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An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  529 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Julian Castro, 2020 Presidential candidate, keynote speaker at the 2012 DNC, and former San Antonio mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, tells his remarkable and inspiring life story.

In the spirit of a young Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father comes a candid and compelling memoir about race and poverty in America. In many ways, there was no reason
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by Little, Brown and Company
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I am attempting to read the books by those people running for president. There are too many running and that means too many books to read.

This is a memoir of Julian Castro. He and his brother, Joaquin, are identical twins. He was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. His grandmother was an immigrant from Mexico. She had very little education, therefore, she pushed her offspring to get an education. Julian’s mother was politically active and taught her children to be active in local affairs and
H.M. Ada
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A heartfelt and at times bittersweet story about the American dream.

First, this is not a policy book. It touches on some policy, but it’s more about Castro’s relationship with politics as part of his American journey. In this book, Castro takes readers along that journey, sharing many personal details about his childhood, reflecting on his victories and defeats, and explaining the many challenges and hardships stacked up against those who do not come from privileged backgrounds. I listened to
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Embrace your unlikely journey.
Julián Castro ~~ An Unlikely Journey


I love Julián Castro. HC made a huge mistake in not choosing him as VP nominee ~~ one of many huge mistakes she made in her campaign. I'm sad his voice was silenced during the debate process.
This is a great memoir from a great man. Review will follow.
Memoirs are de rigueur for anyone aspiring to the presidency. And so they should be, to introduce themselves and to give us an idea from where their sense of duty emanates. Nonetheless, it is disconcerting to read the memoir of someone running for president in their forties who never mentions travel abroad.

At least half this book is composed of Julián’s life before he was twenty. For those who argue that “youthful indiscretions don’t matter,” here is someone who clearly thinks one’s sense of
Ericka Clouther
This is entirely a memoir and has no policy whatsoever. As a memoir, it’s cute, but it entirely skips his winning election for Mayor, and his time as Mayor, which is the period of time he is best known for. Additionally, that period of time is the time when he started developing a relationship with President Obama which ultimately led to his position on the cabinet for HUD.

I was pleasantly surprised by the HUD program to help homeless veterans pay for housing that was able to give vouchers to
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
I’m a big fan of Julián Castro, but this book was a bit disappointing. To be fair, I had a very high bar for political memoirs after reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming. As a San Antonio resident, in Castro’s old neighborhood no less, it was exciting to read about his family’s history on the West Side, and the Castro brothers are royalty here. However, his writing was pitched to the reading level of his children, and I didn’t find the same warm intimacy of other great memoirs. I wished for more ...more
Rickk Montoya
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A story much like my own. Julian has command of his story and a drive to provide America's Youth the opportunity for their own personal Unlikely Journey
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The American Dream

Julian has lived a classic American success story -- from the poverty of west side San Antonio to the Cabinet. If he can show the policy chops for his presidential run, we could have a contender.

Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
A quick and mildly entertaining read, but sorely lacking in any meaty indications of what a Castro presidency would look like. For a man who just declared, I was hoping this book would lead me to understand what he wants done, what his vision for America is. Instead, we got a watered down and tired “American Dream” narrative peppered with the most fleeting snippets of wokenness.

I am still rooting for Julián, but he needs to be clear about exactly what he’s going to do to mejorar nuestro país.
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Julián Castro is another of the 2020 Democratic Presidential candidates. But his 2018 book, An Unlikely Journey, isn’t about the campaign. It contains no specific platforms or policies. Instead, it’s one man’s unique origin story. Unless you count that his identical twin brother, Joaquin has nearly the same story.

Castro grew up in San Antonio, Texas, a third-generation Mexican American. His grandmother, called Mamo, crossed the border as a 7-year-old orphan. She later had an illegitimate
Dee Dee G
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a short very inspiring book. Even though the book is short Julian gives a lot of information on his family background and what made him become interested in politics.
Anna-Leigh Moore
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I began getting into politics a few years ago, my freshman year of high school. I started watching the news more, listening to podcasts about political topics and issues, and read articles about all kinds of political things. Until this year though, I had not read a political book or anything written by a politician. I found this book randomly one night on my local library app. At first, I was afraid it would be boring. I have to admit that I thought it would be full of concise facts and take a ...more
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Julian Castro is a candidate for the President of United States and this is his memoir of his family's humble beginnings. His grandmother, Mamo was forcefully pulled from her dying mother and sent with her sister across the border to live with relatives that they had never met before.

Living in extreme poverty, his mother worked hard to get more education. Julian and his twin were inspired by her activism and drive for social justice. I enjoyed reading this memoir but wanted more in depth
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-books
***I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway***

Julian Castro is a nice guy. He genuinely wants to help people and he's the sort of dude that tries to build bridges between people. He has a sense of community, of self, and of how important it is to bring those things together for the greater good. I truly like Julian Castro after reading this book.

Is he presidential? I don't know. The biography portions are...weak. He didn't really write this in a way to let us get in and feel what he feels. I
Apr 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
This is an excellent audiobook narrated by the well-spoken and entertaining narrator, the author. I found this book quite interesting, & even funny at times, and feel like I got great insight into this trailblazer. My favorite stories were the ones with him & his twin brother, Joaquin.
Lexi Hill
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Super quick and interesting read! Castro seems like a natural storyteller, I loved the writing. Such a valuable perspective on public service!
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book had a similar tone as "Becoming" by Michelle Obama. However, it didnt come close to having the same impact as Obama's book had. I read this book in effort to understand.Castro's political positions; but, I was sadly left without an understanding of any of that.
John Bohnert
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book made me very impressed with Julian Castro.
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
With this book, now-presidential candidate Julia Castro shares his life story with his readers. Starting with how three of his four grandparents crossed the border of Mexico during its civil war to escape the horrors of the fighting that was happening there. They all settled into San Antonio, Texas. Mamo, Castro's mother's mother, struggled without an education, but a willingness to work hard, made her way in the world, raising a daughter who would become a municipal employee and someone willing ...more
Kevin Scott
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Worthy Presidential Candidate

Castro gives us a decent chronological account of his unlikely journey to the upper tier of current progressive Democrats, starting with his grandmother’s crossing from the Mexican border as a young girl. He makes a compelling case for the power of education to change lives. He also comes across as an expert in immigration and HUD issues. I craved some deeper introspection around his philosophy and faith, but Castro overall shows great integrity, good intentions,
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
To be honest, when Julian Castro announced his candidacy for president of the United States I really didnt know much about him. I wanted to learn more so I ordered this book from the library. I learned that his granparents were Mexican immigrants and he and his identical twin brother were raised by a single mother. They actually had a pretty good childhood because their family was very loving and encouraged them to get ahead. Through hard work they went to college, both became lawyers, but ...more
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
In my continuing effort to read memoirs of presidential hopefuls, I checked out this book (audiobook actually) from the library. Castro tells a compelling story of his career in public service. I think he's solid on understanding where he stands on political issues (particularly those related to immigration) but I don't know if he has the oration skills needed to sway the votes away from the front-runners. He needs to inspire people Obama style if he's going to move up among the leaders.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
It’s a nice perspective on the development of a person through the multi-generational struggles of his family. The lessons Castro learned from his family seem a little forced or interrupts the transition of life experiences. However, this point is driven that we are nothing unless we learn from our experiences.
Ben Truong
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream is an autobiography written by Julián Castro. This memoir chronicles the struggle on how he rose from humble origins to live the American Dream.

Julián Castro is an American politician from San Antonio. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the youngest member of President Obama's Cabinet, serving as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014–2017. Castro served as the mayor of his native San Antonio, Texas
Belli Mor
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wasn’t crazy about his writing style but it is a great book in the sense that I got to learn more about Julian and his upbringing. He sounds like a very remarkable person who overcame all the obstacles growing up in a poor neighborhood of minorities and immigrants and went up to become a lawyer and public servant with a mission of helping those less fortunate attain their dreams of success.
Miguel Rodriguez Sr
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I will start by saying that I may be a bit biased because I've lived in San Antonio, Texas since 1977 approximately and am familiar with the Castro Bros., not the cuban siblings, but the chicanos. Although I didn't learn much new about Julian Castro and his family's roots and background I still liked the memoir. I read it the day before he announced his candidacy to capture the democratic nomination for the Presidency of the United States, he's got my vote already. Now, before he goes against ...more
Sofia The Great
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bios, latino, audio, 2019
I feel Julian Castro is perfect.

Too perfect.

might be unrelatable to the American people.
May 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed with this book. The author had an interesting life story but could not write a good memoir. He does not relate to people and does not do justice to his mom and grandma ‘s life stories. His descriptions are dry and without detail. Read two pages about the first failed mayoral election and lessons he learned. It seems he paid his campaign manager to write it.
After reading this book I still do not know who this man is and that is the reason for two stars.
Darlene Wilson
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book!

Awesome book! Wonderful writing of your family’s journey to America and how your life was decided by their lives! Go Julian! You will be president some day!
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting look at a unique childhood.
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“I’d known many smart young people with talent and ambition in my hometown, but they lacked access to opportunities or somebody from that higher level offering a hand to pull them up.” 1 likes
“Embrace your unlikely journey.” 1 likes
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