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Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance Paperback – 3 Jun 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 283 customer reviews

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Paperback, 3 Jun 2007
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (3 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847670911
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847670915
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 3.3 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (283 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 959,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Because he held to the good and transcended the bad, in Obama's genesis millions of us will find hope.'
-- The Times

'Obama has written a memoir...that evokes the anguish of miscegenation yet culminates in a cry of faith in human community.' -- Sunday Times

Review

Obama's writing is characterised throughout by a graceful eloquence...here is a testimony for the ages. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Forgetting for a moment who wrote this book; this is an engaging, thoughtful, intelligent, perceptive read. This is a real meditation on race and specifically, on what it means to grow up and search for one's racial identity in modern America. And yet, it is beautifully written. Rich in descriptive detail and almost novelistic vignettes, it is also pacey and hard to put down.

Returning to the author, it is truly hard to believe that this was written by a politician (although he wasn't at the time of writing). It is such a good read and provides such a thoughtful and open account of Obama's views and experiences, that it is truly breathtaking in this age of political posturing.

Read this to learn more about Obama. Read this to learn more about the divisions of America. Read this to learn about the black experience both in the US and in Kenya. Read this for the beauty of its writing, but above all, read it, you won't be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
It is a rare privilege to have such a personal insight into the life and background of a prominent politician. Often it is written about leaders that nobody knows what they are really like as people. But in Barack Obama's case, it is laid out in quite frank detail in this book.
Like most people outside Illinois, I had not heard of Barack Obama until he gave his speech at the Democratic Convention on 27 July (it can be read on his website: [...] and I was fortunate to find the last copy of his book in a Chicago bookshop in August. The opening of the convention speech is a brief outline of the background that formed the book. His father was a Kenyan who went to study in Hawaii, and his mother was living in Hawaii having grown up in Kansas. They parted company soon after Barack was born.
The book is about his childhood and how he adapted to life after his father left his mother. She remarried an Indonesian man, and they went with him to live in Indonesia for some years. Barack returned to the US to finish high school. After graduating, he went to work in Chicago among underprivileged black communities there before deciding to go to law school in Harvard.
Obama's style of writing is extremely personal and analytical of how he dealt with certain issues in his life - his absent father, the colour of his skin, the remarriage of his mother, how he learnt of his father's death, his work in Chicago, his decision to become a lawyer and his rediscovery of his roots in Kenya (including his grandmother, uncles and aunts, and various half-brothers and sisters). Despite having led a very different life in a different part of the world, I was regularly struck by similarities between his life and mine - and can only assume that every reader would have the same reaction.
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Format: Paperback
Long before he was a candidate to be President of the United States, or even a candidate for the state legislature, Barack Obama wrote "Dreams from My Father". He had been elected as the first African-American president of the "Harvard Law Review", and if that had been the end of his public career, this book would have long been out of print. But, with Obama running for the U.S. Senate, it was reprinted, and now his Presidential run has undoubtedly increased the interest in this work.

This is an interesting book, though certainly Obama's skill as a writer does not match that of his skill as an orator. The book is divided into three sections: "Origins", a look at his younger days; "Chicago", his decision to move to Chicago and work as a community organizer; and "Kenya", about his visit to see his extended family in the country where his father was born. The edition which I read also includes two introductions: one written for the original release of the book; and a second introduction written for the 2004 edition during his run for U.S. Senate. The book closes with a brief epilogue, and an excerpt from his second book "The Audacity of Hope".

"Origins" is an interesting look at some of the aspects of his growing up. This section is focused primarily on race, which is not surprising considering the reason he was asked to write the book. This section also contains key stories about his family, and most importantly his father, but I wish he had spent more time on that part of his life in this book. The section starts with the period prior to his realizing that race was important, and moves through a brief example of his being embarrassed by it, to a longer period of his taking on what is often considered the typical lifestyle of young black men.
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Format: Paperback
I have never before read a politician's memoirs - but then, Barack Obama is no ordinary politician. This is a searingly honest account of the growing up pains of a mixed race, highly intelligent young man, searching for identity and meaning. I thoroughly recommend it - both to people who want to know more about this very inspiring man, and to those who simply want an absorbing read.
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Format: Paperback
What a great read this is.

It is amazing to have such an insight into the man who may soon be President of the USA, arguably still the most powerful position in the world. This book was written even before he became a Senator, I'm sure a lot of what he has written would be edited out if it was published today!

What is so incredible, and I think what makes him seem so personable, is that he comes across as just another ordinary guy. He doesn't come from a famous or affluent background. He talks so openly about the difficulties of growing up as a black man, confused about his origins and what they mean. He grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii... and then worked for very little money as a community organiser. And now he's running for President!

This is a thoroughly enjoyable read and is highly recommended...
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