Dissecting Obama’s Dad

July 11, 2011  |  

(Newsweek) — To read Sally H. Jacobs’s new biography of Barack Hussein Obama Sr. is to realize that his son, the president, spent much of his life reaching for a shadow he was lucky never to catch. Early in The Other Barack, a childhood playmate recalls how Obama Sr. would frequently snap at him and shout, “You don’t know what you are talking about.” A few chapters later, the editor of the University of Hawaii literary magazine describes Obama Sr. barreling into his office, unprovoked, to declare that a particular poem wasn’t “worth a damn.” Back in Nairobi, says one government official, Obama Sr. would “slam his fist on the table” and claim that a rival “knows nothing about math or economics”; he would go on to describe other colleagues as “intellectual dwarfs.” As college friend and current Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie tells Jacobs, Obama Sr. could never “contain his irritation with people who were not as facile as he, and he did not hesitate to say so.”

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