November 19, 2019   5:44pm

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Read this book and get to know your 44th President …


Having read that Obama’s first book Dreams from My Father was so beautifully written, I glanced at its cover on a Barnes & Noble browse the other day. There was some hesitation to pick it up (a manipulative tool; targeted to Obama “groupies”), but it ended up in my checkout basket anyway.

My first surprise was that Dreams was originally published in 1995 – 14 years ago. Obama wrote it on a small advance from his publisher, shortly after being elected the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.

Hmm, thought I on that Preface, this may just be “an honest book?” And, it seems to be.

Yes, it is beautifully written – its lyricism helps you understand how he is able to write those remarkable speeches. But the depth of his feelings … his awareness of subtleties … his interpretations of minor and major events … his ability to recognize and react … his sense of wonder … All this moved me into a state of wonder, too. After all, his call for change and his hopefulness were right there – on those pages written a decade+4 years ago — sounding very much the same as he does today.

Many friends and acquaintances with cynical natures have been tsk tsking for some time that the U.S is accelerating its downhill trajectory. But having read Dreams from My Father, “A Story of Race and Inheritance,” I rejoin with positives.

Obama is a man created by the world, his extended family and America. He has performed a miracle in becoming our 44th President. And, his election proves the miracle of America to the world.

Don’t count us out. Read the book.

(Click here to order Dreams from My Father),


PS:  You may also enjoy reading this article from The New York Times (Monday, January 19th), “From Books, New President Found Voice” by Michiko Kakutani.  He alludes to: “Mr. Obama’s first book, ‘Dreams From My Father’ (which surely stands as the most evocative, lyrical and candid autobiography written by a future president), suggests that throughout his life he has turned to books as a way of acquiring insights and information from others – as a means of breaking out of the bubble of self-hood and, more recently, the bubble of power and fame …

Indeed, “Dreams From My Father,” written before he entered politics, was both a searching bildungsroman and an autobiographical quest to understand his roots – a quest in which he cast himself as both a Telemachus in search of his father and an Odysseus in search of a home.

Like ‘Dreams From My Father,’ many of the novels Mr. Obama reportedly admires deal with the question of identity …

The incandescent power of Lincoln’s language, its resonance and rhythmic cadences, as well as his ability to shift gears between the magisterial and the down-to-earth, has been a model for Mr. Obama – who has said he frequently rereads Lincoln for inspiration – and so, too, have been the uses to which Lincoln put his superior language skills: to goad Americans to complete the unfinished work of the founders, and to galvanize a nation reeling from hard times with a new vision of reconciliation and hope.”

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