I have read The Audacity of Hope, which I enjoyed and was instrumental in my decision to vote for Obama, and I have not read Dreams From My Father. Obviously, Gman's reprint of the email circulated widely during the campaign is a distortion -- a deliberate one. However, what is more interesting is that Obama's book are nothing like the campaign pablum books normally circulated as if they were literature.
Obama's books actually tell us a lot about the development and foundation of the character of a man whose experiences are, in their own way, uniquely American. Parts of the books are disturbing. Not because of the stages Obama went through while growing up. I worry more about those people who grow older without ever questioning the fundamentals of their lives. Those people grown older, but they don't grow up.
Rather, the things he went through reflect, in a microcosm, some of the realities of racial experience and identity in America. As such, the books are innately raw. They are neither white nor black, just like Obama. The amazing thing is that he said these things in a very open and honest manner, and discussed how they affected his view of the world and his character. The American people stunned the world, which had its own distorted notions of race in America, and elected Obama as President.
Beginning before the election, and continuing every day since then, there have been interests and individuals that have tried to define everything about Obama and his policies in racial terms. Those doing this have been both black and white. The problem is that Obama has always been both. He was both growing up and he is both today. I don't agree with a lot of what he has done as President, but I also support much that he has done. Among the best of the things he has done is the way he has approached race in his own life and in America. If we are lucky, some of the positives of that will outlast his presidency and skin color will bcome less and less relevant to anything over time.