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Dreams from My Father Hardcover – January 9, 2006


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Hardcover, January 9, 2006
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Crown; Reprint edition (January 9, 2006)
  • ASIN: B001HXOO88
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (919 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,011,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

It is very well written.
Christine Glover
The book has been very interesting and informative.
KY reader
Barack Obama(Mr President) is a great man!
Sherrie L. Chapman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

424 of 517 people found the following review helpful By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
U.S. Senate hopeful Barack Obama has an inspiring story to share, and yet he doesn't simply rest on his laurels in this critical evaluation of his life and in his continuing search for himself as a black American. He wrote "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" almost ten years ago, but his stock has obviously surged since his star-making speech at the Democratic National Convention last month, perhaps to the chagrin of Hillary Clinton...unless she is dreaming of a Clinton-Obama ticket in 2008! Growing up mulatto in Hawaii and Indonesia, Obama discusses trying to come to grips with his racial identity through a period of rebellion that included drug use, becoming a community activist in Chicago and traveling to Kenya to understand his father's past. It is in Kenya where he discovers a nation with forty different tribes, each of them saddled with stereotypes of the others. It is also in Kenya where he recognizes the dichotomy that has been his lifelong existence between the graves of his father and his grandfather. His description of this defining moment is worthy of a passage in Alex Haley's "Roots".

Obama is also candid about racism, poverty and corruption in Chicago, and he pulls no punches in his account of this period. Because the book stops in 1995, it does not get into much detail on his learning experiences, culminating in both missteps and triumphs, as a state legislator. For all the value the book provides on Obama's history, I would have appreciated a more substantive update than the preface on the last decade, as he gained political prominence in Illinois, so that we understand more why his time in the spotlight has come at this moment. Perhaps that will be Volume 2.
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347 of 447 people found the following review helpful By Julee Rudolf VINE VOICE on April 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Barack Obama is obviously an articulate, intelligent man; but his "story of race and inheritance" may leave readers scratching their heads at times. The story of his life, the son of a Kenyan man and a white woman who divorced when he was a young child, is atypical. His father, an extremely book smart man, polygamist, big talker and eventually sometimes embarrassment to the family who was known as the Old Man to his many children, seems an unlikely source of the "dreams" of which the title speaks. The author met his father but once, when he was ten years old. Dr. Barack Obama was already married (p 422) when he met his namesake's mother while studying in the States. He returned to Africa alone, married again (and again) and had more children. His mother then married (and later divorced) an Indonesian man and they moved to Djakarta, where he spent his early years until moving in with his maternal grandparents in Hawaii. He ended up in Chicago, where he signed on to help organize African-Americans to work together to gain funding for projects to improve the quality of their lives and those of their children. Three years and much success (after a bumpy start) later, he headed off to graduate school, but not before finally attending services at a large, popular, local church. Readers may wonder if, during the several page section rounding out Part 2 (Chicago), he may have experienced some sort of spiritual awakening: the signs pointing ambiguously to "maybe," making one wonder why the event was included at all.Read more ›
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85 of 111 people found the following review helpful By D. Jose on July 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Please, don't get me wrong, I loved this book. Obama's style and matter-of-fact realism is both refreshing and, at times, inspiring. The only reason why this book isn't 4+ stars, is because of the expectations that this book leads the reader to believe.

What I mean is that by reading the summary and back cover, the reader expects to experience a man torn between two cultures and belonging to neither. And while Obama does clearly illustrate his trepidation with associating himself with either culture, from the very beginning we learn that Obama, for all intents and purposes, held his black heritage in a different regard. He was not torn so much as distraught, growing up in a 'white' world unfamiliar with his black background. From reading this book, the reader does not get the sense of Obama'a sturggle with his white roots. The story is rather a search for answers on how to live as a black man in a white world. I believe that Obama missed the chance of opening the doors to a wholely different and misunerstood world of children of differing cultures. In this 'melting pot' that we call America, there is a constant struggle between race and ethnicity and Obama could have set himself up as an educator, a leader of those who had no home. Yet, from the beginning, Obama was at home in his black heritage, but he just was looking for the key.
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146 of 193 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book to almost everyone. It should really get more attention!
The writing is thoughtful and interesting, and the subject matter unique. The book follows Barack Obama as he grows up and defines himself and his view of the world, as he finds the community that he wants to count himself a member of. In the end that "community" is really the community of humanity, but this book takes you on Barack's journey.
The author examines his heritage of white, midwesterners on his mother's side and later in the book explores the world of his father, a Kenya of the Luo tribe who came to the U.S. to study. Three parts of the book I found especially well done. First, the evocation of what it was like to be in Barack's head as a young black man with few black role models in his life and the difficult philosophical (internal) conversation of the African-American community defining itself in white America. Second, his work as a community organizer in Chicago really dealt well with the complex problems of declining inner cities. Third, the idealization of his absent father by both himself and his mother and the gradual discovery of the real character of his father and grandfather.
Overall, this book was about his struggle to be true to himself and to figure out what that meant.
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