A candid memoir from the then junior senator of Illinois. Barack Obama, son of a black Kenyan father and a white mother from the Midwest, recounts his search for a workable meaning to his life as a black American.
Obama’s quest for the meaning of his absent father’s life becomes a search for his own identity in Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. First published in 1995, beautifully written, it is the story of his youthful disaffection and salvation through community organizing in Chicago ... What comes across in his touching memoir is not how lost he was, but how determined on the path to elected office he already was when writing his first book. It is the work of someone positioning himself, someone who understood instinctively Malcolm X’s autobiography as a conversion narrative in the American grain.
A sharp eye and a generous heart distinguish this memoir ... Obama is anything but a solipsist; he is always looking beyond himself, at family, community, the wider world ... A polished writer, with a novelist’s skill in describing a place or a person and framing a scene. What his eye sees--often critically--his heart forgives: a compelling double vision ... So vividly does Obama portray other people, male and female, that his own story proceeds almost underground.
Dreams from My Father...recounts Obama's journey from happy, race-less boy running barefoot through the muddy back streets of Jakarta to perplexed adolescent and student in Honolulu, Los Angeles and New York, and to eager but ignorant and, eventually, reasonably productive community organiser on Chicago's South Side ... Obama's writing is characterised throughout by a graceful eloquence, a generosity of perception and spirit rare in young men of many gifts and charisma. He admits that most of the related conversations are approximations, his ear for which could be the envy of many a novelist, and this from someone whose primary writing was previously academic ... A testimony for the ages.