I don't rate very many books a "five," but this one earned its stars. It is very well written, and gives a fascinating look at the life and thought processes of the man who is now our President, as he wrestles with what it means to be a black man, not only in America, but also in Africa. It gives me hope that at least one man has been able to overcome the legacy of anger and helplessness that seems to pervade black culture. Being white, and having parents and grandparents who fought for civil rights, I resent the kind of reverse racism that has become endemic in our society. But perhaps I now understand it a little better. As Obama writes in the final epilogue, African Americans are not the only ones who desire an unblemished past. It's just that Europeans are farther removed from the hardships of their past. It all comes down to choice. It is less important to be "authentically" African, than it is to be authentically oneself.
From back of book:
In this lyrical, unsentimental, and compelling memoir, the son of a black African father and a white American mother searches for a workable meaning to his life as a black American. It begins in New York, where Barack Obama learns that his father - a figure he knows more as a myth than as a man - has been killed in a car accident. This sudden death inspires an emotional odyssey - first to a small town in Kansas, from which he retraces the migration of his mother's family to Hawaii, and then to Kenya, where he meets the African side of his family, confronts the bitter truth of his father's life, and at last reconciles his divided inheritance.