Dreams from my father is an autobiography by President Barack Obama. The book covers his early childhood, through college, leading into politics.
This is the first book of any US President that I have ever bought and read. Hence, this is a historic moment in itself. :-)
I found this book to be very different from the other autobiographies that I have read. In particular, the style of writing is very different from the way Barack normally speaks. Normally you can visualise the author as you read the book but with this one, I was not able to.
The complexity of his written style is exceptionally high and if you read this book, you will realise that he is a highly intelligent person who works very hard at connecting with the average American.
He uses detailed descriptions in his narrative that is far above average of any writer that I have come across, and that indicated to me that he was someone who paid great attention to detail in his everyday life. This is the first time that a President of such high intellectual calibre has occupied the office.
His sentences were very clean and to the point, which I liked a lot. It certainly gave the reader the impression that this man did not waste time.
Everything about Barack is interesting, and this book makes a compelling read. You will learn everything about him, from his family background to his religion, and his everyday belief system. It is a very open and honest account of his life which I enjoyed reading.
I decided to read this book because Barack and I have many things in common such as Kenya, the ability to empathise, and the understanding that serving our nation is one of the most important jobs anyone could have. We both understand that the freedoms and democracy that we enjoy require protection, and are worth fighting for.
Very few UK politicians merit my respect. I have found that generally most are interested in serving their own self-interests. I hope Barack does not fall into the same trap as the previous lot. After reading this book, I can say with some degree of certainty that he is a person with strong moral beliefs and would never give in to the temptations.
Just like Barack, my standards have always been very high because as a child I read about Abraham Lincoln, about how strongly he opposed slavery, and his executive order for the emancipation proclamation. This made me realise that occasionally the Universe creates great people of light who walk on this Earth, who are a shining beacon of example to all. These people give hope, open doors of opportunity, and raise the quality of life. It would be hard for anyone to assume Abraham Lincoln’s role, but nevertheless it is an important standard to strive for, and this book resonates very similar sentiments.
An American President that aspires to the ideals of Abraham Lincoln is remarkable. Certainly, for a Brit looking from across the pond, I cannot remember any US President that has ever tried to do that. That is what I find so compelling about Barack, and interesting. These same ideals are also more likely to provide solutions to the current difficulties in US. For this reason alone, Barack is very much the right man for the right job, at the right time.
The few British politicians that have also aspired to the ideals of Abraham Lincoln have been Betty Boothroyd, the first female speaker in the houses of parliament, and Tony Ben, who served as a parliament minister, and served his country as an RAF Pilot Officer. Those people tend to be the ones I respect the most.
My main reason for reading this book was to understand what makes Barack excel at his work. It was obvious from the very first paragraph and chapter of the book that he is a person who pays great attention to detail. Everything that he describes is not only in detail, but he also connects different people, places, and events very well.
My second reason for reading this book was to understand if his educational background had an impact in the direction he took and the success that followed. He studied at one of the most prestigious educational establishments in US; the Harvard Law School which is renowned all over the world as a place of excellence. However, after reading the book I came away thinking that he always had something within him to succeed, and he would have done so no matter where he studied.
I went to King's College which was also a fantastic place of excellence, but unfortunately I found out much later in my life what I really wanted to do, and for that I went to my local college in Croydon which was not known for excellence. My Hopes, Dreams, Ambition... ended almost straight away. Luckily, I was clever enough to succeed despite the setbacks.
This book is very easy reading on the whole, there are parts of this book that really do appear to sound like Barack, for example the story of sitting next to an ignorant British student, bound for placement work in South Africa was very entertaining and humorous. It is always interesting to see how we Brits appear to the Americans. There are many interesting stories throughout the book that I found enjoyable to read and made me realise that Barack has a good sense of humour and wit, which I did not expect.
I thought that this book could have benefited more with some laced photographs to set the context, especially for a large 442-page volume of pure text. Many of my young aspiring whippersnappers are buying this book and it would have helped them.
Whilst reading this book, it occurred to me that Barack is very much like me. We both have that fighting spirit to succeed. I hope that this book will inspire generations of people from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed.
This is a good book, most definitely worth reading and therefore, very rightly, in the Vis Collection.
|Publisher||Canongate Books Publisher Ltd in UK|
|Copyright Holder||Barack Obama|
|ISBN Number||9781 1 84767 094 6|
|First Published||2004 in US, 2007 in UK|
|Audio Version||ISBN 978 1 84767 3282|
|Availability||Amazon and all good online bookstores|