Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
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Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  71,477 ratings  ·  4,841 reviews
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 shap...more
Paperback, 453 pages
Published 2004 by New York: Three Rivers Press (first published July 1995)
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Sarah
Feb 04, 2008 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: the undecided
Recommended to Sarah by: Liz
As Super Tuesday approaches and we try to separate empty promises and strategic moves from real, actual thoughts and goals, I couldn’t have read a better book than Dreams From My Father.

Here’s why: even though I didn’t realize it when I picked it up, Obama wrote this book over ten years ago, when he was fresh out of law school and long before he was worrying about what people wanted to hear. It is, I think, a great way to “get to know” the candidate outside of the media, the hype, and the confus...more
Michelle
With Barack Obama running for president, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at who this candidate was. I had been warned by another friend (not a Obama supporter, I should note) that it was poorly written and its message unclear. This perplexed me a bit since that had been contrary to what it seemed like everyone had been saying.

Well, I, on the other hand, found it a completely absorbing read. It's well-written and an interesting story. I wish everyone could read it; there are so m...more
Lorenzo Pilla
Jul 22, 2011 Lorenzo Pilla rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Sean Hannity
Shelves: non-fiction
Forget for a moment who the author has become. This is not a book written by a politician or a would-be president. It's a book that was written by someone who subsequently became those things. For that reason, it's a very honest account of an American coming to terms with who he is and where he's from. As a bonus, Obama happens to be an excellent writer. He has a good sense of how to fashion an interesting narrative, so his personal story is very engaging.

As a normal part of becoming an adult, a...more
Siria
In the introduction, Obama writes that looking back on this book after the passage of over a decade, he winces at inelegant phrasing, and wishes that he could excise perhaps fifty of its four hundred and fifty pages. That's the kind of self-critique with which this book abounds—honest and very deliberately even-handed. It's a critique I agree with, by the way—Obama has a tendency to go off on slight rhetorical flights which may sound good when delivered in a speech, but which need to be tempered...more
Tasha
Aug 28, 2007 Tasha rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: no
Book was boring. Lots of redundancy, meaning it was the same topic over and over again…I wouldn’t recommend.
Algheeed_الغِيد
قرأت هذا الكتاب بناء على نصيحة من حكيم، وإلى اليوم أشعر بالسعادة لأنني قرأته، كتاب ثمين يستحق القراءة، بل وتجب قراءته من وجهة نظري. كنت قد بدأت في قراءة النسخة الإنجليزية ولكن اتضح لي بأنها صعبة جدا فقمت بشراء النسخة العربية. الكتاب عبارة عن ثلاثة أجزاء: أوباما طفلا، أوباما مراهقا و أوباما ناشطا اجتماعيا.
الكتاب يحكي تأملات أوباما في الحياة، التي أعيت الكثير :)، يسرد لك الأحداث بطريقة سينيمائية، يربطها لك كذلك بحبكة هوليوودية :). يحكي لك قصة حب أبيه و أمه، موافقة جده وجدته على مضض، ظلم جده لأبيه...more
Chris
This is one of those books that I want to buy for everyone I know. Apart from any of the political ideas in the book or whether or not one is excited by his presidency, Obama is a fantastic writer -- this is one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Apart from an occasional slip into melodramatic prose (very occasional, and certainly less than the average memoir), the prose balanced clarity and description, and Obama very consciously keeps from slipping into nostalgia or over-idealizing any time...more
Patricia
Did Barack Obama write this book himself? Man, it was so full of cliches that I almost threw it against the wall, had it not belonged to the library. The most interesting parts take place out of the U.S. Too much concentration on frustrated-black-man syndrome, trying to find a black community and not enough (for me) on how he fared within this community as mixed. Even though HE chose one ethnicity over another, I want to know how he was treated because other people take notice of a mixture withi...more
kxm
Apr 09, 2007 kxm rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Americans.
Barack Obama's life not only makes for a great story, it shows a lot about the character of the man telling it--both in the way he tells it, but also in the events that happened and the way he handled them. I am impressed by his level of honesty about himself--he does not paint himself to be pristine, but makes himself very human. It is in this exposure of his vulnerabilities, his fears, his insecurities that he becomes like us--simply human. On that level, we can connect to the story of his lif...more
Shannon
What a thought-provoking book! The book is split into three sections (Origins, Chicago and Kenya). I tried splitting up my reading of it in roughly the same manner since it's easier for me to get through a non-fiction book if I intersperse it with fiction.

I think each section left me with a different series of questions. Origins left me thinking about community: its value, how we choose it, are chosen by it, and what it means to be within and without community. Origins also made me ponder how ch...more
Rola
سأل باراك الصغير زوج أمه ذات يوم : (لماذا قتل الرجل ؟)
- "لإنه كان ضعيفا "
- "هذا كل شئ ؟ "
فهز لولو كتفيه و قال: " عادة ما يكون هذا كافيا، فالناس يستغلون ضعف الآخرين، إنهم بالضبط مثل الدول في هذا الأمر ؛ فالرجل القوي يستولي علي أرض الرجل الضعيف ، و يجعل الضعيف يعمل في حقوله، و إذا كانت زوجة الرجل الضعيف جميلة فإن القوي سيأخذها ،،، أيهما تفضل أن تكون ؟؟ "
لم أجب عليه، ، فنظر بعينين شبه مغمضتين إلي السماء، و قال في النهاية و هو ينهض علي قدميه : " من الإفضل أن تكون قويا، ، و إذا لم تستطع إن تكون قوي...more
Jeanette (Most of My Favorite Authors Are Dead)
I knew there was no way I'd ever read this whole thing in print, so I listened to the abridged audio book. It's read by the author, and it felt cozy to sit here right in my own home and have Mr. President tell me all about the first 20-some years of his life. This was written way back when "Barry" was elected as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. I hadn't known it was that old.

I'm very glad I listened to this. It really helped me understand what shaped the man who b...more
Lula
The reviews I have perused are about people's feelings about their projections of what Obama means to them. Reviewers are sharing their feelings about the symbolism of Obama, and not reviewing the book. And as a symbol - wow - what a wide variety of feelings from far extremes he represents.

Thirteen years ago I read this out of curiosity. We just weren't sure what he would have to say. At the time it wasn't exactly a bestseller. But it was worth checking out to see if I recognized anyone. He mana...more
Janine
Apr 20, 2007 Janine rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: ppl interested in memoirs. specifically about African Diaspora
Reading Senator Obama's book reminded me of Umberto Eco's seminal work, Role of the Reader. (Hazily reminded me, as I read it over 10 years ago.) In the first part of that book, Eco conjures the idea of archetypical readers and discusses the different ways that each reader approaches a text. As I read Dreams from My Father I read it as two different readers. First, I read it as a book lover and critic; second, as a voter. (Listed in order of priority, I must confess.)
As a memoir, I thought this...more
Trena
I resisted reading this book for a long time based solely on the title. I hated to think that our President(!!!!-happy day today) would have fantasies about his absent father and imagine him to be all that is good and just in the world while ignoring or perhaps even resenting his mother, the one who actually raised him and was there through all the dirty diapers, report cards, and snotty noses. However, I did intend to read it eventually so when one of my book clubs chose it I checked it out.

In...more
Sarah
Barack Obama
Dreams From My Father
New York: Three Rivers Press, 2004
453 pp. $13.95
1-4000-8277-3


The United States is recognized as a nation of immigrants with the ability to re-invent themselves and adapt to the culture of their adopted home. However, it is the children of these immigrants who seek authenticity in forgotten and disregarded ethnic traditions, in search of their roots, of an identity. “Dreams From My Father,” Barack Obama’s autobiography recounts the odyssey Obama embarks upon, in...more
Ganesh
When Barack Obama’s father was a young man, he went with his father-in-law and friends to a bar in Hawaii where a man loudly complained about having to sit “next to a nigger.”

“The room fell quiet and people turned to my father, expecting a fight. Instead, my father stood up, walked over to the man, smiled, and proceeded to lecture him about the folly of bigotry, the promise of the American dream, and the universal rights of man.”

The man apologized, and he tried to show how sorry he was by givin...more
Arakah Mushaweh
هذا كتابٌ لم أرد له أن ينتهي ..! بعض الكتب حين ننتهي منها تبين لنا حجم الفراغ الذي نعيش فيه بعدها ..! حجم اللاشيء ..! هذا كتابٌ يسكن بين طيّاته باراك الإنسان .. باراك الشخص العادي الذي يسعى بكل ما يملك
لأن يجعل لعرقه شأناً .. باراك رفض أن يكون اسماً عابراً في هامش الحياة .. لذلك اختار المتن .. وكان رئيس الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية .. هذا الدولة التي تعد مركز العنصرية ومركز التفرقة بين الأبيض والأسود .. في هذا الكتاب يعلمك باراك كيف تكون قوياً .. كيف تسقط ثم تقوم .. كيف أن الضربة التي لا تقتلك تقو...more
mai ahmd
كتبه باراك قبل أن يعتلي عرش السلطة ولا علاقة لهذا الكتاب بكونه رئيس أكبر دولة في العالم بل ربما قد يكون سببا في إيصاله لكرسي الرئاسة ..
وفيه ينقل باراك سيرة حياته بين جديه في هاواي ثم ذكرياته مع والدته في إندونيسيا حين تزوجت للمرة الثانية وهناك عاش باراك حياة ريفية عركته الحياة نتيجة لتباين الحياة التي عاشها هناك عن أمريكا
يعرض أيضا قصة عودته لأمريكا حيث تبدأ حياة أخرى في إحدى المدارس الخاصة بدأ يعاني فيها من ضياع الهوية والتفرقة العنصرية وحين بدأت تراوه الحيرة في الإنتماء إلى أيا من اللونين !
وا...more
Rose
Wow. The man can write. This was an excellent book about figuring out who you are and what your place in the universe might be. On the surface it was about how to be a black (or biracial) American, but it was also about being a third-culture kid, and deeper still, it addressed the question we all have to face sometime, even if we're tenth-generation New Englanders: who are you? how do you fit in with what has gone before? what will you preserve and pass down? and what will you change?

The book i...more
Kaylam2012
Nov 20, 2008 Kaylam2012 rated it 1 of 5 stars Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Kaylam2012 by: the school
Have you ever read a book that just made you flat out mad? Well the book “ Dreams of my Father ” by Barack Obama is one those books. This book lacks common sense that ever book should have. It pays so much attention to characters that do not deserve the time of day. Barack makes his life sound unbearable when in reality his life is really easy.

First, I feel that Obama is making too much fuss over whether he is white or black. As an interracial child that I am, I feel that all you should know wha...more
bill greene
okay. first of all, i found it impossible while reading this book to forget, even for a moment, that its author might be our next president. this means it is very difficult to appraise the book on its own merits. but i will try. i should mention at the outset, in a spirit of full disclosure, that i am cautiously a supporter of obama, although i do not drink the kool-aid. i think he is a natural leader, well-organized & given to introspection, and i think this might be a nice change of pace f...more
Karen
There are very few books on my list that warrant five stars, but this is one of them. I read Barack Obama's books out of order, and while I enjoyed and appreciated The Audacity of Hope, it is certainly the book that one writes right before one runs for president.

Written while Mr. Obama was in his 30s, Dreams From My Father is without guile, without agenda, and is truly one of the most beautifully written, moving books I have ever read. The book traces Obama's quest for self and purports that as...more
Mikey B.
This is quite a remarkable book considering that this individual is now President of the U.S. It was written when he was far removed from the Presidential radar.

It is well written and the narrative is very vivid. The book is divided into three sections with very little inter-connectedness between them.

The first is about his roots and growing up with his mother and grand-parents – in far flung regions of the world – Hawaii and Indonesia. The second is focused on Chicago and the community work he...more
Eric
May 16, 2009 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anybody
Recommended to Eric by: Lotsa peoples
Dreams from My Father

I give this a superlative rating because of its clear statement of what it means to be black in a racialized environment, and because of Obama's ability to confront the complexities of his own biracial/multicultural heritage without succumbing to romanticism or denying any aspect of his heritage. He opts for a black identity for the same reason nearly all black/white biracials do -- a white identity isn't possible when you're his color and being white requires a dimmed aware...more
طَيْف
description

هل توقع باراك أوباما لما كتب أحلام أبيه، أنه سيكون يوما على قمة الهرم الأمريكي، ويُسمع صوته من داخل البيت الأبيض؟ وأيّ إرهاصات عاشها باراك أوباما قادت ليحتل تلك المكانة؟؟

سؤالين رافقاني طوال فترة قراءتي للكتاب...وكنت أبحث خلف السطور عن إجاباتهما


باراك أوباما أعاد قراءة بعض فصول من الكتاب بعد نشره بسنوات، ليعرف كم تغير صوته مع مرور الزمن، ورغم انتقاده لبعض ما كتبه، لكنه فضل أن يظل الكتاب مؤرخا لتلك الفترة دون تغيير


باراك الذي ولد لأب أفريقي وأم أمريكية بيضاء ركز في كتابه على بحثه عن هويته، ليقر أخير
...more
Nancy
This was a hard book for me to “rate.” It is difficult to untangle the book from all the publicity on the presidential candidate. I voted for Barack Obama in the Oregon primary just before I finally got to the head of the line for the book at the library. There was nothing in the book that really surprised me. I am still glad I voted for him.

I really enjoyed the first three-fourths of “Dreams from My Father” and was impressed with Obama’s humanity and admission of flaws. This is clearly not a b...more
Dollie
This was our book club book and, as luck would have it, one my friend Paul had lent me. Timing? Destiny? I don't know but I did enjoy the book very much. Our president may count writing as one of his many talents for this book stands on it's own no matter what else the author may have achieved. Our book club discussion (that have a way of touching so little on the book and more on our children and ourselves) took what I thought was a strange turn focusing more on race, entitlement. I figured I j...more
Michelle
[written July 2005]

This week at the library, it was a pair of politicians' autobiographies: Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama, and It's My Party Too by Christine Whitman.

Reading politicians' books immediately puts me on edge. perhaps it's because I know I'm already starting out on uneven footing, that their world is inconceivably more complex, more filled with intricate negotiation and navigation, and that by reducing it to concrete paragraphs there's an instantaneous and inevitable dumbing...more
Bettynz
Goodness! Well, having never previously read the autobiography of a politician, this book was a pleasant surprise in lots of ways. Who'd have thought his family was more complicated than mine (as one of my friends commented last night!). I was seriously losing track of brothers, (sisters were easy - just the 2) and to still be meeting new ones right up till the end was amazing. Let alone uncles, step-uncles and aunts, grandmothers and step-grandmothers and so on and on!

There were so many poigna...more
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Obama-mania 52 244 Mar 31, 2014 06:31PM  
Can you recommend me other books written in this beautiful prose? 6 25 Jan 08, 2014 09:09AM  
Tidal Change Book...: DREAMS FROM MY FATHER - Barack Obama 27/11/2010 1 11 Jan 02, 2013 10:42PM  
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Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States of America. He is the first African-American President to be elected President of the United States, and was the first to be nominated for President by a major U.S. political party. He was the junior U.S. Senator from Illinois from 2005 until he resigned on November 16, 2008, following his election to the Presidency.

Barack Obama is the son of...more
More about Barack Obama...
The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream Of Thee I Sing: A Letter To My Daughters Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama's Plan to Renew America's Promise The Inaugural Address, 2009: Together with Abraham Lincoln's First and Second Inaugural Addresses and The Gettysburg Address and Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance Barack Obama in His Own Words

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“The worst thing that colonialism did was to cloud our view of our past.” 36 likes
“My identity might begin with the fact of my race, but it didn't, couldn't end there.
At least that's what I would choose to believe.”
25 likes
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