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Publisher's Summary

In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father, a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man, has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey; first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother's family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father's life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.
©1995, 2004 Barack Obama (P)2005 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Grammy Award Winner, Best Spoken Word Album, 2005

"Provocative....Persuasively describes the phenomenon of belonging to two different worlds, and thus belonging to neither." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Fluidly, calmly, insightfully, Obama guides us straight to the intersection of the most serious questions of identity, class, and race." (Washington Post Book World)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Eric V
  • White Rock, British Columbia, Canada
  • 03-05-09

An Amazing Storyteller

An insightful and respectful review of the roots of a man who would continue to inspire millions to become the best they can be, read with the emotion, voices and intonation that only the author could muster. Engaging and totaly entertaining.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kristin
  • Redmond, WA, USA
  • 03-15-09

Amazingly true story about Obama told by Obama

Explains how he became the man we know today as President Obama. Amazing well read by the author himself. It is enjoyable and startling at times ot hear his voice tells you about so many intimate details about his life. It is a story any self-made person can all relate to even though we may not have such exotic life experiences. It is also a lesson in tolerance and race.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kathryn
  • Orland Park, IL, USA
  • 06-20-05

A wonderful, insightful, non-political story

I read this in print and was captivated. I did not know too much about Mr. Obama but thought it looked interesting. It brings to light how human he is and how difficult it is to negotiate the world being bi-racial. The most interesting portion is the last third. It is the story of his journey to learn of his family in Africa. It is told almost completely in story format from his family's perspective. The writing is wonderful too. I was sad to finish it.

44 of 51 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I laughed and cried, what a great listen!

Thank you to Mr. Obama for sharing his very interesting life. His descriptions of Hawaii, Indonesia, Chicago and Kenya put you right there. His descriptions of his family make you feel as if you have known them all your life. This audio book was my walking companion for 1 week, I was sad for it to end. I laughed out loud and cried, often on the same walk. Mr. Obama's voice is very charismatic, and I think I could listen to him read my grocery list!

As a bi-racial woman, born just 2 years before him, it was very affirming to hear about the doubts and questions of "who am I?" I am giving this book to all of my family members as gifts this year (they too have had these questions). Great listen, highly recommend it!

19 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • R
  • 06-24-05

Inside perspective from an outsider

Biracial Obama was first raised by the Anglo part of his family then entered and lived African-American in early adulthood. He is able to view social dynamics from many perspectives. By revealing his journey in such a compelling manner, he helps the listener consider our American society from its good and its bad sides. This is a great listen.

28 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Katherine
  • Yarmouth, ME, United States
  • 11-12-09

A must listen

Hearing the life story of this man, written before he became President is fascinating. Obama reads it extremely well. It gives insight in the forces that shape the man and will shape our times.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Highly Recommend

What did you love best about Dreams from My Father?

This really shows the President as a real person. I wish everyone in Congress would listen to this audiobook and be able to see the President in the context of his ordinary life.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Since it's nonfiction I wouldn't call anyone a "character" but it was nice to learn about Barack's siblings I had not known anything about.

Which character – as performed by Barack Obama – was your favorite?

Talk about performance! Barack does a really convincing Kenyan accent when quoting his relatives not to mention he works in some phrases we've never heard uttered by a president before!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

"Learn the truth"

Any additional comments?

Please consider listening to this book. It's very worthwhile.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars


Fascinating story. I hope Obama becomes president but, if he does not, he should record more books.
He has a terrific reading voice.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • New York, NY, USA
  • 03-02-08

well-written, inspirational

Having heard Barack Obama's life story, I think that he can master anything that he sets his mind to master. Every American voter should listen to this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • KAydin
  • Washington, DC
  • 11-07-05

Refreshing and down to earth...

Wonderful book and story. Enlightening take on life and how we can make our lives happen by taking responsibility for ourselves. I wish there were more with the ability to think this way. What a positive place we could live in!

10 of 13 people found this review helpful