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 Obama’s 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 family’s unusual history: the migration of his mother’s 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 father’s departure from Hawaii when Barack was two, as the realities of race and power reassert themselves; and Barack’s 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 father’s 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.
Barack’s journey comes full circle in Kenya, where he finally meets the African side of his family and confronts the bitter truth of his father’s 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).
About the Author
Barack Obama was born in Honolulu in 1961. In his early twenties he found his vocation working among poor communities on the south side of Chicago. Later he went to law school at Harvard University, where he became the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. In 1995 he published his memoir Dreams From My Father, which became a bestseller soon after it was reissued in 2004. After returning to Chicago, he was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996.
Barack Obama delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and later that year he was elected to the US Senate. His second book, The Audacity of Hope, was published in 2006 and became an immediate bestseller. In November 2008 Senator Obama beat John McCain to become the 44th President of the United States of America. He was re-elected for a second term in 2012. He is married to Michelle, with whom he has two daughters, Sasha and Malia.
An American classic, written with grace and precision * * Observer * *
Thoughtful, moving and brilliantly written * * The Times * *
A man with a phenomenal life story * * Spectator * *
Extraordinary . . . It's unique. It's his. There are no other ones like that -- TONI MORRISON
A bestseller because of its freshness and honesty -- CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS * * Sunday Times * *
A well-written account of Obama's struggle to establish his own views on identity and race, and all the more entertaining for its honesty * * Financial Times * *
The only politician's life I have read that made me cry . . . elegant and surprising prose as well as a solid personal statement -- IAN KELLY * * The Times * *
With its honesty and cool language, and by virtue of having a story worth telling, the book impresses far more than the typical political memoir -- COLIN WATERS * * Sunday Herald * *
Obama has written a memoir . . . that evokes the anguish of miscegenation yet culminates in a cry of faith in human community . . . Obama is a born narrator, with a mastery of colour, scene and personality, deftly stirring them into the melting pot of a shared American identity. Rarely has that identity found so vivid a portraitist -- SIMON JENKINS * * Sunday Times * *
[Obama] writes with candour about racism, bigotry and hardship, but always there is a sense of wisdom - you feel you are in the presence of a very mature man . . . You will not fail to be moved by Obama's warmth and humility * * Good Book Guide * *