Barack Obama’s Memoir: Unflinching, Curious, Compassionate

Like many Americans, I remember the buzz the day after a young senator named Barack Obama delivered his rousing keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

But the buzz in my office that day was extra buzz-y. You see, years before we’d published Obama’s Dreams from My Father … a little-known book by a little-known senator from Illinois. After Obama’s DNC speech, all that changed.

That evening, I brought a copy of Dreams from My Father home and began reading it on the subway. I missed my stop. Nevermind Obama’s promising political career, I thought, this guy can write!

What a memoir this is. Unflinching, provocative, curious, compassionate, intelligent. I was hooked.

I recommended it to everyone in my life. Some read it and loved it; others shied away, thinking it would be the usual self-serving, cleaned-up-till-it-says-nothing politically-motivated memoir.

I re-read Dreams from My Father recently, and this time I was truly inspired.

No matter what your political leanings, if you love good writing, you will appreciate it. It’s beautifully crafted – the kind of book that asks more questions than it answers. It asks big questions – about the legacy of race in the U.S., about what it means to be a public servant, what it means to be an American.

In the end, it is a beautiful memoir written by a man in search of his father, and himself.

Congrats to Dailia W., Barb L., Alicia T., Kristen C., Peggy E., and 20 other members of the Read It Forward community! Their entries were selected at random to win a paperback copy of Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama.

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What’s a book that makes you think about the United States in a new way? Do you have a favorite American novel or memoir? Tell us in a comment!

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