Dreams from My Father: Book Review

Former president Barack Obama’ autobiography Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance discusses Obama’s childhood and how he ended up doing social work in Chicago. Read our summary of the book and why you should read this book next!

Dreams from My Father Summary

Barack Obama discusses his early childhood and how his parents met. Originally born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama lived in Jakarta Indonesia for a short time but moved back to Hawaii and was raised by his grandparents for better educational opportunities.

The autobiography discusses Obama’s upbringing and being raised mostly by his mother and grandparents because his father had to return to Kenya. After graduating college, Obama moved to Chicago where he worked for a non-profit as a community organizer for a housing project that was located in South Side. Working here prepared Obama for his future in politics as he dealt with resistance from community leaders and apathy from established bureaucracy.

Book Cover for Dreams from my Father
Dreams from My Father book review

It is also during this time that Obama visited Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ as it became an important part of his life. It is also around this time Obama gets accepted into Harvard. But before he attends the esteemed college, he decided to visit his relatives in Kenya for the first time. 

Commentary

This is an amazingly well written autobiography that holds nothing back. We get to see major events in Barack Obama’s life and how they shaped him. He is honest and open and comes as someone that is trying to discover his identity and place in life. Obama also opens up about trying to finally visiting his father’s side of the family and bridging the gap with that side of the family.

Dreams From my Father was published in 1995 when the former President was getting his feet wet in the political world. Before that, Obama had accomplishments on his resume that made him stand out. In 1990, Obama became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.

The book was republished in 2004 when Obama won the Illinois Senate seat. The fact that this book precedes his presidency makes it even better. We get to read Obama;’s thought before he became the most powerful person in the world. That is why this book feels more like a conversation and less like a cash grab. It also helps that Obama is very articulate with his words and doesn’t have any political intentions with the book.

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Conclusion

I definitely recommend the book to anyone that is a fan of Obama or likes autobiographies about identity and race relations. You can see firsthand the events that shaped Obama and the person he became as a result. Happy reading!

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