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Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritanceby Barack Obama
Synopses & 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 Obamas struggle to understand the forces that shaped him as the son of a black African father and white American mother—a struggle that takes him from the American heartland to the ancestral home of his great-aunt in the tiny African village of Alego.
Obama opens his story in New York, where he hears that his father—a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man—has died in a car accident. The news triggers a chain of memories as Barack retraces his familys unusual history: the migration of his mothers family from small-town Kansas to the Hawaiian islands; the love that develops between his mother and a promising young Kenyan student, a love nurtured by youthful innocence and the integrationist spirit of the early sixties; his fathers departure from Hawaii when Barack was two, as the realities of race and power reassert themselves; and Baracks own awakening to the fears and doubts that exist not just between the larger black and white worlds but within himself.
Propelled by a desire to understand both the forces that shaped him and his fathers legacy, Barack moves to Chicago to work as a community organizer. There, against the backdrop of tumultuous political and racial conflict, he works to turn back the mounting despair of the inner city. His story becomes one with those of the people he works with as he learns about the value of community, the necessity of healing old wounds, and the possibility of faith in the midst of adversity.
Baracks journey comes full circle in Kenya, where he finally meets the African side of his family and confronts the bitter truth of his fathers life. Traveling through a country racked by brutal poverty and tribal conflict, but whose people are sustained by a spirit of endurance and hope, Barack discovers that he is inescapably bound to brothers and sisters living an ocean away—and that by embracing their common struggles he can finally reconcile his divided inheritance.
A searching meditation on the meaning of identity in America, Dreams from My Father might be the most revealing portrait we have of a major American leader—a man who is playing, and will play, an increasingly prominent role in healing a fractious and fragmented nation.
Pictured in lefthand photograph on cover: Habiba Akumu Hussein and Barack Obama, Sr. (President Obama's paternal grandmother and his father as a young boy). Pictured in righthand photograph on cover: Stanley Dunham and Ann Dunham (President Obama's maternal grandfather and his mother as a young girl).
In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, Illinois U.S. Senator Barack Obama, the son of a black African father and a white American mother, recounts his search for a workable meaning to his life as a black American.
About the Author
BARACK OBAMA graduated from Harvard Law School in 1991, where he served as the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He has worked as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, and law professor. Since 1997, he has represented parts of Chicago’s South Side in the Illinois General Assembly, and he is currently the Democratic nominee to become the junior U.S. senator from Illinois. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Michelle, and daughters, Malia and Sasha.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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