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The Dream Begins: How Hawaii Shaped Barack Obama

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Stu Glauberman

Born and raised in the most multicultural state in the union, United States presidential candidate Barack Obama bears the indelible stamp of his native Hawaii. Here is a coming-of-age story set in Hawaii's storied "melting pot—a revealing look … see full wiki

Author: Stu Glauberman
Publisher: Watermark Publishing
1 review about The Dream Begins: How Hawaii Shaped Barack...

Let us now go even unto Punahou and see this thing which has come to pass

  • Jan 20, 2009
No one who didn't grow up in the unique atmosphere of Hawai`i -- particularly Hawai`i in the heady 1970s, when Barack Obama was attending the state's second-best preparatory school -- can ever entirely grasp what that place was like and how it shapes a person. I was there too for while (except for the school part), so I can attest that "The Dream Begins" is not another hagiographic biography of The One (though it has a few elements of that). It is also a pretty impressively done review of the unique cultural conditions in the Aloha State and how they, combined with Obama's own complex family background, helped create the man we inaugurate today.

As befits two longtime journalists, "The Dream Begins" reads sort of like an extended newspaper feature article. It's a fast read, but not oversimplified or cliched, and a balanced look at Hawai`i's racial tensions past and present. Glauberman and Burris cover a lot of ground, and even readers in or familiar with Hawai`i will appreciate the authors' ability to make connections and present history in an engaging way. If it is true, as the quotation from Michelle Obama on the cover argues, that "You can't really understand Barack until you understand Hawai`i," "The Dream Begins" is a good way to get the foundation you need.

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