Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (Canons) Kindle Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B002RI9SB0
- Publisher : Canongate Canons; Main edition (June 3, 2007)
- Publication date : June 3, 2007
- Language : English
- File size : 3296 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 462 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1782119256
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #806,493 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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to this. The Audacity of Hope was written when he was already a Senator and about to run for President, and by then
his political skills had developed considerably. I expect that his next memoir will be extremely well written and polished.
But Dreams From My Father is the book that most explains who Obama is. His strengths and weaknesses, which make
him so admired by many and feared by his opponents, come out strongly. Opponents of Obama will find reasons to empathize
with his experience and that of his family, but also will see how that experience shaped his worldview that was imposed on
the American people. This book should also show why many people voted for him in the first place, not only because
he is an eloquent speaker and skilled writer, but because he has a compelling personal story.
Besides the trip to Kenya to search for his family roots, there is an extended reflection on his experience in Chicago as a
community organizer. I think this reveals a lot about Obama's qualities as well. There is a true desire to help and improve,
an intellectual talent, and yet there's always a geographical displacement and emotional detachment, an outsider's perspective
looking in, that somehow distances him even as he tries to immerse in the milieu. (Contrast Bill Clinton's I feel your pain). He is
sensitive, perhaps too sensitive and questioning, and yet somehow not empathetic enough for the opposing point of view (e.g.
pro life). The end of the book has a reflection from a few years later on being a law student, on justifying the justice system for the
powerless, making clear that he was not only liberal but radical. This shows how in his later political career, even when he tried
to transcend partisanship and made a lot of intellectual deliberation, he almost always arrived at conclusions on the left end of
the spectrum, because he was coming from the far left end. For instance, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, from whom he later had to
distance himself, is just a regular normal character in the narrative but was in fact a radical liberationist in his theology.
To me the book resembles, in some respects, even the gentle but dark humor, Dennis Kucinich's Courage to Survive, where
he did in Cleveland what Obama did in Chicago. I can see why Kucinich eventually endorsed Obama even though by 2008 he
had smoothed out his radicalism.
Despite the conflict between Western liberalism and traditional African values, Obama is very much a feminist and the Western position
won out despite his sympathy for Africa. And yet one of the more compelling passages of the book for me, not politically but personally,
is at the end where he reflects on how even in a family where the women have held together, the men have often been plagued by
doubts about their race and their masculinity and the cruelty that being male can bring with it. Regardless of politics, that is something
that the Obama family seems to have modeled well and overcome in the next generation, with his daughters although he didn't have boys.
As an African American man who has gained some momentum in being authentically me, I appreciate how much of him is also an amalgamation of those closest to him. Thank you Barack for sitting down and taking the time to share your journey with me, it was a worthy venture to explore this chapter in your life. However, as it should be, I'm left wanting more.
I grew up visiting my great, great aunts and uncles, and great grandmother/genealogist/treasure keeper/artist. It's staggering to read of President Obama's father's complex family and seems overwhelming to imagine being introduced to the family and country in such a short time. It's also difficult to fathom the hole it would leave to not grow up with generations of family. His story of discovering his roots is magnificent.
Top reviews from other countries
Personally I think we should all read this book. Firstly, because for those of us who are non-black we will learn an awful lot that we didn't know about how it feels to be black in America. And secondly, because the majority of us are part of a minority group in some aspect of our lives. This book teaches us what being a minority can do to you, how difficult it can be, including how hard it is to come together as minorities and organise ourselves to bring about change. This book also teaches us that determination and small wins matter. That they can help make a difference. And that bringing about change is important at grassroots level and at leadership levels. It has also helped me to learn about 'organisation', which in itself is also fascinating.
Superb book. Someone should make this guy President.... ;-)
In many ways, that seems to make the book somehow pure, as though it’s a preserved distilling of the president’s personality when he was a younger man, and it’s pretty easy to see how his early life is still shaping him, even today. In fact, after reading this, I’ve found that it feels as though I know him, as though I could predict how he’ll react in different situations.
But really, that’s not what this book is about – he may be the president now, but that wasn’t always the case, and his book looks back at his early life and examines his feelings towards the father that was never there, his African roots and what being a black American actually means. It’s a fascinating study of race relations in America in the 1970s and 1980s, and what’s more poignant is the fact that while Obama does indeed look at the differences between black people and white people, he eventually concludes that the colour of our skin doesn’t define us.
That’s not to say that he doesn’t face struggles along the way, though – Obama also examines his own biases, and the unintentional way in which we come to judgements all of the time. He himself is guilty of stereotyping, but he tries to correct himself and that in itself is honourable.
Of course, it’s also fascinating to read about his exploits as a kid, and his trips to Kenya and Indonesia, or his work in Chicago trying to make the city a better place before he eventually applied for and was accepted in to Harvard. Turns out that Barack is a pretty good writer, and it shows – it was of a professional quality, with no typos or unnatural sounding sentences. Even the dialogue that he recreates sounds natural and fits perfectly with the character, who are of course real people.
Overall, I’d say that this is well worth a read whether you’re an American or not, and whether or not Obama is still president by the time that you read this. The identity of the author doesn’t really matter – the book speaks for itself, and it has a lot of stuff to say to you, too.