Sunday, 16 August 2009

"Dreams from my father", Barack Obama

Have just finished reading this book, which is Obama's first book, written before he got into formal politics and just after he finished Harvard Law School. It's an exploration of race issues in America, seen through the prism of several key phases and experiences in Obama's life including growing up as the mixed race son of a white mother and absent black father in Hawaii, living in Indonesia as a child, working as a community organiser in poor black neighbourhoods in Chicago, and finally during a trip to Kenya to meet with his father's family.

I was really pleasantly impressed with this. It's written beautifully and is very, very personal (rather than political). It's a strong insight into Obama's values and where they've come from, and reading it with the benefit of history passing, it's easy to see where his political philosophy has come from and how it's been shaped by a very personal connection with 'the political'. More than anything it gave me a great sense of hope that someone with his level of integrity, deep thinking and willingness to challenge and be challenged, can make it to the position he has. I don't often feel inspired but reading this, I truly did. Recommend it to anyone who wants to feel like that!

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