President Barack Obama’s half brother is publishing an autobiography that details the domestic abuse that served as the theme for his earlier semi-autobiographical novel, which featured an abusive parent patterned on their late father.
In his book “Cultures: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery,” Mark Obama Ndesandjo recalls alcohol-fueled beatings handed out by his father to his American mother, Ruth Ndesandjo, a Jewish woman who was Barack Obama Sr.’s third wife. He recounts one incident in which his father held a knife to his mother’s throat because she took out a restraining order against him.
Ndesandjo also recounts his sporadic but intense encounters with his famous brother over the years in his self-published book, to be released in February. Additionally, the autobiography tries to set the record straight on some points in the president’s bestselling 1995 memoir, “Dreams From My Father.” In that book, Obama seeks to learn more about their father, a mostly absent figure, after learning of his death in a car crash in 1982 at age 46.
Ndesandjo’s book comes four years after his novel, “Nairobi to Shenzhen: A Novel of Love in the East.” As in his first book, Ndesandjo wanted to raise awareness of domestic abuse by using his family’s story, although he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday that the president’s relatives have not universally welcomed his airing of private matters in public. Ndesandjo spoke ahead of a news conference to launch the book in Guangzhou on Thursday.
When asked how he would describe his relationship with Barack Obama, he said, “Right now it’s cold and I think part of the reason is because of my writing. My writing has alienated some people in my family.”
Read the rest of President Obama’s brother’s memoir at EurWeb.com