|
Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Wiki

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance is a memoir by President of the United States Barack Obama. It was first published in 1995 after Obama was elected the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, but before his political career began. The book was re-released in 2004 following Obama's keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention (DNC); the 2004 edition includes a new introduction by Obama, then a Senator-elect, as well as his DNC keynote address.

The autobiographical narrative tells the story of the life of Obama up to his entry in Harvard Law School. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Obama, Sr. of Kenya, and Ann Dunham of Wichita, Kansas, both students at that time at the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Obama's parents separated when he was two years old and divorced in 1964. Obama formed an image of his absent father from stories told by his mother and her parents. He saw his father only one more time, in 1971, when Obama Sr. came to Hawaii for a month's visit. The elder Obama died in a car accident in 1982.

After her divorce, Ann Dunham married Lolo Soetoro, an East-West Center student from Indonesia. The family moved to Jakarta. When Obama was ten, he returned to Hawaii under the care of his grandparents (and later his mother) for the better educational opportunities available there. He was enrolled in the fifth grade at Punahou School, a private college-preparatory school. Obama was one of three Black students among the majority Asian-American population at that school, and he first became conscious of racism and what it means to be an African-American.

Obama attended Punahou School from the 5th grade until his graduation in 1979. Obama writes: "For my grandparents, my admission into Punahou Academy heralded the start of something grand, an elevation in the family status that they took great pains to let everyone know."

Upon finishing high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles, where he enrolled at Occidental College, where he describes living a "party" lifestyle of drug and alcohol use. After two years at Occidental, he transferred to Columbia College at Columbia University, in Manhattan, New York City, where he majored in political science. Upon graduation, he worked for a year in business. He then moved to Chicago, working for a non-profit doing community organizing in the Altgeld Gardens housing project on the city's South Side. Obama recounts the difficulty of the experience, as his program faced resistance from entrenched community leaders and apathy on the part of the established bureaucracy. It was during his time spent here that Obama joined Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ.

Before attending Harvard Law School, Obama decided to visit relatives in Kenya. He uses part of his experience there as the setting for the book's final, emotional scene.

As well as relating the story of Obama's life, the book includes a good deal of reflection on his own personal experiences with race and race relations in the United States.

*********************


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.
edit this info

Details

ISBN-10:  1400082773
ISBN-13:  978-1400082773
Author:  Barack Obama
Genre:  Non-fiction, Biographies & Memoirs
Publisher:  Three Rivers Press
Date Published:  August 10, 2004
What's your opinion on Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race a...?
rate
11 Ratings: +3.7
You have exceeded the maximum length.
More Dreams from My Father: A Story... reviews
review by . July 21, 2009
 Barack Obama's auobiography, which starts at birth and ends before he enters law school, reads like a good novel and is filled with interesting characters.     There's "Gramps," the white grandfather who tells Hawaiian tourists that the young Barack is the descendent of a king. There's "Toot," the white grandmother who lets Barack watch the last five minutes of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," despite dire warnings from his dad. There's …
review by . June 04, 2009
I will admit that I hadn't heard of the author until his big speech and have obviously followed his career thus far. He is a wonderful speaker and make people want to listen to him. Gorgeous and amazing. I wasn't sure what to expect from his writing, but I was hoping it would be good.    This far surpassed my hopes. His writing is gorgeous, it has a certain flow to it that makes you want to slow down and really follow what he is saying and why. And his story is one worthy of …
review by . November 15, 2008
I am impressed by Obama's ability to analyze himself. In "Dreams from my Father," he readily points out his adolescent flaws, frustrations, and misunderstandings in a way no sitting politician ever could. Historians should be very grateful that he wrote this before he ran for elected office. I cannot think of another memoir by a politician that seemed so unfiltered and human.    By the way, Obama is a beautiful writer. His sentences are smooth and at times lyrical. I look forward …
review by . June 29, 2008
...which I read before anyone began to take Obama's chances of being nominated for president seriously. Still, it had the tenor of a campaign biography -- careful, modest, strategic, and yes, evasive at times. The most any campaign biography ever provides is a sense of the subject's priorities; in other words, you won't find many clues to Obama's specific positions on world issues in the account of his childhood. You will, however, get a feeling of the man, and you will discover an American who …
review by . May 22, 2008
Barack Obama must be the only person on the planet with a background like this: son of a free-spirited young woman who married a black student from Kenya while living in Hawaii with her parents, her father a World War II veteran seeking his fortune as a salesman and her mother a career woman who did not want to be called "Grandma." The family had come to Hawaii because Gramps (he didn't mind being called that) asked for a transfer when he learned the furniture company he worked for was opening a …
review by . April 26, 2005
Told from his earliest remembrance to his entrance to law school, Illinois Senator Barack Obama chronicles his coming-of-age story in Dreams of My Father. He lived under the shadow of a man for whom he was named but did not know; a man bigger than life and a man he did not meet until he was ten years old.    That "Barry" struggled with his identity was no small wonder. He was the product of white mother and an African father living with white grandparents in Hawaii. As a teen …
Related Topics
The Outsiders (Novel)

A book by S. E. Hinton.

The Great Gatsby

A novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald

Ella Enchanted

a book written by Gail Carson Levine, published in 1997

The Bell Jar

Book

© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
()
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since
reviews
comments
ratings
questions
compliments
lists