Monday, September 22, 2008

Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father

The book is framed as a search for authenticity and a sense of belonging. Perhaps surprisingly, the intellectual aspect of this gets little attention. I have no real sense of what he studied, or what he took from that. His search is in large part a coming to terms with what it means to be black in America. But it is foremost seeking an understanding of what his family, and particularly his father and his father's side of the family, mean for him.

Obama's brothers and sisters

from his mother and her Indonesian second husband Lolo: Maya

from his father and his Kenyan first wife Kezia: Roy (Abongo), Auma, Abo, Bernard

from his father and his American third wife Ruth: Mark, David (who died in motorcycle accident)

from his father and a girlfriend: George

Auma - key link to Obama's family in Kenya and a remarkable story of achievement in her own right, excelling enough as a student in Kenya to go on to study lingiuistics in Germany

Lolo Soetero - tragic figure, a man whose idealism is squeezed out of him by the post-Suharto crackdown on intellectuals trained abroad

Ruth - the one unsympathetic figure from the family

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