Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” as Want to Read:
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  113,532 Ratings  ·  5,301 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)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dreams from My Father, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Frederick Frankenstein Like any good good my edition doesn't have a table of contents.

I was able to eventually separate it as Part 1 which runs until his Chicago days, I…more
Like any good good my edition doesn't have a table of contents.

I was able to eventually separate it as Part 1 which runs until his Chicago days, I think that is a bit past where I last left off.

In origins though Obama gives a very candid look into his insights. Possibly because he was not so immersed into politics he allows his hatred to flow unlike anyone seeking election would.

As far as origin it is a hefty one, the child looks up to the most deplorable characters and echoes some of the sickest words to live by without second thought as if they are gospel and not some dishonest tacts

More onto origins, the author talks out of turn a lot, most of this childhood stories sounds so bullshit that it is hard to take half of them at face value. Each instance reeks of the feels that after the event he thought of the perfect thing to say which is inserted into his manuscript. Another point that relates to his audacity to Brian Williams the story is how he writes about his mother being younger than eight as if those events happened to him just yesterday in full detail with so many extras clearly thrown in just detracts from what could of been real.

Still as a character study it gives great insight into his inner workings especially when you consider how often he tries to Alexander Hamilton his past. (less)
Godless by Ann CoulterMiles to Go by Miley CyrusHow to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must) by Ann CoulterIf Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans by Ann CoulterSlander by Ann Coulter
Books I Have No Intention of Reading
62nd out of 1,329 books — 6,114 voters
Godless by Ann CoulterGuilty by Ann CoulterDianetics by L. Ron HubbardTwilight by Stephenie MeyerIf Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans by Ann Coulter
1001 Books I'd Rather Die than Read
31st out of 510 books — 773 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sarah
Feb 04, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
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
Aug 04, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
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
❁ بــدريــه ❁


بالبداية ..
الكتاب تم كتابته قبل أن يصبح باراك أوباما
رئيساً لأمريكا أو حتى كان يفكر في ترشيح
نفسه لهذا المنصب و بالتالي لا توجد أي
أحداث يمكن تجميلها !

فهي سيرة ذاتية لشخص يروي تجربة حياته
بلا أي تعقيدات . كتاب لا يستمد قيمته فقط
من كونه السيرة الذاتية لرئيس . إنما قيمته تكمن
في شخصية باراك أوباما، أصوله
و حياته شخصية، تستحق سيرته الذاتية أن تُقرأ
و تُروى بصرف النظر عن كونه رئيساً ..



في الفصل الأول و هو " الجذور "

يحكي أوباما عن والده كما سمعها من جديه
و من والدته كما يحكي عن جديه و كيف تقبل
فكرة زواج
...more
Lorenzo Pilla
Jul 22, 2011 Lorenzo Pilla rated it it was amazing
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
غيداء
Jun 09, 2012 غيداء rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 25, 2009 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: political
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
Siria
Jun 19, 2009 Siria rated it really liked it
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
Shannon
Aug 06, 2008 Shannon rated it liked it
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
Patricia
Aug 17, 2007 Patricia rated it it was ok
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
Tasha
Aug 28, 2007 Tasha rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no
Book was boring. Lots of redundancy, meaning it was the same topic over and over again…I wouldn’t recommend.
Luís Blue Yorkie
The book "Dreams of my Father" ("My Heritage"), Barack Obama, The Current President of The United States of America, recalls a story that its half sister, Auma, will tell him about their father (Doctor Obama, the father of both) after fallen from grace having due to tribalism of the power holders in then Kenya, led by Kennyata. The critical spirit of Doctor Obama also not helped, above all, because who was in fashion were the law of the silence (EAT AND SHUT UP)
But Doctor Obama not shut up. Then
...more
kxm
Apr 09, 2007 kxm rated it really liked it
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
Kaylam2012
Nov 20, 2008 Kaylam2012 rated it did not like it
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
Mikey B.
Jun 03, 2013 Mikey B. rated it it was amazing
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
mai ahmd
Dec 22, 2011 mai ahmd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Rola
Nov 17, 2013 Rola rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lula
Mar 31, 2008 Lula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, autobiography, oxy
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
Sarah
22/3 - I'm Australian, I've never spent any extended period of time living in the US, so all of my opinions are those of an outsider looking in. I'm also not much of a political watcher so I don't know all the ins and outs of my own country's political structure, let alone that of America's, so please excuse any mistakes I make or incorrect words I use. I have the political knowledge of the average young teenager.

One of this year's POPSUGAR challenge categories was a political memoir - Barack Ob
...more
Manny
Dec 19, 2008 Manny rated it liked it
Even if Obama weren't about to become President, this would be quite a worthwhile book. I wasn't crazy about his style, but he has a lot of interesting things to say, and comes across as a very sympathetic person.
Eric
May 16, 2009 Eric rated it it was amazing
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
Trena
Jan 21, 2009 Trena rated it it was amazing
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
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
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
Sarah
May 05, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
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
Dec 30, 2008 Ganesh rated it really liked it
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
Janine
Apr 20, 2007 Janine rated it liked it
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
Arakah Mushaweh
May 11, 2011 Arakah Mushaweh rated it it was amazing
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
Shaun
Oct 19, 2013 Shaun rated it really liked it
"For the first time in many years, I've pulled out a copy and read a few chapters to see how much my voice may have changed over time. I confess to wincing every so often at a poorly chosen word, a mangled sentence, an expression of emotion that seems indulgent or overly practiced. I have the urge to cut the book by fifty pages or so, possessed as I am with a keener appreciation for brevity."


This quote appears in the preface to the 2004 edition, and I wholeheartedly agree with Barack's assessm
...more
bill greene
Jun 11, 2008 bill greene rated it liked it
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
Rose
Dec 28, 2008 Rose rated it it was amazing
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
Cecily
I started reading this a day after Obama's inauguration. Even though I'm not American, it seemed important to do so, and also I was told that the quality of the writing is at least as impressive and the story.

It was published in 1995, shortly after Obama graduated from Harvard Law School and covers his life, or rather his search for identity up till then, in three main sections: childhood in Hawaii, Indonesia and back in Hawaii; working in Chicago and visiting Kenya to visit his father's family.
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Obama-mania 64 281 Jan 03, 2016 01:43PM  
Service Wika Pemanas Air 081314574443 1 3 Nov 16, 2015 08:25AM  
Can you recommend me other books written in this beautiful prose? 10 58 Jul 26, 2015 03:29PM  
  • All Too Human
  • I Love Yous Are for White People
  • True Compass: A Memoir
  • The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory
  • My Life
  • A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mother
  • Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement
  • Slaves in the Family
  • Barack Obama: The Story
  • Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics
  • The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America
  • Madam Secretary: A Memoir
  • An Hour Before Daylight: Memoirs of a Rural Boyhood
  • Personal History
  • Living History
  • Renegade: The Making of a President
  • Michelle: A Biography
  • A Song Flung Up To Heaven
6356
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...

Share This Book



“The worst thing that colonialism did was to cloud our view of our past.” 62 likes
“The study of law can be disappointing at times, a matter of applying narrow rules and arcane procedure to an uncooperative reality; a sort of glorified accounting that serves to regulate the affairs of those who have power--and that all too often seeks to explain, to those who do not, the ultimate wisdom and justness of their condition.

But that's not all the law is. The law is also memory; the law also records a long-running conversation, a nation arguing with its conscience.”
40 likes
More quotes…