Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance



President Barack Obama’s history may not be well-known to most people. Is he from Hawaii or Chicago? What is his connection to Kansas, Kenya, and Indonesia? Most interestingly, what life experiences shaped the 44th President of the United States?

Written after his graduation from Harvard Law school in 1991 and originally published in the summer of 1995 (months before his mother’s early death), Dreams from My Father is personal throughout and at times poetic as it exposes the man Barrack Obama Jr. was before coming into senatorial and presidential power. In Dreams from My Father, President Obama reflects on a variety of topics (e.g. racism, family, religion, politics, poverty, community, etc.) and personal experiences (e.g. growing up in Hawaii in the absence of his biological father and in Indonesia in the presence of his step-father, going to school in New York before working as a community organizer in Chicago, and journeying to Kenya to discover his paternal roots) that have helped to shape his life. Well-performed and well-paced, the audiobook may lose one’s attention during some in-detail recounts of personal history or genealogy, but for the most part the narrative is concise with multiple compelling statements that reveal the balanced and diplomatic prowess of the 44th President’s worldview.

Regardless of one’s political opinions, this autobiographical account from the 44th President and 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner is well worth a listen for the historical context and provoking questions that it provides to the listener.

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