Did you know?
In 2006, the audio version of 'Dreams From My Father' rewarded Barack Obama 'Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album'. Also, Time Magazine named the book in the top 100 non-fiction English Books in 2011.
'Dreams from My Father' is the first autobiography ever written by an American politician. It was written in 1995 when Barack Obama was in the law college. This book was reviewed in 2004, with a preface about his experiences in the Democratic National Convention (DNC) of Illinois as a senator.
It's a book of 442 pages, published by Three Rivers Press, with photographs from the family album on the cover. The left side picture is of Obama Sr. as a child, sitting on the lap of his mother. In the middle picture, we see Barack Obama; while on the right side, is Obama's mother as a young girl with her father.
The book consists of 19 chapters, divided into 3 parts with an introduction by Obama that mentions the book as, 'a record of a personal, interior journey-a boy's search for his father, and through that search a workable meaning for his life as a black American'.
A Memoir by Barack Obama
Barack Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu. His father Barack Hussein Obama Sr. was from Kenya, and his mother Ann Dunham, was a white American. The couple met in the University of Hawaii where Obama's father was pursuing a degree in Russian language. Obama's parents were separated within two years of their marriage and they divorced in 1964.
Obama's mother went to her parents with Obama and his father returned to Kenya. Barack Obama saw his father only once before the latter's untimely death in a car accident in 1982. His mother married Lolo Soetoro and they shifted to Indonesia.
Obama was sent to his maternal grandparents, in Hawaii for education. Obama has a half-sister, Maya Soetoro, who is a professor in Honolulu. Mr. Obama married to Michelle and they have two daughters, Malia and Natasha.
Obama completed his schooling from the Punahou School in Hawaii. He graduated in Political Science from Columbia University in 1983. In 1991, he pursued a degree of Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School, where he was working as an editor.
By the time Obama entered politics, he had been a community organizer, civil rights attorney and law professor in South Chicago. He was made a spokesperson in the Illinois General Assembly in 1997. In 2005, he became the junior U.S. Senator from Illinois. Barack Obama is now the 44th President of the USA.
"At least on the basketball court," Obama writes about his favorite game in this autobiography, "I could find a community of sorts, with an inner life all its own."
Dreams from My Father: Summary
'Dreams from My Father' begins in New York, when Obama comes to know that his father died in a car accident. Obama doesn't know much about his father; and his sudden death urges Obama to discover more about his father and own ancestors.
Obama starts his journey by visiting his mother's family in Hawaii and later on goes to Kenya, where his father's relatives stay. Here, we realize Obama's search for a sense of belonging towards his paternal family and his own identity. Regaining his lost identity is the main theme of the autobiography.
Obama, as a writer, talks on race, culture, family relationships and education in the 'Dreams from My Father'. The biography is a story about the struggle of a child of mixed-race parentage. As a child, Obama studied with white children. He had bad experiences in school days, sometimes badly treated by classmates. Here he was aware of racial discrimination.
Though, Barack Obama is a Christian, yet he respects all religions. An African-American in the White House, Barack Obama, President of the United States, is an idol for black people, all over the world. He breaks diametric prejudices of world history that promote race discrimination.
The story ends with his odyssey to get in touch with his paternal inheritance in Kenya. Obama concludes the book with a line, "I felt like the luckiest man alive." Thus, 'Dreams from My Father' is not the journey of Obama, but a universal view of world history, exploring the meaning of life as a whole.