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.
 

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