"Obama placed the ghost of his absent father at the center of his lyrical account of his life. At times, he has seemed to say more about the grandparents who helped raise him than about his mother. Yet she shaped him, to a degree Obama has seemed increasingly to acknowledge. In the preface to the 2004 edition of 'Dreams From My Father,' issued nine years after the first edition and nine years after Dunham’s death, Obama folded in a revealing admission: had he known his mother would not survive her illness, he might have written a different book — 'less a meditation on the absent parent, more a celebration of the one who was the single constant in my life.'”
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