gracie33, January 22, 2014 (view all comments by gracie33)
I found this book by accident and was very moved by it. Barack Obama is an intense, shockingly honest writer that keeps the reader enthralled. I have now bought his second book because this was so well written. Very open about his family and life. Highly recommend!
Shoshana, May 31, 2010 (view all comments by Shoshana)
Obama's autobiography to 1995. It's a little dry at times, though all of the content is interesting. Since he wrote it before his presidential bid, it's much less guarded/sanitized than it could have been if written later. He describes a lot of the phenomena associated with being black or multiracial in the U.S., and some of the ways that colonialism affected Africans. I could see teaching with it in a graduate diversity course.
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LOrain, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by LOrain)
I think this book changed how I think about race and a persons ability to change society. The fact that Obama was able to write this book played an enormous role in his ability to get elected. I wouldn't have felt as confident supporting him if I hadn't read his story. He is an excellent communicator, but he mature understanding of himself and his place in the world show him to be wiser than most any other politician.
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itpdx, December 16, 2009 (view all comments by itpdx)
I resist reading political autobiographies because I am sure that they will be self-serving drivel. But this was selected by my book group and I am glad it was. It was written after law school and covers Obama's childhood and, what is now termed his "discovery years" as he drifts trying to figure out who he is and what he should do. This edition was printed in 2004 after Obama was elected to the senate and includes an introduction written at that time, but, supposedly, no revisions.
It focuses on two things--what it means to be African American in the US post WWII and his family background--his mother and her parents who were very involved in his childhood, his Indonesian step-father and his absent and elusive Kenyan father. Nurture and nature--what traits he possibly inherited and the values that were instilled and the ones that he adopted.
I really enjoyed imagining what some of the people in the book-Indonesian playmates, classmates at Punahoe, etc. have made of his election.
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by Publishers Weekly,
"[A] poignant, probing memoir of an unusual life....Obama leaves some lingering questions — his mother is virtually absent — but still has written a resonant book."
by Hazel Rochman, Booklist,
"Obama argues with himself on almost every page of this lively autobiographical conversation....Obama is candid about racism and poverty and corruption, in Chicago and in Kenya. Yet he does find community and authenticity..."
by Washington Post Book World,
"Fluidly, calmly, insightfully, Obama guides us straight to the intersection of the most serious questions of identity, class, and race."
by Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here,
"Obama's writing is incisive yet forgiving. This is a book worth savoring."
The son of a black African father and white American mother discusses his divided ancestry and his place in America's racial society, analyzing the demands of racial identity and culture, multiculturalism, and the quest for his own racial identity.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.