Barack Obama Sr., father of the American president, was part of Africa's "independence generation" and in 1959 it seemed his star would shine brightly. He came to the U.S. from Kenya and was given a university scholarship. While in the Hawaii, he met Ann Dunham in 1961, and his son Barack was born. He left his young family to gain a master's degree from Harvard.
After that, Obama's life became progressively more complicated. He was a brilliant economist, yet never held the coveted government job he felt should have been his. He was a polygamist, an alcoholic, and an ardent African nationalist unafraid to tell truth to power at a time when that could get you killed. Father of eight, nurturer of none, he was an unlikely person to father the first African American president of the United States. Yet he was, like that son, a man moved by the dream of a better world.
Now, thanks to dozens of exclusive new interviews, prodigious research, and determined investigation, Sally Jacobs tells his full story.
In this fantastic biography, Boston Globe reporter Jacobs shows how Barack Obama, Sr. transcended the circumstances of his youth in colonial Kenya (where "No Africans or Dogs Allowed" was the norm), only to succumb to alcoholism and womanizing. Having gained entrance to the best secondary school available to a native, the remarkably gifted Obama, Sr. was dismissed after four years, in part due to his impetuousness and contrarian personality a pattern that would continue throughout his life. However, with the providential help of Elizabeth Mooney, an American teacher in Nairobi, he attended the University of Hawaii. After three years, his second marriage (to Ann Dunham, president Obama's mother), fatherhood, and an undergraduate degree, he left for Harvard, where he was investigated by the INS for conflicting reports of his marital status and number of wives, as well as his claim that his child in Hawaii was to be put up for adoption. Dismissed by Harvard, the arrogant Obama, Sr. returned to Kenya without a Ph.D., but nonetheless expected an important position in the new government. Within this compelling story of Obama, Sr.'s squandered talents and opportunities, Jacobs weaves a picture of Kenya as colony and new nation. Photos.