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Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance [Kindle Edition]

Barack Obama
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,103 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $25.95
Kindle Price: $8.02
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Library Binding $18.78  
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Book Description

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.

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).

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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 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?he's now a civil rights lawyer there. 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. Obama leaves some lingering questions?his mother is virtually absent?but still has written a resonant book. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Obama argues with himself on almost every page of this lively autobiographical conversation. He gets you to agree with him, and then he brings in a counternarrative that seems just as convincing. Son of a white American mother and of a black Kenyan father whom he never knew, Obama grew up mainly in Hawaii. After college, he worked for three years as a community organizer on Chicago's South Side. Then, finally, he went to Kenya, to find the world of his dead father, his "authentic" self. Will the truth set you free, Obama asks? Or will it disappoint? Both, it seems. His search for himself as a black American is rooted in the particulars of his daily life; it also reads like a wry commentary about all of us. He dismisses stereotypes of the "tragic mulatto" and then shows how much we are all caught between messy contradictions and disparate communities. He discovers that Kenya has 400 different tribes, each of them with stereotypes of the others. Obama is candid about racism and poverty and corruption, in Chicago and in Kenya. Yet he does find community and authenticity, not in any romantic cliche{‚}, but with "honest, decent men and women who have attainable ambitions and the determination to see them through." Hazel Rochman

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
432 of 527 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring Life Story...Somewhat Less Than Complete August 30, 2004
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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361 of 467 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What about Mom? April 16, 2007
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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45 of 57 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Impressions of "Dreams from My Father" (Updated) October 25, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This reviewer decided to read Barack Obama's 1994 revised autobiography "Dreams from My Father" in the fall of 2008 since he was one of the US presidential candidates in 2008. This revised version of the book was released in 2004.

Autobiographies are very useful means to learn from the author's experiences. Autobiographies by authors that were highly successful in their lives, or had a major impact on history, can provide information revealing as many of the valuable lessons the author has learned and recorded for the benefit of the reader. Autobiographies also reveal how authors think.

Overall: the author only believes everything in terms of his liberal dogma beliefs. He is highly critical of blacks that want to just get along and fit into the mainstream. He advocates "social justice", a euphuism for mob justice. He only rationalizes lawless behavior and will not label anything bad except what contradicts his liberal dogma beliefs. He believes that all the black problems are due to the whites.

The cover of the Three Rivers Press paper-back version states that it is: "A Story of Race and Inheritance," and indeed it is. The author presents all of his experiences and acquired knowledge in terms of race and a quest to learn of his Kenyan dad's background. These two issues thoroughly permeate the entire book.

He interprets every experience and thing he knows of in terms of liberal sociological and psychological teachings. It comes through, often seemingly illogically, in his interpretation of every experience and thing he acquires knowledge of on almost every page of the book.

At the end of his Columbia University days, he decided to become a community organizer (or social activist).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, young Barack tells his story
A great read, young Barack tells his story, being raise by single mom and grandparents. He talks about some of the view of his step father. Read more
Published 20 hours ago by ROBERT JONES
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story by a great man
I purchased this as an audiobook so that I could listen while driving to and from work. The story being read by President Obama made me think that I was in a personal conversation... Read more
Published 2 days ago by MZ JONZ
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
was very good. was inlighting also. I would recommend it to under stand our President.
Published 3 days ago by Anita Brichacek
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish President Obama could have done more in Chicago as an activist,...
I wish President Obama could have done more in Chicago as an activist, but I applaud him for his courage in writing his first autobiography.
Published 4 days ago by GeorgeLivingston
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent literary style a comprehensive rendition of father/son relationship
Published 5 days ago by Effie P.M. Simmonds
1.0 out of 5 stars How to make the american people dream!!!
I bought this book in 2012 to try to understand this president.
As in real life, in this book Obama give the positive & the negative of the situations/issues he discusses but... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Roland Autran
1.0 out of 5 stars What a waste.
For some reason the audio book differs from the printed book in that it never mentions the mysterious "Frank" who is such an influence on Obama's life.... Read more
Published 10 days ago by James D. Crabtree
5.0 out of 5 stars It baffles me that people question Obama's heritage when it's ...
It baffles me that people question Obama's heritage when it's all right here in this book in vivid detail. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Mike Flaherty
5.0 out of 5 stars Barak Obama is next father for me. He is ...
Barak Obama is next father for me. He is my dream for ever. I almost can say my successful in my life around 80% cause this person. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Felemban,Ahmed
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read.
I love history and reading about the life of this man was great.
Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
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Why is Barack Obama called "Black" if his mother was "White"?
Being the father of children who are half asian and half white I can tell you that perspective is a big part of the description. White people see my children as asian but asian people see my children as half white, not completely asian. Lets face it we will always see skin color as a way to... Read More
Feb 13, 2008 by David Burkhart |  See all 194 posts
Obama audio
Yes, these audio clips of Obama cursing are very real and it is his voice you hear.
They are the spoken portions of Obama's memoir "Dreams from My Father",
in which he often quotes a friend named "Ray". Ray, however does not exist but is rather a composite character based on... Read More
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The Truth About Barack Obama
It doesn't matter who people vote for when it comes to the president, that is a myth. What people need to do is pay attention to their local politicians and vote the one into office that share your ideals, and hope they make the same choice you would. So your asking the wrong people if the color... Read More
Dec 19, 2008 by Joseph and his Technicolor Nightmare Coat |  See all 6 posts
Has Obama's Victory changed and/or reshaped your perception on race...
It is interesting that I feel in the minority here. I did not see him as black or white, however, I can not deny that most of the world saw him as so. I looked at how he stood on the issues, whether or not I thought he could maturely handle the position as President and whether or not he would... Read More
Dec 23, 2008 by C. Turner |  See all 7 posts
Obama's change we can believe starting to fail!
How did that work out for you? LOL
Jan 22, 2013 by Caroly N. Church |  See all 6 posts
The Truth About Barack Obama Be the first to reply
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