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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 (original 2004; edition 2007)

by Barack Obama

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6,089155675 (3.96)199
Member:AAndrea2
Title:Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
Authors:Barack Obama
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Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Read 2012

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Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama (2004)

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» See also 199 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 147 (next | show all)
This was much more of what I wanted from Jill Ker Conway's books. There are lots of memories but nothing is pat. Obama lets you into his thoughts and confusions and how he tried to find out who he is. It's well-written and thoughtful and gives a wonderful impression of a complex and fascinating person. He doesn't find all the answers but gives voice all the doubts and confusions he has about his heritage and what kind of life he should live. I feel that he will continue to grow and explore this all his life and that gives me great hope.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
Writing: 4.5; great writing
Theme: 4.5; how can one be too critical of the theme of a biography (autobiography)
Content: 4.0; nothing greatly objectionable except Obama's beliefs and principles; we see the early life of the man that seems bent on "transforming America" (which I would say is, dismantling America)
Language: 2.0; there are at least 25-50 uses of vulgarity and at least 3-4 uses of God's name in vain (which says a lot about the man), even while he is describing his past life

Overall: 4.0; this rating is mainly for the writing and the added knowledge of Barack Obama and his upbringing; it is not for the direction of Obama's life and principles; recommend to those who desire to learn more about Barack Obama

***June 23, 2014*** ( )
  jntjesussaves | Jun 23, 2014 |
Elected the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, Obama was offered a book contract, but the intellectual journey he planned to recount became instead this poignant, probing memoir of an unusual life. Born in 1961 to a white American woman and a black Kenyan student, Obama was reared in Hawaii by his mother and her parents, his father having left for further study and a return home to Africa. So Obama's not-unhappy youth is nevertheless a lonely voyage to racial identity, tensions in school, struggling with black literature with a one month-long visit when he was 10 from his commanding father. After college, Obama became a community organizer in Chicago. He slowly found place and purpose among folks of similar hue but different memory, winning enough small victories to commit himself to the work. Before going to law school, he finally visited Kenya; with his father dead, he still confronted obligation and loss, and found wellsprings of love and attachment. The intensity of a mixed race heritage, especially in the 60s and 70s is well served with thoughtful questions. Obama’s questions on race and belonging, despite his insistence to the contrary, as a common factor to all people and in that lays the greatest appeal of his book. It is an impressive story to tell with many facets to his life. It is written well if a little too much like a novel for my taste. Obama’s refusal to confront his other heritage and his own prejudices until the last page does the strength of his story and convictions a disservice. He rarely mentions his mother and often injects hindsight reached conclusions into his early memories. He places many assumptions upon others, be it their emotions, their thoughts or motivations. His ambition to lead and gain more power is naked throughout and the book can read like a giant advertisement. For an autobiography, it is a decent book and as such it faults in my eyes are the author’s prerogative. ( )
  loafhunter13 | May 5, 2014 |
read by the author. Won a Grammy award. ( )
  njcur | Feb 19, 2014 |
(review copied from original reading dated 2011-05)
Obama's first autobiography, written at age 34, revised 10 years later. The rating is for the writing, which is deservedly praised, but only as a novice work.

Substance: At least as good a memoir as can be expected from a man his age (34) and education. Student-era philosophical ruminations are par for the genre, but he does reveal his core state of unconnected reserve and confusion about principles and identity. Preaches tolerance, rejection of stereotypes, and national community, but then undercuts his own words almost immediately.
Style: Evocative descriptive passages especially in Kenya, and ok on character pictures, but detached from any real animation or passion. The pages-long story of his grandfather and father's families could not possibly have been remembered verbatim so long after his trip, and must have been written out later with additional assistance from family.

Too bad this writer got mislaid on his way to the Presidency. ( )
  librisissimo | Dec 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 147 (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.
 
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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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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307383415, Hardcover)

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).

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The son of an African father and white American mother discusses his childhood in Hawaii, his struggle to find his identity as an African American, and his life accomplishments.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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Audible.com

Three editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Canongate Books

Four editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 1847670911, 1847670946, 1847674380, 1847673287

Penguin Australia

Two editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921351438, 1921520620

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