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Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

by Barack Obama

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9,430210813 (3.92)366
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.… (more)
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    whitewavedarling: While these works may be in regard to entirely different cultures and nations, and one of fiction while the other is nonfiction, both are literary coming-of-age tales that are not only beautiful written, but relevant to today's issues and diversity, and memorable for their tales and messages.… (more)
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» See also 366 mentions

English (198)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (3)  German (2)  French (2)  Norwegian (2)  All languages (210)
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
Perhaps a belated read, but wow, totally exceeded expectations: a lovely, thoughtful, well-told autobiographical book about identity, culture, and justice written by a man grappling with (in this book, perhaps a little obsessed with) the tensions inherent to these subjects. His sense of fairness, his careful thinking, and his empathy are all traits I very much admire. ( )
  raschneid | Dec 19, 2023 |
I may come back to this book. I truly enjoyed reading the first part, about his childhood, and I'm impressed with the writing. But I just can't drum up the enthusiasm to read about his Chigago years. Putting this on the Lost Interest shelf for now. ( )
  Kim.Sasso | Aug 27, 2023 |
I get intimidated by long reviews, so I will keep this one short:

Obama, as a writer, is incredibly articulate and meticulous. As politicians go, he's honest with his mishaps and up front with his "reckless" behavior in his past, which was really quite tame for the average well-intending American.

Through reading this book, I came to see that Obama is very human like the rest of us, yet has the insight, dedication, and cultural experience that few of us have the chance to absorb out of life. His struggle with multi-racial identity, his frustration with uncooperative people, his stubbornness to succeed in his ambitions, and his open-minded attitude towards people of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds are apparent in his stories of his childhood, then young adulthood, and visit to Africa to explore his (1/2-)roots.

I would not say this is an intense read. There is a humbleness and mildness to his writing that made this book a very leisurely and mind-opening experience. ( )
  keikoc | Aug 11, 2023 |
A straightforwardly readable memoir of a young man's finding a way to define who he is and what direction he will take against a background of disparate voices shouting all sorts of truth and myth. It almost completely avoids the necessary coyness imposed when a young man tells his story to a culture requiring the myth of righteousness and purity of faith and at least gets over that lightly. Obama's time with his grandparents in Hawaii and the summer in Kenya came across most clearly, perhaps because the first was processed through affections and the second through an intense requirement to make it comprehensible. ( )
  quondame | Jul 17, 2023 |
As a non-American, I have always been a strong admirer of President Obama. He is a brilliant man and has conducted himself with great dignity during and after his Presidency.

Having said that, I found this book disappointing. It is well written although could be more concise and use less flowery language (as Obama himself says in the Preface to the 2004 edition). Some of the anecdotes and conversations seem forced and too well remembered to ring true.

I just found it difficult to reconcile the first 80-90 pages of the book, where he describes growing up with his white mother and grand-parents in Hawaii, with what becomes his evidently very strong identification with the African-American history and experience. There is a “jump” or “choice” here which I don’t think he explains well.

The section on his experience as a “community organizer” in Chicago was very interesting as a description of the inner-city African-American experience. It bears comparison to autobiographies and biographies that I have read by African-American musicians and sportsmen. It is just that, given Obama’s childhood, it doesn’t quite ring true.
( )
  JamieStarr | Jul 15, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 198 (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 (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Obama, Barackprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cavalli, CristinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clemenceau, FrançoisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Darneau, DanièleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Engström, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fienbork, MatthiasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hansen, Poul BratbjergTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krasnik, MartinForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miranda, FernandoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nicola, GianniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Obama, BarackNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Páez Rasmussen, EvaristoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raudaskoski, SeppoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tiirinen, MikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome 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

She understands that black people have a reason to hate.
Life’s not safe for a black man in this country...Never has been. Probably never will be. (Reverend Wright)
Without power for the group, a group larger, even, than an extended family, our success always threatened to leave others behind.
If you have something, then everyone will want a piece if it. (Zeituni)
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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.
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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.

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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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