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Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and…
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Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (edition 2008)

by Barack Obama

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,995189762 (3.92)314
"[I]n New York ... 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"--Container.… (more)
Member:littlebookworm
Title:Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
Authors:Barack Obama
Info:Canongate Books Ltd (2008), Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:read 2010, borrowed, memoir

Work details

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama (Author)

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» See also 314 mentions

English (179)  Dutch (3)  Norwegian (2)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  German (1)  All languages (189)
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
this book was surprisingly beautiful and i didn't really expect that. refreshing to read an autobiographical piece from a politician from BEFORE they ran for office, seemed way more authentic and open. ( )
  ncharlt1 | Oct 11, 2020 |
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 ( )
  jepeters333 | Oct 8, 2020 |
Many biographies and memoirs are told from the perspective of the present, looking back on the past. This one seemed to me to be more focused on the past itself, and how Barack came to terms with who he was as a young man and where his family came from. The parts that struck me as most "normal" for a memoir were the introduction and epilogue, the intro at least being written years after the initial publication of this book. I did enjoy it, even though it wasn't the memoir style I am more used to. I am very glad I listened to him narrate the book as well, I feel that added to the experience. ( )
  ca.bookwyrm | Jul 27, 2020 |
Still processing, great read!

I'm stunned at Obama's narrative prowess; a bit in awe of his dispassionate, analytical temperament that shines through in this book; deeply suspicious of his naive idealism pehaps because it mirrors my own and I can't believe POTUS can possibly have the same stars in his eyes that I do.

Is this too meta?

Let me say then that I am at once thrilled and disappointed in his analysis of race in America: thrilled that he really GETS it and makes no excuses for the animosity black peopler feel for whites, disappointed that the book ends with a shrinking of large questions into a single person's reconciliation with his past and present.

Back to meta: I am gladder than ever, after reading this, that this man is president. Read it and you'll know why. ( )
  nandiniseshadri | Jul 12, 2020 |
So I always feel a little bit weird rating memoirs. I don't ever want someone to take a look at one of my reviews and think that equals me hating their life, but in some cases not all memoirs are the same. Luckily, for the most part I really liked this one.

Prior to becoming President of the United States, Barack Obama wrote the first of his memoirs. At the time he was preparing to launch his campaign to run for the Senate in Illinois.

We have President Obama providing details on his parents courtship (Barack Obama, Sr. of Kenya, and Ann Dunham of Wichita, Kansas) after they meet at the University of Hawaii. For a time the couple was happy, but eventually his father left and eventually divorced his mother when President Obama was two years old.

I have to say that reading about President Obama's upbringing by his grandparents and mother in Hawaii was fascinating. You can read his push/pull to figure out where he belonged, what did it mean to be half-white and half black in Hawaii.

He had several internal discussions with himself on what to do with his half-Kenyan side since that part of his father's family was separate from him for the most part. When President Obama's father eventually comes to stay with them again for a month when he was a child, I could feel the tension that he felt, and the sadness that his mother felt as well for not being able to work things out with this man that definitely seemed so big. When we get past his recollections of college and working I was happy to read more about his family that lives in Kenya.

I thought the writing was very good, but will say that the flow was hit or miss at times. I think that anytime President Obama strayed away from his family I found myself losing interest. Reading about his struggles in high school, college, and eventually when he is living and working in New York and Chicago did not come as a surprise to me. I think that any black woman or man that is one of the first people in their family to graduate college/grad school or obtains a high paying job deals with "black guilt". You feel guilty for making something of yourself and you feel guilty for not feeling tied to people that you used to know or even your own family. It is definitely a double edged sword.

The settings of Hawaii and Indonesia came very much alive when President Obama was reliving his childhood in both places. He has a very deft way of describing people and places that worked for this memoir. The parts of the book that dealt with his Kenyan family were sad in a lot of places. You get to read more about his father and ultimately the strained relationships among some of the relatives and you get more understanding about Kenya and how marriages worked in that country during that time. I say during that time but for all I know that is still the way that marriages work now.

The ending though I felt was a little abrupt. I am very glad that I read this book and would recommend to anyone wanting to know more about President Obama. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
All men live in the shadow of their fathers -- the more distant the father, the deeper the shadow. Barack Obama describes his confrontation with this shadow in his provocative autobiography, "Dreams From My Father," and he also persuasively describes the phenomenon of belonging to two different worlds, and thus belonging to neither.
 

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Obama, BarackAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zwart, JoostTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"For we are strangers before them, and sojourners, as were all our fathers. I Chronicles 29:15.
Dedication
First words
A few months after my twenty-first birthday, a stranger called to give me the news.
Quotations
They are NOT my people.

(No quotation marks.)

Pg. 47

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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS
"[I]n New York ... 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"--Container.

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Canongate Books

4 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 1847670911, 1847670946, 1847674380, 1847673287

Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921351438, 1921520620, 1921520515

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