Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama

Genre: memoir, non-fiction
Pages: 264, paperback
Published: 1995
Rating: 4/5
FTC Disclosure: Bought from Target

I never knew that President Barack Obama was a writer before he entered the political world. So I decided to pick this one up last year and read more about my new Commander-in-Chief, the first African-American President of the United States! I'm so glad I did. He has a beautiful way with words. He came from so many different worlds and he tried to understand them all...his white mother and Kenyan father. He lived in Indonesia for a few years as well. He tried to understand who he was and where he came from. He only met his father once...

He eventually went to Chicago to be a political organizer, to help get things turned around in neighborhoods that didn't have too much. And he eventually makes it to his father's native land of Kenya where he meets all of his family. Where he learns that "if everyone's your family then no one is."

This book was so insightful not only on race and life, but on the man himself, how he thinks and feels about the stuff of life. He's a down-to-earth guy who's trying to make life better for those around him. And in the end I like who he is what he thinks.

Some wonderful quotes: "That's what the leadership was teaching me, day by day: that the self-interest I was supposed to be looking for extended well beyond the immediacy of issues, that beneath the small talk and sketchy biographies and received opinions, people carried with them some central explanation of themselves. Stories full of terror and wonder, studded with events that still haunted or inspired them. Sacred stories. "

"It was as if he had come to mistrust words somehow. Words, and the sentiments words carried."


  1. My son was quite impressed by his book, "The Audacity of Hope."

  2. Good review! I just got this on audio and can't wait to start it :)

  3. I've been meaning to read these! Glad to know that they are readable and not boring!

  4. I meant to read at least one of his books before voting in 08 but never got around to it. I think I'd like to read thois one first.

  5. A year ago tonight I was looking forward with great anticipation to the presidency of Barack Obama. I thought that this may very well be the "new age" that I have been looking forward to for most of my life. What a difference a year makes. Thus far, as you might imagine, I have been let down by this president. That is why it is so funny to see him labeled by the Right a "radical socialist". If Obama were half as radical as the Conservative media is trying to portray him, people like me wouldn't be one tenth as disappointed in him as we are.

    Don't misunderstand, I am still grateful that he was elected last year. I thank God every day that John McCain will not be sleeping in the Executive Mansion tonight and that Fascist Barbi will not be a heartbeat away from the presidency. While it is true that he has not yet given us the "change we can believe in", it is still too early in his term to make any final assessment. There is some time for optimism - although that time is dwindling rapidly. Still, the alternative to Obama's election last year is just too weird to even contemplate. We should be grateful for that - I guess.

    One thing that puzzles me is the most recent talking point being used against the man - that he does not express emotion or anger. That he is too cerebral. Isn't that what we want in a president? In this way he is much like Jack Kennedy. The angriest statement JFK ever made while president was when he lashed out at "the utter contempt" of the executives at U.S. Steel toward the American people. But even in this instance, Kennedy's tone was measured and restrained. He was not a man given to freaking out. Seriously, would we like a repeat of the shoot-from-the-hip, cowboy idiocy of the Bush years? Look at all the good that did us. Obama's seeming, contemplative demeanor is one of the things about the man that reassures me. Call it a silly quirk in my psychological make up, but I like my presidents to think things through. What can I tell you, I'm kind of funny that way.

    Tom Degan
    Goshen NY

  6. I've had this book to read for over a year now, and I really just can't bring myself to do it.


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