a clear and artful mental picture with his words. This book transported me to the various places he had been and allowed be to be present as the events unfolded. The book is candid and a must read for anyone living in America and especially anyone fighting with personal identity. This book is sicere and comes from the heart.I read it from 6pm to 6am (with two breaks) I was spellbound. SPLENDID!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
His fathers status as illegal has no bearing considering his ithe son of a natural born American citizen! Please people teach your children, that ighe only way the nonsense shall stop! For the record obama istrying to help a country we as citizens have helpedcongress destroy, no president can create and enforce laws on his own it simply doesnt work like that did you not pay attention to fourth grade civics.
See_Jane_Read More than 1 year ago
A fabulous memoir and a brilliant man! Obama offers some very honest reflections on his life and the meaning of race in America. Fascinating! A much more personal work than "The Audacity of Hope" which felt like a campaign ad.
Aolana_B More than 1 year ago
Dreams from My Father, by Barack Obama, is a touching memoir. It tells about racial discrimination, economical issues, not knowing your father, and the journey of discovering oneself. I personally liked it because the story was engaging, exciting, dramatic, sincere, and funny at times. Compared to, A Chinese Cinderella, a memoir that takes place in the early 1900s, Dreams of My Father takes place in a fairly more modern time, not too long ago. In this memoir, Barack Obama takes you around the world, as he tells about his childhood and young adult life. At the same time, he exposes to us, many diverse cultures, such as Muslim, African, and Hawaiian. I can personally relate to part of this memoir because a fraction of it takes place in Hawaii. One scene that I remember the most is of Barack telling the story of how his father went up to the Pali. Having gone to the Pali before, this scene was very vivid and easy to imagine. I hope that when you get to read this book, you can relate and enjoy it as much as I did.
dke More than 1 year ago
Dreams From My Father is like walking with a friend while he is discussing his life with you. I so enjoyed reading about our President as an individual going through different stages of his life from young child to manhood; it gave me great insight into who he is as a person today. The perspective given is honest and truthful. There are times of great sadness,frustration, happiness and a great deal of learning along the way. The book is a tale of his search for who he is and in that sense is it a Universal story; One that each of us embarks upon in our own lives. For Barack Obama the trip entailed a visit to his roots, Africa, the home of his Father and meeting with a family and extended family he was not familiar with. Most important he met his father though their eyes and their stories rather than as the man he had met only once and conjured up in his mind. The journey begins with Barack as a child and ends with Barack as a Man, but it is the travel, the people on the road met, and his experience with them described on the pages of the book that makes the book such a valuable read. The words richly convey the people who have shaped his life in large and small ways. The Author devotes enough space to his time as a Community Organizer in Chicago to give the reader a great insight into exactly what and who he was dealing with at the time. As a parting note, I was out of town at a hotel when I finished the book and walked over to the Desk Clerk asking her if she would like to have the book to read and keep or pass it on. She jumped at the chance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book that even a highschool student could enjoy. It was not pedantic like some similar historic books and it gave a new perspective on race, family ties, and politics in general.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After finishing Barack Obama's first book (and what an achievement it is for a first-time author!), I was struck by what a lonely kid he must have been. Overcoming his "unconventional" childhood to achieve all that he has achieved is an inspiring story of intelligence and determination.
booksJT More than 1 year ago
I thought this was a provocative and enlightening book about his life. I am glad he shared his story with so many. Hopefully we will walk away with some inspiration from an eloquent speaker. I appreciate the way the book was setup with a timeline of his life. I recommend this book to everyone who might be interested in learning about the man. (Barack Obama)
amberitha More than 1 year ago
Dreams from My Father provides insight into the mind and heart of a remarkable man who seeks to learn more of a father he never really knew. The story is told with openness and authenticity. A fascinating read!
Rosjackwil More than 1 year ago
Though I had a hard time getting into the book, once I was 20 to 30 pages in, I was hooked. Obama has a gift for prose and this is an inspiringly honest and touching story. This book made me step back and review my life and what I had "given back" to the community. His search for a way to make a difference is phenomenal. It provided a solid background and appreciation for what was behind his presidential campaign. Two aspects of Obama's life that really stuck with me include his mother's dedication to his education during his years in Indonesia via the 5:00 a.m study sessions, and her willingness to let him go to ensure he had a strong educational background. You kind of sense this unselfish love in his relationship with his wife and daughters. Secondly, the story of his visit to Africa to get to know his family is incredible in how it reveals so much of how culture can enoble us at the same time it it places us in a strait jacket. His insight into the human condirion is shaped by his multi-cultural experience. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking personal fulfillment as well as anyone interested in understanding more about our first African American president.