I like to carry a paperback or magazines while traveling and I had been carrying – and slowly inching my way through - President Barak Obama’s bestseller “Dreams from My Father” for the past few weeks. The book was in my list of must-read since Obama burst into national and international fame during the democratic primaries a couple of years ago, beating Hillary Clinton in a neck-to-neck race. Like many of my fellow Indian Americans and other cheerleaders of globalization, I have been in awe of the Obama phenomena for a while.
It has been over six months since he was sworn in as the president of America, ushered in with much hope for change. And some, at least in the media seem to be getting over the initial euphoria, the honeymoon phase that newly elected leaders are generally accorded. This, I thought was the perfect time to squeeze some Mojo and finish the book.
I am fascinated by Obama’s candid narrative of his eclectic upbringing and most importantly the way in which he shares intimate details of the discovery of his father’s background.
The early chapters focus on his Origins, a bit about his upbringing in Indonesia, life with his grandparents in Hawaii, getting into the prestigious Punahou school, getting into Harvard; and a young Harvard graduate inspired to work in the projects in Chicago. The second half of the book is on Obama’s journey to Keyna to discover his “Roots,” perhaps a personification of the urge that Blacks in America, and immigrants everywhere have in attempting to discover their backgrounds while trying to reconcile the reality of their present. Obama’s honest description of the skeletons that he discovers in his father’s past, though a bit jarring to my middle-class-Indian-upbringing, makes one reflect on aspects of human relationships.
In the six months since he took over as the president of the “Free World,” Obama has done his fair bit of criss-crossing the globe. However, domestic issues, primarily the economy and healthcare, with the legacy of the “wars” in Iraq and Afghinastan have dominated the President’s agenda; at least when he is not swatting flies or inviting elderly Harvard professors and cops to quell the odd storm in a beer-mug! I guess this is part of what the American citizen elected him to do. But there again, some Americans and most other Global Citizen would love to see him bring his unique perspective and experiences in globalization to the fore.
But there . . . I digress; the book is a must read for those who wish to get a better insight into the mind of Obama.
Now, I must read the Audacity of Hope
ps: My Book Review on Amazon