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Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and…

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (edition 2004)

by Barack Obama

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6,312161626 (3.94)206
Title:Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
Authors:Barack Obama
Info:Broadway (2004), Paperback, 464 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Tags:memoir, race, civil rights, politics, the president, government, race relations, racism, poverty, racial inequality, autobiography, Barack Obama, Kenya, Africa, family, religion

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

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Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
This book would be great to use in biography reports.
  Yvonne_Chesak | Jul 30, 2015 |
My work book club decided to read this after reading The End of Your Life Book Club in which a man and his terminally ill mother read and discussed a wide variety of books. Obama's Dreams from my Father was one of them. I thought this book was an extremely courageous exploration of heritage. Obama covered all the fallibilities of his family's history but also explored how it shaped him as the man he has become.

Most people know that Barack Obama is bi-racial with a white mother and a black father. What I didn't know until I read this book was how little Obama's father had to do with him. Obama senior was studying at the University of Hawaii when he met Obama's mother. He was from Kenya but had applied to a number of US universities for scholarships which would allow him to obtain a higher education. He already had a wife and two children waiting for him back in Kenya but he married Obama's mother (probably because she was pregnant). They only lived together for a few years and then Obama senior went off to Harvard to obtain a Ph. D. and Barack and his mother stayed behind in Hawaii. Barack only met his father once when he came on a visit to Hawaii. His male role models were his grandfather and his mother's second husband, Lolo, an Indonesian man. Barack lived in Indonesia for a few years but when it was time for him to get an education he returned to Hawaii and lived with his grandparents. As for black contacts they were few and far between in Hawaii. His grandfather had a few black friends and there were a few black boys in school with him. When Obama went to New York to University he was exposed to more black culture. It was soon after he started university that he received word his father had died in Kenya. After graduating he took a job in Chicago organizing black neighbourhoods to press for change. That is probably where he came into his own as a black man. Before he went to Harvard Law School he took a trip to Kenya to meet his relatives (Obama senior had gone on to father a number of children; he also had a large number of siblings and half-siblings still living there.) Obama Senior is referred to as The Old Man by his children none of whom seemed to have been close to him. Nevertheless all the relations kept in touch and supported one another. The women of the family, although subservient to the men, really held the family together and kept the history.

I'm still not clear on the meaning of the title. Some of my book club members suggested that it could mean that Obama had to dream about his father because he didn't have the reality. In that case I would have thought the title should be Dreams OF my Father, not Dreams FROM my Father. I don't think Obama senior had much to do with inspiring the man who is now the President of the United States which is what the title signifies to me. At any rate it was a pleasure to read this book and learn more about Mr. Obama. I can't think of any other world leader who has bared his soul in this way. Of course, when he wrote it he didn't perhaps know he was going to be a world leader. ( )
  gypsysmom | May 16, 2015 |
RGG: Fascinating story about the coming-of-age of Barack Obama
  rgruberhighschool | Apr 13, 2015 |
I’m now about 60% of the way through Dreams From My Father, by Barack Obama. I very much enjoyed his later book, The Audacity of Hope (oh wait, I can’t link to my review of it because I haven’t written it…) and when I spotted this audiobook available at the library I snaffled it.

The first third or so was very, very interesting. The story of his first 20 years or so – growing up in Hawaii, moving to Indonesia, back to Hawaii again; the coming and going of his father, his mother’s ambitions for him, the racial conflict he faces at secondary school, becoming aware of his mixed identity. So far, so good; well-written with interesting anecdotes and pithy reflection.

We get through university and a job in New York, then he moved to Chicago and became a community organiser, and this bit really lost my interest. I understand much of what he is writing about, and it is clearly and concisely written, but it bored me. Probably because I don’t understand what it was like to be poor and black in 80s/90s Chicago.

He has just moved onto a visit from his half-sister Auma and their father in Kenya, so I’m hoping things will perk up a bit now.


I have nothing really to add to my "initial thoughts" on this one - the last third of the book also failed to grab me. While the visit to Kenya and all of his family history is interesting enough, it dragged somewhat.

I thought Audacity of Hope was much better. ( )
  readingwithtea | Feb 3, 2015 |
Disappointed. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 153 (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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"For we are strangers before them, and sojourners, as were all our fathers. I Chronicles 29:15.
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A few months after my twenty-first birthday, a stranger called to give me the news.
They are NOT my people.

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Pg. 47

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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:49 -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)

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

See editions

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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