Dreams From My Father

Dreams From My Father

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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 understand 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.



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).
ISBN: 9780307383419
Branch Call Number: BOOK CLUB BAG Obama Dreams

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r
ryner
Aug 07, 2017

Written before he entered the political sphere, in 'Dreams from My Father' Barack Obama explores his personal history as a child and young man of mixed race growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He goes on to detail his simultaneously discouraging and rewarding experiences working as a community organizer in Chicago's underprivileged south side. Finally, he documents his poignant first visit to his father's ancestral homelands in Kenya, making the acquaintance for the first time with the extended family who had existed to him previously only as an anonymous collection of half-siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins.

While I didn't find this memoir as riveting as I'd hoped -- and, to be fair, I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting -- I was grateful for, appreciative of and occasionally surprised by this insight into Obama's earlier life. Additionally, in a time when so many memoirs are co-written, and when others of our political leaders seem unable to formulate a single grammatically correct sentence, I found myself continuously impressed by his natural writing ability.

j
jr3083
Mar 10, 2017

This is a beautifully written book, whether the author became President of the United States or not, and there is no consciousness at all that this could even possibly be his destiny. As a work of memoir, he has invented conversations and combined or renamed characters, but the book rings true to its very core. I can’t imagine that there could be a greater contrast than that between ‘Dreams from My Father’ and ‘The Art of the Deal’, the memoir of the current presidential incumbent.

For my complete review, please visit:
https://residentjudge.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/dreams-from-my-father-by-barak-obama/

l
larters
Feb 14, 2017

A magnificent piece of work, one that humanizes President Obama, and provides deep insight into his motivations. I found myself appreciating his background, culture, and humanity more with each chapter. Very much worth a read, especially as a contrast to the current U.S. administration.

redban Nov 21, 2014

Obamanics and Libertarians, oh human reasoning is fascinating... Here's a thought-experiment: follow the money (political contributions by lobbyists, Wall Street bailouts with your taxpayer money, appointing former bank CEOs as bank regulators!) and you will might realize that Obama is just another Corporatist puppet, like almost everyone in the 2 parties. Multinational corporations do not just hand out money expecting nothing in return, that is not for-profit! Obama serves the interests of the pinnacle of Capitalism: Wall Street, where the accumulation of wealth is beyond compare. The amount of money top bankers make is so much more then the scrapes they feed their politician puppets. Big corporations love using the government to strangle small companies, killing competition is great for your bottom line. It's laughable hearing about the Socialist takeover on the one side, or about Obama's Progressivism on the other! Wall Street Corporatism has already taken over, witness the pillage that led to the Great Depression. Follow who profits before each crash, the mass speculation, lending $9 for every $1 deposited, etc., this can be read in Taibbi's book [Griftopia]. The sad difference nowadays is no labor movement to force real change for the masses.

evannewman May 13, 2013

Despite what is written in the two most recent reviews, this book is hardly political.

Well worth reading to get a glimpse of the early life of one of the most powerful men in the world at this time.

I find it hard to believe that the man who wrote this book and to whom I found so much to relate with (despite being a white Canadian) is the same man who runs a kill list and seems to have no trouble ordering drone strikes on American children living in Yemen.

Dan_Earl Apr 02, 2013

A few convient truths among a sea of lies. Since Bill Ares wrote most of this book, I'm not sure what is true and what is falsified. All the socialist connections are disturbing, not to mention that his real father was most likely a communist. Either way, both of the most influencial men in B.H.O.'s life hated capitalism and most of the the ideas America was built on.

ShadowFX84 Feb 16, 2013

Interesting in the same way as Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf. Obama lays out his father's, and his own, dreams and vision for our country. He lists his teachers and mentors, all of them conveniently connected to socialism in all its forms. Crazy to me that people ignore the warnings in this book of "self~discovery". But then again, people ignored the warnings in Mein Kampf as well...

g
gemini07
Oct 18, 2012

An exploration in identity and the struggles of being biracial are just a couple of topics discussed in Barack Obama's book. How he came to be who he is, is a fascinating journey.

c
catmanstrikesagain
Sep 16, 2012

BEST BOOK EVER

Salihah Jul 25, 2012

It's very interesting to learn about the President's background and the events that shaped his life. For instance, I was surprised to learn he lived in Indonesia for a number of years.

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